Friday, August 10, 2012

Science Plans for Third Grade: Physics

Quote from Charlotte Mason in Towards a Philosophy of Education:
Where science does not teach a child to wonder and admire it has perhaps no educative value.

For the past couple of years, we've used Noeo Chemistry I and Noeo Biology I for our science curriculum. You can click the links for full reviews, but for the most part I was satisfied. In particular, we enjoyed the chemistry program. When I started thinking about the upcoming year, though, I was uncertain about using the Noeo Physics I course.

First, it uses the Young Scientists Club experiment kits. I know these have received awards for organizations, but I was not impressed with them. I think for a little more money, you can find much more robust experiment sets.

Second, I found using Noeo two days a week to lead to very long lessons. For both biology and chemistry, I would use the four day schedule to avoid long readings. In third grade, I was hoping to cut science back to two days a week in part to increase our nature study time. It would be even better if I could finish the course early in the spring to allow for additional outside time as the flowers are awakening. The only way to finish early, maintain short lessons, and have science two days a week was to cut half or more of the lessons. It seems like a big investment to use less than half of the materials.

Third, Noeo Physics I includes the book Starry Messenger. Personally I don't think this book gives a good historical view of Galileo's relationship with the Catholic church, which was complicated and political. I don't think anyone in the Church claims the case was handled well on either side, but this book seems extremist. Moreover, the illustrations are a little disturbing. With picture books, the illustrations will remain with the children longer than the words and I am not anxious to share this book with my kids.

Fourth, I didn't want to spend a lot of money. Or, more precisely, if I was going to spend money I wanted it to be for experiments, not books. (Shock! Gasp! We have a great library and I intend to use it.)

The most important reason I opted against Noeo Physics I, though, is the Mater Amabilis schedule for fourth grade. If I follow it, we'll cover magnetism and light along with some wonderful reading the following year. I felt like I could skip it in third grade and still have a great year of science.

I could, of course, skip science altogether in third grade. Nature study alone is more than sufficient in the younger grades...but, I love science, and so do the kids. I didn't want to cut it completely.

So, in third grade, we're going to cover Physics Part I as developed by Kansas Mom with inspiration from Noeo Physics I, At Home Science, and library searches. I also intend to read a picture book that corresponds to our week's topic for the girls (kindergarten and preschool). I wouldn't be surprised if First Son listens in to that as well, as I expect them to listen a bit to the physics lessons and participate in the experiments (because everyone loves experiments).

Force and Gravity

Forces in the Earth: A Book About Gravity and Magnetism by R. J. Lefkowtiz (gravity chapters only)
Newton and Three Laws of Motion by Nicholas Croce (chapter 5 only)

Experiments and Demonstrations
Janice VanCleave's Physics for Every Kid

Picture Books
Gravity Is a Mystery (Let's-Read-And-Find-Out Science) by Franklyn Mansfield Branley
Up, Down, All Around: A Story of Gravity (Science Works) by Jacqui Bailey
Energy Makes Things Happen (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Forces Make Things Move (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown


Eye Wonder: Invention by Caroline Bingham

Picture Books
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition by William Kamkwamba


The Paper Airplane Book by Seymour Simon (including making and flying airplanes)

Picture Books
To Fly: The Story of the Wright Brothers by Wendie C. Old (read over a few weeks)
Animals in Flight by Robin Page and Steve Jenkins

Book Basket Books
The Wright Brothers: Inventors Whose Ideas Really Took Flight by Mike Venezia
DK Eyewitness Books: Flying Machine by Andrew Nahum
Super Wings: The Step-By-Step Paper Airplane Book by Peter Clemens


How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning by Rosalyn Schanzer
Great Inventors and Inventions (Dover History Coloring Book) by Bruce LaFontaine (Thomas Edison, The Electric Battery, Alternating Current and the Tesla Coil)
Wired by Anastasia Suen

Experiments and Demonstrations
Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100

Picture Books
Young Thomas Edison by Michael Dooling
Charged Up: The Story of Electricity (Science Works) by Jacqui Bailey
The Magic School Bus And The Electric Field Trip by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan

More Inventions

Eye Wonder: Invention by Caroline Bingham

Picture Books
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine (Great Idea Series) by Monica Kulling


Rubber-Band Banjos and a Java Jive Bass: Projects and Activities on the Science of Music and Sound by Alex Sabbeth (including experiments)
Great Inventors and Inventions (Dover History Coloring Book) by Bruce LaFontaine (Radio)
Marconi's Battle for Radio by Beverly Birch

Picture Books
Sounds All Around (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Wendy Pfeffer
The Magic School Bus In The Haunted Museum: A Book About Sound by Linda Beech
Mole Music by David McPhail
The Magic Flute: An Opera by Mozart by Kyra Teis
Cool Bopper's Choppers by Linda Oatman High
Moses Goes to a Concert by Isaac Millman
The First Music by Dylan Pritchett
Do Re Mi: If You Can Read Music, Thank Guido D'Arezzo by Susan Roth
Out and about at the Orchestra by Barbara J. Turner

We'll be done after 31 weeks and the only purchase I made was the SnapCircuits. Everything else was available at the library, through, or something I already owned. Feel free to take and modify this book list, but if you live in my area, please switch it up a little so we don't end requesting the books at the same time!

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