Friday, January 8, 2016

Mater Amabilis Level 2 Year 2 (Fifth Grade) Science: Science in Ancient Rome and the Human Body

heart dissection
Last year, First Son was in fifth grade and we followed the science plans at Mater Amabilis for Level 2 Year 2. You can read the schedule of lessons here.

First Son read Brown Paper School book: Blood and Guts by Linda Allison independently. I asked him to create a notebook page as his written narration for the reading, which needed to have some drawings and notes about whatever he had read that day. On the activity days, I required an experiment page with three parts for each activity: What You Did, What Happened, and an Explanation. I would give him page numbers and let him choose one or two activities. Two were assigned, but if he chose a long or more detailed activity, I accepted one. Many of the activities are simple and take only a few minutes. Some of them require a few more esoteric ingredients, like iodine, which I ordered from Home Science Tools.

The dissections excited the most interest. Blood and Guts recommends dissections of a heart, brain, kidney, and eye, all conveniently included in the mammal organs dissection kit from Home Science Tools. I also bought the basic dissection tools.

Everyone always gathered around for the dissections. First Son relished them. We tried to follow the instructions included in the pamphlets. Though it was often difficult for our inexperienced eyes to discern all the details, we noticed aspects of the organs we never would have realized without the dissections. I highly recommend devoting a little time, effort, and budget to them.

The other activity book was The Body Book: Easy-to-Make Hands-on Models That Teach by Donald M. Silver and Patricia J. Wynne. The paper models cover all sorts of topics. Many of them are layered flaps, but some are three-dimensional. I personally liked the illustrations of the different kind of joints.

First Son became a little attached to them. At the end of the year, he wanted to keep them all. Together, we selected a few of the more manageable ones to place in his binder and took pictures of them all so he could look back on them if he was ever nostalgic. (So far, he hasn't asked to see them.)

The Mater Amabilis website recommends cutting out the parts if you are short on time. I decided my time was worth more than his, so First Son did all the cutting as well as creating the structures.

I assisted occasionally with the sculptures. A few of them had more complicated instructions. For the most part, First Son was able to complete them independently.

This book is non-consumable, which I didn't realize at first. All the pages are designed to be photocopied for each student, and must be because they are double-sided. I actually bought two copies of it, both used, thinking I could just take one apart for the year's activities but I still needed copies of one of the sides. In the end, I scanned all the activity pages, which will save a bunch of time and effort when the next three children go through this course. I'll be able to print all the pages at the beginning of the year and they'll be ready to go.

I imagine most people purchase and use this book in the context of school, but I think a child interested in the body would enjoy working through the book just for fun.

The final book of the year was Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick. First Son read one chapter each day at the end of the year. He was able to narrate fairly well orally though he struggled with written narrations of the book. (In hindsight, I wouldn't have asked for written narrations at all.)

I received my copy of Blood and Guts from another member at (an affiliate link). I purchased The Body Book used (twice). I bought Galen and the Gateway to Medicine directly from Bethlehem Books during one of their frequent sales. I ordered the dissection materials from Home Science Tools with one of their coupon codes over the summer along with a bunch of other supplies. The Amazon links above are affiliate links. If you click on one, add something to your cart (anything), and purchase it, I receive a small commission. Thanks!

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