Guest Hollow's Knowledge of Nature Curriculum
Books & Resources

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Phyics and Chemistry books for kids

Take a look below at all the terrific resources I've scheduled in for Knowledge of Nature!

NOTE: If you purchase this curriculum, you will have access to a printable booklist with a shopping checklist, to help you with your planning.

WARNING Preview all materials!!

I recommend you preview all items to see if they are appropriate for your students. Every family is different in what they allow or find offensive!

How to keep the cost of this curriculum down:

  • Borrow books and videos from the library. I always purchased books that were used over a long period of time and tried to get many of the rest from the library. Sometimes I'd purchase a few books my library didn't have, that I really wanted to use.

    When I could afford it, and when I was working on building a home library for the kids, I would go ahead and buy a big box of books. It was like Christmas in August as the kids delved into those boxes. It got them excited about what they were getting ready to learn. I certainly understand being constrained to a budget, though! Don't be afraid to substitute books you already have on hand or inexpensive titles you might pick up at a yard sale, or similar venue.
 

A note about how to use the books:

How you use the books will depend on the age and abilities of your student(s). My daughter was a voracious reader. She liked to read most of our literature based curriculum books herself, but liked to have a few read-alouds, so we could share the learning experience and discuss things. My youngest son was a reluctant reader for many years. I read the bulk of our school books out loud to him for many years. Even when my children were high schoolers, they still liked read-alouds!

I've made sure to schedule a variety of book levels. Some will challenge your children, and some will be easy. All of reading materials is chosen with my 20+ years experience with kids in mind.

You know what your children are capable of and where they might need a bit more hand-holding. Some of the books below are easy. You might wish your child to read those independently. Other books might have harder concepts, or vocabulary, or stories that your children might enjoy more if YOU read them out loud. It's ultimately up to you!

frogI've marked which books are for older or more advanced students. Look for the frog symbol for books that jump to the next level! Use this symbol to help you customize the reading selections for your student's age and abilities! Related books of differing levels are listed right next to each other to help you pick out the right books for your child(ren). You will probably want to read "frog books" out loud to your younger students and/or be on hand to explain any concepts that are more difficult.

Paired book options are in yellow, for easy identification.

"Literature links" are used to expand children's knowledge about topics or items presented in the spine book that may not be entirely science based (but feature science concepts), mix in cross-curricular elements, or are in a fiction story format. They are an important (but optional) part of the curriculum and help to build your child's knowledge base and make this year's studies even more fun. They also help reinforce material by presenting it in a different type of format and help to keep your kids interested and hungry to learn (and read or listen to) more.

This is learning "Guest Hollow" style!

I've also marked under each book what it's main focus is. I believe cross-curricular studies are one of the more effective ways to learn. My book choices reflect that!

Christian This crown icon denotes a Christian resource.

 

Please note that the resources below do not contain most of the free videos that are linked in the schedule, like Magic School Bus videos, etc.

Quotes below are from the official book descriptions.

SCHEDULED RESOURCES

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics (Young Explorer Series)

spine book for science, activities

ChristianExploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics (Young Explorer Series)
Used multiple weeks

I really like the Young Explorers Series, as did my son. The books are comprehensive, with lots of activities, and are easy to use with a variety of ages. I use this one as a spine text that I build off of. It contains the bulk of the scheduled activities and "experiments" for this year.

For those of you who are not Christian and would like to see an example of the Christian content in this book, please click here to see my list of Chrisitan content in the first 4 chapters, to see if this book could be a fit for you or not.

Archimedes and the Door of Science (Living History Library)

biography, history, science, math

For older students or as a read aloud to younger students (3rd grade and up).

frogArchimedes and the Door of Science (Living History Library)
Weeks 1-2

This books is also scheduled in our Ancient History Curriculum. If you plan on using that curriculum, you may wish to save this book for it, or vise-versa. This was one of my son's favorite books.

"Jeanne Bendick, through text and pictures, admirably succeeds in bringing to life the ancient Greek mathematician who enriched mathematics and all branches of science. Against the backdrop of Archimedes' life and culture, the author discusses the man's work, his discoveries and the knowledge later based upon it. The simple, often humorous, illustrations and diagrams greatly enhance the text.
Illustrated by the author."

Splat!: Wile E. Coyote Experiments with States of Matter (Wile E. Coyote, Physical Science Genius)

science

Option 1 (for younger students):
Splat!: Wile E. Coyote Experiments with States of Matter (Wile E. Coyote, Physical Science Genius)
Week 1

A fun and silly way to learn about the states of matter and their properties down to the atomic level!

"Wile E. Coyote wants nothing more than to get hold of Road Runner. Watch as he uses liquids, solids, and gases in clever ways to catch that bird. Will the states of matter help him succeed? Or will his schemes dry up in the hot desert sun? Look inside to find out!"

Click here to preview this book online.

states of matter

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):
The Solid Truth about States of Matter with Max Axiom, Super Scientist
Week 1

I used these comics in my homeschool. They are fun and highly visual ways to learn about science concepts.

What Floats in a Moat?

literature, science

Literature Link: What Floats in a Moat?
Week 1

A silly story that explains why Archie's barrel finally floated thanks to what Archimedes discovered about displacement and volume. This book is perfect to go with pages 18-19 of the spine text. This book is good for strong readers to read themselves (it has some big words), but would make a fun read-aloud, too.

"A goat and a hen turn a playful exploration of physics into scientific fun that rises to the top!

Archie the Goat has a delivery to make. He has several barrels of buttermilk that the queen needs, but in order to get them to her, he needs to cross the moat.

Testing several different theories to find out what will float and what will sink, Archie and his friend Skinny the Hen don’t succeed at first, but they do try, try, try again (and again). And with reason and persistence, they’ll get that buttermilk where it needs to be!"

 

What Was the Gold Rush?

history, tangentially related to science (gold)

What Was the Gold Rush?
Week 2

You'll read this book after reading about the gold rush and properties of gold in the spine text! It's a great way to enhance your child's learning, build retention, and introduce a bit of history, as well!

My son LOVED this set of books and read them avidly, despite being a reluctant reader at the time. They make great read-alouds for younger children and are easy enough for older kids to read themselves without being overwhelmed.

Who Was Isaac Newton?

biography, history, science

Option 1 (for younger students):
Who Was Isaac Newton?
Week 3

My son LOVED this set of books and read them avidly, despite being a reluctant reader at the time. They make great read-alouds for younger children and are easy enough for older kids to read themselves without being overwhelmed. Don't be turned off by the hokey cover. The interior illustrations are line drawings and much more friendly & fun.

World history biographies

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):
World History Biographies: Isaac Newton: The Scientist Who Changed Everything

Week 3

"Born in England in 1643, Isaac Newton grew up in the age when Renaissance thinkers were challenging accepted ideas throughout Europe. Fascinated by all earthly science, Newton developed laws of motion and universal gravitation which also furthered our understanding of the movement of celestial bodies. This vibrant biography profiles the famed physicist as an acclaimed mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, philosopher, and inventor as well. Readers will discover the genius who inspired Alexander Pope to write, "

Down Comes the Rain (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

science

Waterworks

science

Down Comes the Rain (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
Week 4

"After rain comes down, the sun comes out and dries the puddles. But the water isn't gone. The heat from the sun has turned it into water vapor-it has evaporated. Eventually, this moisture in the air condenses to form new clouds. Soon the rain will fall again. Read on to find out all the ups and downpours of the water cycle!"

Another option:

The Magic School Bus At The Waterworks

My kids always enjoyed the Magic School Bus books.

Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride (Caldecott Honor Book)

literature, history, science

Option 1 (for younger students):

Literature Link: Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride (Caldecott Honor Book)
Week 4

Mix up a bit of history with science with this book that tells the true story of the first hot-air balloon ride. Your students will read it after learning about hot-air balloons in the spine text.

Sky Sailors

history, science

Option 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):

frogLiterature Link:Sky Sailors: True Stories of the Balloon Era
Weeks 4-5

This book has lots of fascinating and true tales of early flight in balloons. There is plenty of science mixed throughout and everything is told in a way that totally held my attention. Warning: Death is mentioned, but nothing too graphic. You should preview if you want to use this with young or sensitive students.

"For more than a century before airplanes, people explored the sky in balloons. From 1783 to the early 1900s, aeronauts flew into storms, crossed large bodies of water, sailed over enemy armies, and soared to deadly altitudes. Illustrated in full color with dramatic period artwork, Sky Sailors by David L. Bristow presents the stories of the pioneers of human flight, such as daredevil Sophie Blanchard from Napoleon's France, and Salomon Andree, who lead an aerial assault on the North Pole in 1897."

 

Watch Disney's movie: Up

just for fun

Up

This sweet movie is perfect to wrap up learning about hot air balloons!

The Hindenburg Explosion: Core Events of a Disaster in the Air (What Went Wrong?)

history, science

The Hindenburg Explosion: Core Events of a Disaster in the Air (What Went Wrong?) Week 5

Your student will read this book after learning about hydrogen. This book really illustrates that hydrogen is highly flammable! Warning: This is a book about a disaster that injured and killed people. It's written for younger grades, but you may wish to skip it, if your student is very sensitive.

Click here for an online preview of the book.

What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? (Wells of Knowledge Science Series)

science

What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? (Wells of Knowledge Science Series)
Week 5

In this book, children will follow a trail of shrinking animals and things until they get to molecules, atoms, electrons, and even quarks!

Hindenburg Mystery

history, science

frogHindenburg Mystery (streaming video from Amazon)
Week 5

The Mythbusters team takes on the Hindenburg explosion!

The Elements (True Books: Physical Science)

science

The Elements (True Books: Physical Science)
Week 6

A basic, and colorful book on the elements.

science

Did a Dinosaur Drink This Water? (Wells of Knowledge Science)
Week 6

Warning: billions of years concept mentioned

Your student(s) will read this after making a model of a water molecule in the "Try This" activity from the spine text.

The author explains the complete water cycle and also discusses ocean currents, ocean and lake habitats, and hydroelectricity. He also touches on water pollution and our responsibility to keep our water clean.

 

Dragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs

Christian book

ChristianDragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs
Week 6

This Christian book explores the idea that the dragons of legend were really dinosaurs. You'll want to read it before (or after) the book above.

"Dragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs is a juvenile nonfiction title enjoyable for all ages! It takes you back to the days of these amazing creatures and their presence in various cultures including Asia, the Americas, and Europe. Read of thrilling historical battles between dragons, and saints, and their ability to terrorize medieval castles. Mystical fantasies brought to life, as the truth is revealed."

Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

science - to be used as a PICTURE book, at this stage

frogElements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
OPTIONAL and unscheduled

This is not a book to read (at this age), but rather is for browsing through the amazing pictures and perhaps reading some of the captions. Kids can read the text in more depth when they are older. Otter thumbed through this book multiple times over the years. It's a must for any homeschool library. This book is also used in my chemistry curriculum.

"Gray, an element collector and Popular Science columnist, has created a visual homage to the periodic table of the elements. The book begins with an introduction to the arrangement of the periodic table. The first 100 of the elements are each profiled on a two-page spread. The left-hand side of the spread features a large color image of the element in its true form, when possible. The right-hand side includes various images of ways the element appears in the world and explanations of some of the compounds in which it can be found. For example, the Selenium entry includes images of selenium sulfide medicated shampoo, Brazil nuts (which are high in selenium), and a red vase that gets its color from a selenium glaze. Most of the images are items from the author's personal collection."

The Story of Salt

history, tangentially related to science (sodium chloride)

The Story of Salt
Week 7

It's chemistry (sodium chloride!) mixed with history. Fascinating!

"Based on Mark Kurlansky's critically acclaimed bestseller Salt: A World History, this handsome picture book explores every aspect of salt: The many ways it's gathered from the earth and sea; how ancient emperors in China, Egypt, and Rome used it to keep their subjects happy; Why salt was key to the Age of Exploration; what salt meant to the American Revolution; And even how the search for salt eventually led to oil. Along the way, you'll meet a Celtic miner frozen in salt, learn how to make ketchup, and even experience salt's finest hour: Gandhi's famous Salt March."

Basher Science: The Complete Periodic Table: All the Elements with Style!

science

Basher Science: The Complete Periodic Table: All the Elements with Style!
Used multiple weeks, starting in week 7

My son loved the Basher books. Each one comes with a poster in the back.

"Do you confuse boron with barium or chlorine with fluorine? Fear not! Basher Science has come to the rescue by mixing science and art to create a unique periodic table. From unassuming oxygen to devious manganese, the incredible elements show you the periodic table as you've never seen it before.
Basher Science: The Periodic Table gives a face, voice and personality to the chemical elements, making learning chemistry easy and a whole lot more fun. This new expanded edition reflects the latest discoveries, and now each of the 115 elements has not just a picture but an information-packed page all to itself."

4M Crystal Mining Kit

activity

4M Crystal Mining Kit
Week 8

Use this kit after reading about crystals in the spine text. This is the kind of thing my kids LOVED getting at the beginning of the school year. It really built excitement for the upcoming studies!

Sick Science Fast Physics Kit

activities

Sick Science Fast Physics Kit
Used multiple weeks, starting in week 8.

Sometimes you just want a fun kit to play with that teaches the concepts you are learning. We spent a LOT of money on Steve Spangler science kits over the years. They were awesome and we made some really great memories while helping to cultivate my son's love of science!! The great thing about Steve Spangler items? They actually work, are so much fun, and it's really interesting to learn the "why" behind them.

 

Crayola Original Silly Putty

science (polymer), activity

Crayola Original Silly Putty
Week 8

Play with some real silly putty after reading about it in the spine text!

 

Snowflake Bentley

biography, history, science

Snowflake Bentley
Week 8

Read about Wilson Bentley in this lovely, award-winning book, after he is mentioned in the spine text. This book is also scheduled in my Seasons curriculum.

"From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal."

Marie Curie: Scientist Who Made Glowing Discoveries (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors & Scientists)

biography, history, science

Option 1 (for younger students):

Marie Curie: Scientist Who Made Glowing Discoveries (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors & Scientists)
Week 9

My son loved books by Mike Venezia. They are easy enough to get through in one sitting, with many illustrations and pictures, but have enough information that even big kids can appreciate them. My high schoolers used to even like thumbing through my younger son's collection of Venezia books from time-to-time. wink

World History Biographies: Marie Curie: The Woman Who Changed the Course of Science

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):
World History Biographies: Marie Curie: The Woman Who Changed the Course of Science
Week 9

""This short book is written in a clear, readable style, detailing the events of Marie’s life that will be of interest to teen readers... It will be an excellent and accessible resource for libraries. Readers will find the prose engaging and Marie’s story interesting and inspiring."

Marie Curie lapbook

science, biography, history

Marie Curie Lapbook
Week 9

This is a nice lapbook that goes with the book above. All of the cut-outs and answers are provided. There is also a cute printable book report paper with room for an illustration, at the end of the PDF. Here is a screenshot from the PDF of the finished lapbook:

Marie Curie lapbook

activity

Geyser Tube with Caps
Week 10

Take the "Try This" activity from the Exploring Creation book to a new level! Buy this inexpensive kit and you won't have to mess around with hot glue, plus you'll be able to make new types of spray with the different caps.

  • Learn the science behind the internet sensation, make your own diet soda and Mentos geyser
  • Interchangeable caps let you decide what kind of spray you want to make you each time you set off a new geyser
  • No more wasting soda trying to get all the Mentos in the bottle at one time, this is a fool-proof method for making a 25-foot geyser
  • Comes with a roll of Mentos but you can try other activators to see what works best, it's all part of the science

The Dynamic World of Chemical Reactions with Max Axiom (Graphic Science)

science

The Dynamic World of Chemical Reactions with Max Axiom (Graphic Science)Week 10

Otter (a former reluctant reader) enjoyed the Max Axiom comics. The reading level is about 3rd-4th grade, but even older students will learn from them!

"In graphic novel format, follows the adventures of Max Axiom as he explores the science of chemical reactions."

One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond

literature, character

Literature Link: One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond
Week 11

Your student(s) will read this book after reading that cookies are a heterogenous mixture. The story contains some delicious wisdom and plenty of vocabulary words for consuming! One Smart Cookie is a great way to tie in some language arts and character education into your science study. There is a cookie recipe in the back that you can use instead of the one in the spine book.

Copper (True Books: Elements)

science

Copper (True Books: Elements)
Week 11

Learn all about the element copper!

If the book isn't available at Amazon, you can get it here from Scholastic.

Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More

animals, some science

Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More
Week 12

There are several different science concepts in this book! You'll read it during the week your student learns about colloids (milk is a colloid). Your child's learning will be extended with a free (optional) lapbook about cattle that is linked to in the schedule.

Following a day in the life of Clarabelle, one of 1,200 cows on a Wisconsin dairy farm, we learn what it takes for a cow to produce life-giving milk and also by-products like electricity. The manure that Clarabelle and her herdmates create not only generates electricity, it provides fresh bedding for cow stalls and fertilizer for the crops grown to feed the cows. Vibrant close-up photographs capture Clarabelle, her calf, and the youngest members of this multi-generational farm family, Josh and Sam, sharing the workload.

Fortunately, the Milk

literature

Literature Link: Fortunately, the Milk
Week 12

This is a fun story you'll read after learning about colloids! Note: this story features aliens, wumpires (yes, that's with a "w" and not a "v"), pirates, a volcano god, and other fantastical make-believe creatures and people. Preview to make sure it's appropriate for your family. wink

"I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: t h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."

"Hullo," I said to myself. "That's not something you see every day. And then something odd happened."

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious New York Times bestselling story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.

Forces Make Things Move (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

science

Option 1 (for younger students):
Forces Make Things Move (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
Week 13

"There are forces at work whenever you throw a ball, run up the stairs, or push your big brother off the couch. Want to learn more about the forces around you? Read and find out!"

Click here to see a book preview. Click on the blue button where it says "Read a Sample".

Forces and motion

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):
Explore Forces and Motion!: With 25 Great Projects
Week 13

"Everything moves! Kids run around the playground, cars drive on the road, and balls fly through the air. What causes all this motion? Physics! Forces and motion rule the way everything moves through space.

In Explore Forces and Motion! With 25 Great Projects, readers ages 7 through 10 discover that the push and pull of every object on the planet and in space depends on how a force acts upon it. Things float because of a force called buoyancy, we stick to the ground because of a force called gravity, and we make footprints in sand because of a force called pressure.

Physics becomes accessible and interactive through activities such as a experimenting with a water cup drop, building a bridge, and spotting magnetic field lines. Simple machines such as levers, pulleys, and wedges are used as vehicles for discovery and comprehension of the foundational concepts of physical science. Using a theme familiar to everyone—motion—this book captures the imagination and encourages young readers to push, pull, twist, turn, and spin their way to learning about forces and motion."

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France

history, science, famous people

Literature Link: Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France
Week 13

I love the story behind this book. It teaches children about the scientific method, the placebo effect and a sprinkling of history and scientific achievements of the time. Highly recommended.

"But soon the straightforward American inventor Benjamin Franklin is upstaged by a compelling and enigmatic figure: Dr. Mesmer. In elaborately staged shows, Mesmer, wearing a fancy coat of purple silk and carrying an iron wand, convinces the people of Paris that he controls a magic force that can make water taste like a hundred different things, cure illness, and control thoughts! But Ben Franklin is not convinced. Will his practical approach of observing, hypothesizing, and testing get to the bottom of the mysterious Mesmer’s tricks? A rip-roaring, lavishly illustrated peek into a fascinating moment in history shows the development and practice of the scientific method—and reveals the amazing power of the human mind."

A Crash Course in Forces and Motion with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science)

science

A Crash Course in Forces and Motion with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science)
Week 14

Max Axiom science comics are a hit with kids! We had an entire set on our shelves when Otter was younger.

Look to the Stars

science, history, famous people

Option 1 (for younger students):
Look to the Stars
Week 14

I like how this book mixes history and science. It also mentions some of the scientists we are learning about this year with the Knowledge of Nature curriculum! The illustrations are lovely. Your student will read it after reading about rockets and astronauts in the spine text.

"As one of a handful of astronauts to have walked on the moon, Buzz Aldrin has a unique perspective of space. And he serves as an amazing guide as he introduces us to the pioneers of space. From Copernicus to the Wright brothers, from the Apollo program to dreams of future travel, he reminds us that mankind has always looked to the stars.

Buzz's informative, kid-friendly text is paired with beautifully detailed illustrations by renowned illustrator Wendell Minor, and offers the perfect introduction to everything space related, including the development of the first rockets, America's space race with Russia, details of all the Apollo missions, and the space station."

Team Moon

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):
Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

Week 14

"Here is a rare perspective on a story we only thought we knew. For Apollo 11, the first moon landing, is a story that belongs to many, not just the few and famous. It belongs to the seamstress who put together twenty-two layers of fabric for each space suit. To the engineers who created a special heat shield to protect the capsule during its fiery reentry. It belongs to the flight directors, camera designers, software experts, suit testers, telescope crew, aerospace technicians, photo developers, engineers, and navigators."

 

Gravity Is a Mystery (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

science

Option 1 (for younger students):
Gravity Is a Mystery (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
Week 16

"What goes up must come down.

Everybody knows that. But what is it that pulls everything from rocks to rockets toward the center of the earth? It's gravity. Nobody can say exactly what it is, but gravity is there, pulling on everything, all the time. With the help of an adventurous scientist and his fun-loving dog, you can read and find out about this mysterious force. "

My kids loved this set of books! Click here to see a book preview. Click on the blue button where it says "Read a Sample".
You Wouldn't Want to Live without Gravity

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):
You Wouldn't Want to Live without Gravity
Week 16

"You dont really get a choice about gravity. If you live on Earth, youre going to have to live with it. If you become an astronaut, you might get to escape from gravity for a while, but it will be waiting for you when you get home. But gravity does a lot of useful things - such as keeping us on the Earth and holding the entire universe together! Learn how gravity was discovered and why it helps us to understand everything from how toothpaste comes out of the tube to the movements of the planets."

Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes

activity

 

Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes
Week 16

I've included a link to a free paper plane website, but this book is much nicer as it has glossy paper templates that are lots of fun. My son had this book and really enjoyed it. When I ordered things like this for our year, it gave the kids something to look forward to! Younger children may need help with folding the planes.

"This big (10" x 12") book comes complete with 40 sheets of flight-tested, ready-to-fold paper, printed on both sides in a variety of 20 colorful patterns, including leopard print, wood grain, hot rod flames and lose-it-on-the-lawn grass."

A couple other fun options:

Star Wars Folded Flyers: Make 30 Paper Starfighters (Klutz)

My son would have loved this!

or

Paper Flying Dragons (Klutz)

Am I too old for this? ;-)

Who Was Galileo?

biography, history, science

Who Was Galileo?
Week 16

My son LOVED this set of books and read them avidly, despite being a reluctant reader at the time. They make great read-alouds for younger children and are easy enough for older kids to read themselves without being overwhelmed. Don't be turned off by the hokey cover. The interior illustrations are line drawings and much more friendly & fun.

Energy Makes Things Happen (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

science

Option 1 (for younger students):
Energy Makes Things Happen (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
Week 17

"Did you know that energy comes from the food you eat? From the sun and wind? From fuel and heat?

You get energy every time you eat. You transfer energy to other things every time you play baseball. In this book, you can find out all the ways you and everyone on earth need energy to make things happen."

Click here to see a book preview. Click on the blue button where it says "Read a Sample".

DK Eyewitness Books: Energy

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):
DK Eyewitness Books: Energy
Week 17

"rom the sun to wind power, from nuclear plants to electricity, energy is an amazing resource that powers our world. Discover the fascinating story of energy and what it is with DK Eyewitness Books: Energy.

Applying the award-winning Eyewitness formula to one of the most compelling subjects in the world of science, this title profiles every facet of energy, from the scientists who uncovered its amazing secrets to the impact it has on every aspect of our lives. Learn about how plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis and explore how energy has opened up lines of communication from morse code and telegraphs to GPS and communication satellites."


Digging a Hole to Heaven: Coal Miner Boys

literature, history, tangentially related to science (coal)

 

 

 

 

 

history, tangentially related to science (coal)

1st option:

Literature Link: Digging a Hole to Heaven: Coal Miner Boys
Week 17

Read this story after learning about coal in the spine book. Y.E. creationists will want to skip page 2 because of evolutionary content. Skipping that page doesn't affect the story, at all.

This books is a great way to mix a bit of science and history! You can also use it to teach compassion towards those who work in difficult conditions and to teach gratefulness when you compare your child's chores to the work day of the child in the story!

At 12 years old, Conall has already worked in the coal mines of West Virginia for two years. He spends his days deep underground with his faithful mule, Angel, carting loads of coal back and forth between the coal seams and the main shaft, where elevators take the coal up to the surface. One day a tunnel collapses, and his brother is trapped with others on the wrong side! How can Conall and Angel help to save them?

Mixing archival images with his original artwork, in this historical fiction picture book acclaimed author and illustrator S. D. Nelson gives voice to the poverty, grueling labor, and dangerous conditions experienced by child laborers across our nation in the past, echoing conditions today, especially for migrant fieldworkers.

2nd option:

Literature Link: You Wouldn't Want to Be a 19th-Century Coal Miner in England!: A Dangerous Job You'd Rather Not Have

The "You Wouldn't Want to Be" set of books is humorous and informative. They have fun, comic-book style illustrations inside that break up the text.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition

biography, science

Option 1 (for younger students):
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition
Week 18

"When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.

Lyrically told and gloriously illustrated, this story will inspire many as it shows how - even in the worst of times - a great idea and a lot of hard work can still rock the world."

Watch this book read-aloud on YouTube: click here.

The Boy Who harnessed the wind

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud):
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Reader's Edition
Weeks 18-19

"When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba's tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season's crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William's windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.

Retold for a younger audience, this exciting memoir shows how, even in a desperate situation, one boy's brilliant idea can light up the world. Complete with photographs, illustrations, and an epilogue that will bring readers up to date on William's story, this is the perfect edition to read and share with the whole family."

The sun (book)

science

The Sun (revised edition)
Week 18

Your child will read this beautiful book after reading about solar energy in the spine book. My son LOVED Seymour Simon books!

 

Solar toy

Just for fun

Solar Toys
Week 18

Choose a solar powered toy to put in your schoolroom window!

 

Sound Waves and Communication (Content and Literacy in Science Grade 4)

science

Sound Waves and Communication (Content and Literacy in Science Grade 4)Week 19

"Sound waves are all around us creating a multitude of different frequencies. Some we can hear, and some we cannot hear. Discover the ways in which animals, insects, and birds communicate through sound as well as how sound is beneficial for other uses -- even if we can't hear it! High-interest, informational text paired with vibrant images and photos, intriguing facts, and a helpful glossary and index will keep readers engaged from cover to cover. A Think Like a Scientist activity that supports STEM instruction is included at the end of the book for students to apply what they've learned about sound."

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art

literature, biography, art, science: synesthesia

Literature link: The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art
Week 19

"Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers—like a proper artist.
 
But as Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound—the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony! And as he grew older, he continued to hear brilliant colors singing and see vibrant sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint . . . music?
 
In this exuberant celebration of creativity, Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPré tell the fascinating story of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the very first painters of abstract art. Throughout his life, Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds, and sounds as colors—and bold, groundbreaking works burst forth from his noisy paint box. "

Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

animal science

Option 1 (for younger students):
Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
Week 20

This book can also be checked out online, for free, via the Internet Archive Library.

Physics topic: high frequency sound (echolocation), sonar

My kids loved this set of science books. This one teaches all about bats. Although it's a "level 2" book, the information is appropriate for kids a bit older too.

"Bats fly into the spotlight in this exploration of such basics as where the live, how mothers raise their pups, and how they hunt for food. Included as well is a simple plan for a building a backyard bat house. "

Click here to see a book preview. Click on the blue button where it says "Read a Sample".

bats

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud for younger students):

The Bat Scientists (Scientists in the Field Series)
Week 20

"Dr. Merlin Tuttle and his colleagues at Bat Conservation International aren't scared of bats. These bat crusaders are fascinated by them, with good reason. Bats fly the night skies in nearly every part of the world, but they are the least studied of all mammals. As the major predator of night-flying insects, bats eat many pests. Unfortunately bats are facing many problems, including a terrifying new disease. White-nose Syndrome is infecting and killing millions of hibernating bats in North America. But Dr. Tuttle, with the help of his fellow bat scientists are in the trenches—and caves—on the front line of the fight to save their beloved bats."

Stellaluna

literature, science

Literature Link: Stellaluna
Week 20

This is such a cute story!

"Knocked from her mother’s safe embrace by an attacking owl, Stellaluna lands headfirst in a bird’s nest. This adorable baby fruit bat’s world is literally turned upside down when she is adopted by the occupants of the nest and adapts to their peculiar bird habits. Two pages of notes at the end of the story provide factual information about bats."

 

A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison

biography, history, science

Option 1 (for younger students):
A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison
Week 21

"Thomas Edison had a thirst for knowledge, taste for mischief, and hunger for discovery—but his success was made possible by his boundless energy. At age fourteen he coined his personal motto: “The More to do, the more to be done,” and then went out and did: picking up skills and knowledge at every turn. When learning about things that existed wasn't enough, he dreamed up new inventions to improve the world.
 
From humble beginnings as a farmer’s son, selling newspapers on trains and reading through public libraries shelf by shelf, Tom began his inventing career as a boy and became a legend as a man."

Thomas Edison: Young Inventor (Childhood of Famous Americans)

biography, history, science

frogOption 2 (for older students, or as a read-aloud for younger students):
Thomas Edison: Young Inventor (Childhood of Famous Americans)
Weeks 21-22

My son really enjoyed this series of books.

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World

science, animals

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World
Week 21

WARNING: Evolutionary content. If you are anti-evolution, you will have to skip a few pages in this book. It's worth it though for all of the amazing information and illustrations. You'll read this book after learning about animal vision in the spine book.

"In his latest eye-popping work of picture book nonfiction, the Caldecott Honor–winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins explains how for most animals, eyes are the most important source of information about the world in a biological sense."

A Book About Color: A Clear and Simple Guide for Young Artists

art

A Book About Color: A Clear and Simple Guide for Young Artists
Week 22

You'll read this book after learning about primary colors in the spine text. Expand your learning with a bit of related art theory!

"Beginning with the six houses on Color Street--red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple--and concluding with the introduction of the color wheel, in this follow-up to A Book About Design Mark Gonyea explains how artists visualize and choose colors. A Book about Color uses simple building blocks of color, shape, and design to introduce young artists to the world of color theory. "

Heat (The Science Behind)

science

Heat (The Science Behind)
Week 23

This book not only explains heat, it also has a fun activity: make sunlight smores!

"This book explores the awesome science behind heat. Topics include energy, the Sun, and friction."

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein

biography, history, science

Option 1 (younger students):
Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein
Week 23

"When he was born, Albert was a peculiar, fat baby with an unusually big and misshaped head. When he was older, he hit his sister, bothered his teachers, and didn’t have many friends. But in the midst of all of this, Albert was fascinated with solving puzzles and fixing scientific problems. The ideas Albert Einstein came up with during his childhood as an odd boy out were destined to change the way we know and understand the world around us . . ."

Ordinary Genius: The Story of Albert Einstein (Trailblazer Biographies)

biography, history, science

frogOption 2 (older students or as a read-aloud to younger students):
Ordinary Genius: The Story of Albert Einstein (Trailblazer Biographies)
Week 23

"Recounts the life of the scientist whose theories of relativity revolutionized the way we look at space and time."

I Survived #11: I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871

literature, history

Literature link: I Survived #11: I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871
Week 24

After reading about heat and fire in the spine text, your student will read this exciting, historical book about the Chicago Fire of 1871. Use as a read-aloud for younger students with less reading ability.

Ice Cream: The Full Scoop

literature, history, a touch of science

Literature link: Ice Cream: The Full Scoop
Week 25

"Cool and smooth and sweet, ice cream has long been a favorite treat. It cools you off when it's hot and is too delicious to resist even in cold weather. How did it get to be so scrumptious? Best-selling author/illustrator Gail Gibbons dishes out the latest scoop on ice cream production. Ice cream has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a mixture of snow, milk, and rice. Gail Gibbons details the many firsts in ice cream history, from the earliest ice cream crank to the original waffle cone. Children's mouths will be watering as they follow ice cream's journey from farm to factory to freezer."

The Magic School Bus And The Electric Field Trip

science

The Magic School Bus And The Electric Field Trip
Week 26

"Small enough to squeeze through power lines, Ms. Frizzle's class learns how electric current travels through the town, lights up a light bulb, heats up a toaster, and runs an electric motor. Fans of the Magic School Bus won't be left behind by this simple and informative introduction to the generation and distribution of electricity."

Lightning

science

Lightning
Week 26

Seymour Simon books are so beautiful and chock full of information that is easy-to-understand! My son used to love them and check them out from the library all of the time.

 

How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning

biography, history, science

How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning
Week 26

Ben Franklin was the most famous American in the entire world during colonial times. No wonder! After all, the man could do just about anything. Why, he was an author and an athlete and a patriot and a scientist and an inventor to boot. He even found a way to steal the lightning right out of the sky.

Is such a thing possible? Is it. Take a look inside and find Ben busy at work on every spread. Then find out how he used his discovery about lightning to make people's lives safer.

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World

biography, history, science

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World
Week 27

"When a Serbian boy named Nikola Tesla was three, he stroked his cat and was enchanted by the electrical sparks. By the time he was a teenager, he had made a vow: Someday I will turn the power of Niagara Falls into electricity. Here is the story of the ambitious young man who brought life-changing ideas to America, despite the obstructive efforts of his hero-turned-rival, Thomas Edison. From using alternating current to light up the Chicago World’s Fair to harnessing Niagara to electrify New York City and beyond, Nikola Tesla was a revolutionary ahead of his time. Remote controls, fluorescent lights, X-rays, speedometers, cell phones, even the radio — all resulted from Nikola Tesla’s inventions. Established biographer Elizabeth Rusch sheds light on this extraordinary figure, while fine artist Oliver Dominguez brings his life and inventions to vivid color."

Charged Up: The Story of Electricity (Science Works)

science

Charged Up: The Story of Electricity (Science Works)
Week 27

"Describes how electrical energy is generated in power stations and how it travels through pylons, power cables, and wires into people's homes."

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit

activity

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit
Week 27 (and whenever your child wishes to play with / experiment with)

We bought our son a huge set of Snap Circuits and he played with them for YEARS. They are easy enough for a little kid to use (Otter was about 5 when he got his first set) and are fun & interesting enough for an older child to play with, too. Our son played with them until he was about 12 or 13. I highly recommend this set, especially if you don't want to fuss around with all the make-your-own circuit experiments in the spine text (which I personally wouldn't, lol).

Click here to look at the manual to see some of the experiments / projects your child can accomplish with this set.

What Makes a Magnet? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

science

What Makes a Magnet? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
Week 28

"In this new addition to the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, veteran author Franklyn Branley explains the properties and behavior of magnets. True Kelley's charming illustrations will entertain readers as they discover for themselves what makes a magnet. Hands-on activities include making a magnet and compass."

Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science

activity

Week 28

Younger students: Lauri - Fun with Magnets

frogOlder students: Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science

My kids played with their magnet set for YEARS. It was a must-have on my homeschool shelf.

magnet kit

National Geographic Readers: Sea Turtles

Option 1 (younger students):
National Geographic Readers: Sea Turtles
Week 29

This is a beautiful book that isn't overwhelming for younger or reluctant readers.

National Geographic Kids Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue

frogOption 2 (older students):
National Geographic Kids Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue
Week 29

"Inspiring young animal lovers to get up close to sea turtles and the real-life challenges they face is what Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue is all about. Kids can connect their love of animals with their passion to help save them, discovering amazing true adventure stories, gorgeous photography, hands-on activities, fascinating information, and more. This introduction to sea turtles provides in-depth information about their habitats, challenges, and successes, so that kids can take action to help save these amazing endangered creatures."

Castle Under Siege!: Simple Machines (Raintree Fusion: Physical Science)

science, history

Castle Under Siege!: Simple Machines (Raintree Fusion: Physical Science)
Week 30

I love mixing subjects. This one features science and history! Castle Under Siege is all about simple machines and how they were used to build, defend, and attack historical castles.

Click here to preview the book online.

How Do You Lift a Lion?

science

How Do You Lift a Lion?
Week 30

"Explore the functions of levers, wheels, and pulleys, and learn how to lift a lion, pull a panda, and deliver a basket of bananas to a baboon birthday party!"

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

biography, history, science (engineering)

Literature Link: Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
Week 31

This is a beautifully illustrated story about engineering that is a perfect read while your student is studying simple machines.

"Capturing an engineer's creative vision and mind for detail, this fully illustrated picture book biography sheds light on how the American inventor George Ferris defied gravity and seemingly impossible odds to invent the world's most iconic amusement park attraction, the Ferris wheel.

     A fun, fact-filled text by Kathryn Gibbs Davis combines with Gilbert Ford's dazzling full-color illustrations to transport readers to the 1893 World's Fair, where George Ferris and his big, wonderful wheel lifted passengers to the skies for the first time."

Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea

literature, science

Literature Link: Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea
Week 32

Ruby wants first prize at the fifth grade science fair—and she thinks her quirky, creative, Rube Goldberg–esque invention is just the way to get it! Rife with “depth and charm,” this story is peppered with engaging science facts and insights (Publishers Weekly).

 

 

 

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