Sassafras Science Adventures Volume One: Zoology
What a delightful way to learn science! Read a story, perform experiments, keep a log, learn some science. This Charlotte Mason style, hands-on, inquiry-based science program might be just what your children need to understand and enjoy science. From the same publisher as Elemental Science, this program follows the Sassafras Twins as they travel the world during their summer break learning the science content that they failed to master during their previous school year.
The underlying storyline is that the Sassafras twins felt science was boring and pointless. Despite Mom and Dad's warnings, they continued their lackluster approach towards science. Consequently, they must forego attending camp with their friends and instead spend the summer with their crazy (or is he?) Uncle Cecil. Uncle Cecil and his lab assistant, President Lincoln, developed a series of invisible zip lines and special carabineers that would take Train and Blaisy (Uncle Cecil's names for the children) on the adventures of a lifetime as they learn to love science. You will join the twins through 300 pages of adventures around the world as they learn about zoology - mammals and their habitats - in volume one, and then continue the journey through tombs in Ethiopia, a landfill in Texas, and much more as they explore human anatomy in volume two. Children in fourth through sixth grade can read the adventures on their own, or parents can read them aloud to all ages.
The Sassafras Guides to Zoology (Vol. 1) and Anatomy (Vol. 2) offer the road maps for your travels. These books contain 18 chapters that correspond to the chapters in the texts. For each chapter there is a summary, information and instruction for the Official Sassafras Scidat Logbook, encyclopedia readings, a list of additional living books on the topic, an experiment, vocabulary, copywork & dictation, additional activities, and optional schedules. The schedule offers a two and five day pacing option for the course. Encyclopedia suggestions are Kingfisher First Encyclopedia of Animals (#29186) for younger children and DK Encyclopedia of Animals (#14569). Experiments for chapters 1-3 and 16-18 are in the guide, but you will need Science Around the World by Janice VanCleave (#27250) for the experiments in chapters 4-15. For your convenience and planning purposes, there is a complete "living book" and supplies list at the front of the guide. An appendix includes reproducible pages and is limited to reproduction for family use only.
The Official Sassafras Scidat Logbooks become a record of each child's journey as he/she visits each location with the twins. The logbooks include illustrations, maps on which the child colors or marks locations, a place to record project information, and pages for notes. The Logbook is not reproducible, so you will want one for each child. There is a fair amount of writing, so some of the activities may not be appropriate for younger children.
Use the book as a fun read-aloud or add the activity guide and logbook for a complete science curriculum. Zip line your way through the African grassland, Egyptian dessert, Canada, Amazon rainforest, Australian forest, Chinese bamboo forest, the Arctic, and the Atlantic Ocean with Blaine and Tracey - then look forward to your next adventure with Uncle Cecil! ~ Donna
7 months ago
over 2 years ago
The guide book is a must. It provides lesson plan ideas, additional reading ideas and weekly activities that could double as art or light writing. The guide also has weekly science demonstrations to perform, observe and record results. The lesson plans are broken down in either 2 or 5 day increments however, I found the program flexible enough that I do it in 3 20-30min sessions a week.
I purchased the optional lapbook as well, but found we both preferred the SCIDAT logbook. The lapbook and logbook are basically the same as far as content. It's just a matter of presentation - one being in workbook form the other in lapbook. We are a lapbooking family, but found this one boring.
As a side note, I am using this curriculum as a way to hone my son's note taking ability. I read the chapter at the whiteboard and write down the facts that he needs to record in the logbook. As his understanding of fact extraction has increased, he tells me what to write on the whiteboard and he copies it into his logbook. Works for us :)
To recap: Get the storybook, guide and SCIDAT Logbook and you will be good to go!