World of Plants - Great Science Adventure
The mini-booklets are called "Lots of Science Library Books." Pages from the World of Plants book are cut out and cut or folded in various ways to make into the mini-booklets. Approximately one-fourth of the pages are used to make these mini- booklets. This is an unusual approach, but not surprising, given that co-author Dinah Zike is also the author of Big Book of Books and Activities and The Big Book of Projects, both paper-manipulating activity books. Each mini-booklet addresses a specific question, then includes clear drawings and text to answer the question. Occasionally, one of the mini-book pages is titled "Fascinating Facts" and tells an interesting tidbit relating to the question.
Another quarter of the book is devoted to graphics which are cut out and made into 3D Graphic Organizers. The student makes these into his own visual aid on the topic, such as the parts of a plant, manipulating each part while learning the names and functions of the part.
The remaining half of the book is devoted to Teacher Pages. Lessons are designed to take one to three days to complete. These include vocabulary words, concept maps, assessments, assignments for all grade levels, and enrichment activities for the 24 lessons. Each lesson is laid out in a similar format. The lesson begins with a question, like "How do plants respond to the world around them?" Several basic statements about the concept are then given. Most of the information for the lesson is included in the "Lots of Science Library Book" for the lesson. Learning takes place from assembling the "Lots of ..." books, putting together the 3D Graphic Organizer, and doing the labs, using the "Investigative Loop". This is a term for the systematic process of posing a question, doing research or making predictions, starting a procedure, observing changes, recording data, drawing conclusions, and communicating conclusions, which may lead to another question and a new loop. Materials for the labs are listed and are generally ones that are commonly available. Instructions for the lab are brief. Although the labs are not complicated, some of them require observations over a period of days; the included "Lab Log" will help you keep track of which experiments you will need to observe on what days. All activities and labs indicate which are appropriate for Beginning Level (K-1), Primary Level (2-3), and Intermediate Level (4-8). If using the program for grades 7 and 8, the extension activities are recommended.
If you are looking for a program where students are spoon-fed information from a textbook and the teacher needs little preparation time, look elsewhere. This program is the essence of a hands-on program. For those who learn best by doing, this approach is well worth considering.
What child wouldn't jump at the chance to put together his or her own science program? Well, now they can. Literally. This series, by paper-manipulating guru Dinah Zike and author Susan Simpson, has a very unique way of teaching science. The basic idea behind the series is to put complicated information in a simple-to-understand visual format to ease learning and extend retention. Rather than displaying the information in textbook form with questions at the end of each chapter, this is a much more novel way of presenting the material. For each lesson, students construct a Lots of Science Library Book using the masters provided inside the main book. These small books (2.5" x 4" when finished) contain all the information, pictures and diagrams needed for that particular course of study. To help the students conceptualize, analyze, review and apply the knowledge gleaned from these student-made books, lessons will have at least one activity which involves the construction of 3D Graphic Organizers, a sort of cut-and-create model from the back of the main book. These activities focus on a skill such as compare and contrast, observation, describing a process or explaining functions and most of the activities include writing about the subject matter. Lessons also include vocabulary, objectives, teacher instructions, assignments, and enrichment activities. The enrichment section is found at the end of each lesson and has activities to expand upon concepts taught in the lesson, provide a foundation for further study or integrate the study with other disciplines.
The activities don't stop there, though. After all, what is a science program without a lab? For the most part, the labs require regular household items and sometimes incorporate other things, like the Graphic Organizers, into the process. To ensure that the labs are effective and practical, the Investigative Loop is used to guide the student through each step of the lab: posing a question or concept, research and/or predictions, starting a procedure, making observations, recording the data, drawing conclusions and/or applications, communicating the conclusions, sparking new questions, beginning a new loop and so on. And there are still more activities: design your own experiment, have an ongoing project in the works or end the particular book with a cumulative project. Every book in the Great Science Adventures series has 24 lessons, which should each take 1-3 days to complete. The Lots of Science Library Books pages and the graphics pages are reproducible.
If you are looking for a program where students are spoon-fed information from a textbook and the teacher needs little preparation time, look elsewhere. This is the essence of a hands-on program. For those who learn best by doing, this approach is well worth considering. - Zach
Items in this section tend to be instructional frameworks, or unit studies with a "core" teaching resource supplemented with additional text and/or activity resources.