The Old School House has these great pdf’s called The Curiosity Files in which Professor Ana Lyze and her research team set out to educate children (and their parents) about strange insects, rare diseases, beautiful gems, and blue footed birds.
Each one of these ebooks focuses on one curiosity (quicksand, cicada-killing wasp, puffer fish…). The activities that follow the many pages of information are engaging multi-modal, addressing many learning styles and needs, and include: (list taken from the product information page)
- Bible study, discussion ideas, and memory verses
- Math, history, and geography investigations
- Literature and suggested book list
- Writing, spelling, and vocabulary activities
- Beautiful copywork pages (manuscript and cursive)
- Science observations, projects, and experiments
- Discussion questions
- Art, crafts, and drawing and coloring pages
- Lapbook/notebook pages and helpful lapbooking links
- Special needs, hands-on discoveries
- Internet resources and video links
- Complete answer key
When The Old Schoolhouse first gave me the e-book to review, I was really impressed by the visual quality of it. I have traveled to the Galapagos and it was a pleasure to see all the beautiful photographs of the Blue footed Booby in the pdf. However, I was skeptical about how I could use it with my 3.5 year old Bear since the activities are geared to 8 to 13 year olds. Nevertheless, I was determined to try to adapt it to work for us.
The ebook starts out with a lot of information about the Blue footed booby. I read and paraphrased some of it to Bear as she sat on my lap at the computer and looked at those great photographs I mentioned.
I also found the book Booby Hatch at the library to supplement the file. It was one of the recommended resources listed in the ebook.
The activities suggested researching another Galapagos animal so we looked through the photos in a book I have about the Galapagos.
Here are some of the other activities we did:
- looked up where the Galapagos Islands are on the shower curtain map.
- measured just how far a blue footed booby can dive into the ocean and measured their wingspan.
- measured Bear’s wingspan to compare it to the bird’s.
- figured out some of the word problems
- did a writing lesson – it used a piece of text from On The Banks of Plum Creek (Bear was excited about this) and discussed sentence combining to make sentences more interesting to listen too. We did this orally.
- made a Galapagos Islands habitat sensory box – the box included blue aquarium rocks for the water, sand, rocks, shells, photographs of some of the Galapagos animals I printed from the Web (mostly the Blue Footed Booby), and some sticks to represent driftwood (not photographed). I wish I had the Galapagos Toob!
- skip counting by 2’s and 3’s (because the Booby lays 2 to 3 eggs)
- reviewed the Montessori landform trays because Blue Footed Boobies are island birds
- made up our own Booby dances after watching Youtube videos of the mating dance
Again, I was truly impressed with how well laid out this ebook was and how the activities had extensions and adaptations to make it usable for a wide range of ages. This is really beneficial for a homeschooling families with more than one child as you could use one of these Curiosity Files and address the needs of every child. I liked that the activities were easily adaptable to make them more Montessori friendly. The files remind me a bit of Five in a Row (without the literature) because as in FIAR, all the school subjects are related to one central theme (in this case, the blue footed booby). Consequently, anyone who loves FIAR would probably love these.
Specs at a glance:
Publisher: The Old Schoolhouse
Format: downloadable product
Age range: 8 – 13 years (but obviously adaptable so that even a 3 year old can get something out of it)
See a sample here.
Other Curiosity Files are available; you can view the list here.