When I was studying math and science in school, I often felt frustrated that what I was learning had no application in my life. Biology, chemistry, physics, and algebra seemed very abstract and impractical. I wondered why I had to learn it when I’d never use it. Now, as a homeschool mom, I try to help my daughters see the practical applications of their studies. Math is their least favourite subject. I often point out how math is helpful when we’re baking or shopping.
Because my girls love reading, I often turn to stories to help them learn. We’ve learned about history, religion, and geography through novels. Science, Naturally! novels teach children about STEM via stories. I’ll have to look these books up for my avid little readers. If you think you’re child would also be interested, check out Amy’s review below.
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Amy, a former teacher and now homeschooling mom, recently had the opportunity to read and review Ghost in the Water and Leonardo da Vinci Gets a Do-Over. Both of these amazing books are published by Science, Naturally! and provide a myriad of learning opportunities for the reader. Each book is jammed pack with facts and ideas from multiple subject areas that are seamlessly woven together to create a great story! Readers will be so enthralled in the story that they won’t realize they are learning.
Ghost in the Water, written by Sue Garcia, is the first book in the League of Scientist Mystery series. This fantastic book introduces a group of middle school students who have banned together to form the League of Scientists. Together they use their knowledge of science, technology, math and logic to solve mysteries—but not in a textbook, science-class kind of way. Kids of all ages will be able to identify with problems and challenges faced by the characters as they ban together to save the school swimming pool.
Leonardo da Vinci Gets a Do-Over, written by Mark Friedlander, Jr., is the first book in the Innovators in Action series. This fun adventure takes three American middle school students on a class trip to Florence, Italy. There they meet Leonardo da Vinci, who is back in modern times to help make the world a better place. Join the fun as these engaging characters help the Renaissance legend survive in the 21st century.
Each book also has a free Teacher’s Guide that is filled with hundreds of suggestions, activities and connecting points. These help guide the learning during the reading of the book. The Teacher’s Guide makes cross-curricular learning through these books a snap—because so much is already done for the teacher.
The hardest part will be choosing which of the activities you want to do. It would be almost impossible to do them all! The activities include everything from discussion topics, writing prompts, areas to research, hands-on activities and more. They are truly what brings the learning to life and the Teacher’s Guide has it all ready to go!
So how am I using these books? It has been very easy in incorporate a book into our daily reading. I started with Ghost in the Water because we are currently learning about physics and chemistry. This book is a natural tie to those concepts. Prior to reading a chapter with my son, I review the Teacher’s Guide and determine which of the listed activities I want to do. I generally make this decision based on what I know my son will enjoy or an area that I want him to dig deeper in. Then we read a chapter together.
As we get to a topic in the reading, I pose a discussion question that naturally fits in. I often model the thinking I want my son to do, so you might hear me questioning why something is happening or making “I wonder . . .” statements. At the end of the chapter we use the discussion or these questions to do further research and learn more about the “cool” things we learned. Then we’ll add in some hands-on activities from the Teacher’s Guide. When we are ready, we move on to the next chapter. Some chapters have taken us longer to get through than others because there is more we want to explore.
When I first got asked to review these books, I was not sure what to expect. My son is a big science lover so I knew it was something I wanted to look into. However, I never could have dreamed the books would be as amazing as they are.
Whether you have a book lover, science lover or reluctant learner, these books are sure to add some fun and exciting learning. I used these books as part of my current teaching role as a homeschooling mom. As a former classroom teacher, I would excitedly use them in a more traditional classroom too!
I am very impressed with the Science, Naturally! books. I’d recommend them highly if you are looking to add some seriously fun learning to your homeschool or traditional classroom. I have loved these books so much I am looking at adding some of their other resources to our curriculum too. I am most excited about trying out the One Minute Science Mysteries and One Minute Math Mysteries.