Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Lapbooking Through the Periodic Table by Elemental Science

This is a review of the unit study Lapbooking Through the Periodic Table by Elemental Science. We were not approached to use or review this product, but chose to use it on our own as a supplement to our regular 5th grade science curriculum. As a bonus, since I have been considering switching to Elemental Science's full year curriculum, it gave us a chance to test drive one of Elemental Science's products for under $5.00.

Review: Lapbooking Through the Periodic Table by Elemental Science

Lapbooking Through the Periodic Table is the newest unit study from Elemental Science, and is currently available exclusively through Currclick. 

The study is listed as appropriate for 2nd - 6th grade and suggests different spine reading books based on where your student falls within that age group. For younger students there is one main spine book, Fizz, Bubble & Flash! which is used for the lesson reading and experiment/ activity directions. Older students will need Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science to use for lesson reading along with Fizz, Bubble & Flash! for experiments and some lesson reading.  

As a side note, the Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Chemistry could also be used for the older grades, since it is entirely incorporated in the Illustrated Dictionary of Science. Just be aware that the page numbers will be different than listed in the unit study. We actually were able to get both books at our local library, but the Illustrated Dictionary of Chemistry was more readily available. That leads to the only change / addition that I would recommend for this study: please include the page numbers for both books. 

There are also additional reading topics and books recommended in each lesson. These are all optional, but will flesh out the study a goodly amount. Usage of the additional reading selection will just depend on your needs and available time.

Review: Lapbooking Through the Periodic Table by Elemental Science

Lapbooking Through the Periodic Table has 13 lessons and is designed to use one lesson per week. We have not used it as such though. It was not our main science curriculum, but a supplement to a weak chemistry chapter in our regular curriculum. Since it was just a supplement,  we did not have 13 weeks to devote to the study of the Periodic Table.  Instead, we completed one lesson (sometimes two) per day during our science class time.  

For a younger elementary child, I can see this curriculum easily filling an entire week of science with just one lesson, including the recommended additional reading.  However, for an older elementary or middle school student, it seems like a very minimal science study to use one lesson over a whole week. Admittedly, we did not pursue any of the additional reading selections, but still we completed every other aspect of the lesson in one 45 minute science class each day.  

The study was very engaging and provided suggestions for experiments and activities with almost every lesson. This is something we desperately needed. While some of the activities were definitely well below my daughter's age and level, it did provide a fun way to learn the concepts presented in the lesson. The age appropriateness of the activities is going to be an issue for any study written for such a broad range of ages, and was expected when I purchased the study.  While the activities were below my daughter's ability, it didn't cause us any significant problems simply because this unit study was only a quick detour for us. I do think the activities at such a younger level would have become tedious had we tried to stretch this out to the full 13 weeks intended.

Review: Lapbooking Through the Periodic Table by Elemental Science
Homemade ice cream - after demonstrating how salt & ice are much colder than ice alone.
My daughter had never before completed a lapbook, so this was a new experience for her.  We have used studies that encompassed lapbooks, but we always chose to do only a few of the lapbook activities. For the first time, we decided to complete all activities and see how the whole lapbook turned out. 

At first, my daughter was enamored with the lapbook project idea. However, by the end she was finding some of it tedious and more like busy work. At one point she asked, "Do I have to color everything? This is really getting old."  Still, she did enjoy it more than her regular science curriculum with worksheets ad nauseum, so she didn't put up too much of a fuss over the coloring.

I appreciated that the study asks for the students to write their own narrative on the topics in each lesson, besides having the vocabulary words. It makes the kids think about what they have read and explain it in their own words, enforcing the lesson.  My daughter certainly learned more through this unit study than from her regular text book.

Review: Lapbooking Through the Periodic Table by Elemental Science

In my opinion, the usefulness of this unit study depends on the age of the student and intended use of the study. It is a good early and mid-ish, 2nd - 4th, elementary study, but would work best for the upper elementary and middle school as a supplement to another chemistry study. 

On a whole, this was a good experience and pleasant introduction to the Elemental Science curriculum.  I am extremely pleased with the balance between activity, reading, discussion and written work.  We are also planning on using Elemental Science's next unit study,  Lapbooking Through the Solar System, which is due out in January, 2013, about 2 weeks before we need it!

I have also been pleased with their response to questions.  Paige at Elemental Science quickly answers posts to their Facebook page and email inquiries with a friendly demeanor. 

We are anxious to try the Classic Series of science curriculum by Elemental Science. The series has 4 topics, each designed to be a full year of science.  There are 2 levels of each topic too, one for the grammar stage and one for the logic stage. From the samples I've seen, the series looks even more engaging than this study and more directly geared for the age level.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a great resource. Even though Jeremiah studied the elements this year I might order this as a review!