Join Professor Ana Lyze, an “expert in outlandish oddities” as she takes you through activities and experiments designed to help you get up close and personal with some very interesting science topics!!
For this review, I was given a download of an e-unit study by TOS magazine. The Curiosity Files are a series of science unit studies on topics ranging from Puffer Fish and MRSA to Quicksand and Zombie Fire Ants! For curious, bug-oriented, and a “fascination with all things strange and a little gross” boys like mine, these unit studies are golden!
Since we live on the coast in Florida, I chose to review the Red Tide unit study, because this is a topic we will hear about frequently on the news. The unit studies are multi-age, which is good because I like to teach science to my 4th and 7th grade boys together whenever possible. The study begins with information about red tide, written in an almost conversational style. However, this doesn’t mean it’s “simple”. Real scientific terms are used, and explained, in ways both of my children could clearly understand. There was also a multiple choice “quiz” after the reading, which allowed my boys to process what they had learned (we did it together).
The red tide unit study included math activities on grams/kilograms, which was timely because my 4th grader was working on those topics in math at the time! Math/history/geography/writing and vocab activities of some form are included in all of the Curiosity Files unit studies, making them a complete unit that you could easily add library books to if you wanted to stretch your study of a particular topic out. There are even suggestions for books you can look for at your local library!
The writing assignments in Red Tides included a descriptive and persuasive essay. The descriptive essay was perfect for my younger son, while the persuasive was great practice for my older. They even included an elementary and middle school and up vocabulary list! There was also a section devoted to “looking at a scientific research paper” aimed at older students, which my son found very interesting. The multi-age aspect of the Curiosity Files is VERY well laid out.
Directions for experiments were included, and we studied the food chain, as well as algae in our food (ewwww!) 🙂 . We also enjoyed the “fun” activities, like the word search, and the coloring pages. For the creative-type student, some lapbook projects were included, and you could easily add more based on other research you do into the topic.
Depending on how in-depth you want to go, these unit studies could last a week, or longer. We spent about 2-3 weeks on this one, using books from the library, and internet research we did on our own. We also took a field trip to our local beach, and nature center, where we were able to get some more information about Red Tide. This unit study was a lot of fun, and my boys are already after me to get the one on quicksand!!
You can buy the “bundle” of 9 Curiosity Files unit studies (in downloadable ebook form) for $46.00, or you can buy the CD for $49.00. To purchase individual units, refer to The Old Schoolhouse Store website for pricing details: