AIMS education foundation is an organization devoted to creating hands-on math and science activities to make learning more enjoyable (and likely more effective) for children. I am always looking for ways to engage my boys in science! I have never been a real science enthusiast, so I appreciate curriculum that helps me along in this area. For this review, I received a copy of Earth Rocks, and earth-science activity book for grades 4-5.
In this book, students will explore rocks and minerals, soil, water, changes in the earth, as well as pollution. In each section, students make a “rubber band book” which contains info about the topic. At first, we had a little difficulty assembling these, but my son figured it out! Each lesson is laid out clearly for the teacher, and the guiding standards are printed in the lesson. (Keep in mind these books are for use by schools as well). Both the teacher lessons and the activities are in the same book, but you are permitted to make copies, and the book comes with a CD that contains PDF files of the printable pages, so I just printed out the ones my son needed for each lesson.
We enjoyed the activities in the section on rocks, particularly growing crystals. I also liked the fact that there were questions in the book you could use for discussion with your child. Some of the activities called for rocks from the rock kit, which would be an additional purchase. Is is not expensive, only $12.95, but as my son already has a large rock collection, we just used those instead.
The activities in Earth Rocks lend themselves easily to group work, which is nice if you want to have several of your children work on this together. For older students, you would definitely need to supplement with some more advanced books. My son likes non-fiction reading, so we actually just checked out books from the library on each topic we studied. Lessons also include extension activities (i.e. mapping rivers when studying erosion) and some have web links as well.
Overall, I thought this was a fun way to study earth science. The length of the lessons will vary from day to day, depending on what you are doing, but we didn’t find them to be terribly long. Usually, if I looked at a lesson and thought it would take a really long time, we split it into two days. While I didn’t feel this was a very in-depth study of the Earth, it makes a nice introduction, and you can certainly go deeper if you want by adding books from the library.
Earth rocks costs $29.95, and includes 50 activities. Depending on how many days you do science, you could easily stretch this to last a year, especially if you break some of the lessons down into smaller parts. I think the cost is reasonable for what you get, and it definitely fits my budget! You can find out more about Earth Rocks and other AIMS programs here:
To find out what other TOS Crew members had to say about AIMS, click here:
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this material for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions expressed are my own.