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Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Physical Science for K-8

Here is my Physics/Physical Science lesson plans for a twice a week science course for those of you interested in seeing/using them. I used the GEMS guide: Earth, Moon and Stars , The Handbook of Nature Study (click on the link for a free download) and I used a simple machines kit. You could put together your own simple machines kit, however, by purchasing some pulleys and a balance that you can adjust. At the end of the year, there is scheduled a quick run through Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie Fulbright, but for younger children, you might want to go through it casually throughout the year, taking about two weeks per chapter. I also used Real Science-4-Kids Physics Pre-Level I and Level I including their experiments. -Phyllis

Week 1 : Simple Machines
*Begin Simple Machines: Levers
*Simple Machines: Pulley
Week 2: Simple Machines
*Simple Machines: Inclined Plane and Wedge
*Simple Machines: Screw
Week 3: Simple Machines
* Simple Machines: Wheel
Week 4: Our Earth
*Earth, Moon and Stars, Activity 1: Ancient Models of the Earth
*Earth Moon and Stars, Activity 2: The Earth's Shape and Gravity
Week 5: Earth
*Pangaea Puzzle (Copy a map of the world and have them cut out the continents and then put them together like a puzzle. We glued ours as it fit together to a piece of paper.) or, you could do a cookie project found at Almost Unschoolers.
*Layers of the Earth Desert
Week 7: Earth Science
*Begin Fossils: Fossils Uncovered
*Volcanoes: Make a 3-D Volcano Book, which shows a mountain on the outside and the parts of a volcano on the inside

Week 8: Earth Science
*The Force of Volcanoes (We used a kit for our models, but one could be made out of clay or you could just experiment with the baking soda and vinegar in a bottle, if you don't care if it doesn't look like a volcano. The point is to talk about the force and pressure within a volcano that makes the lava spew forth. We also had fun with Mentos and Diet Coke/Pepsi to demonstrate pressure and force.
*Fossil Collection
Week 11: Fossils/Earth Science
*Fossil Footprints
*Limestone Cave & Moon Craters
Week 11: Rocks and Minerals
*Sedimentary Rocks-How Sedimentary Rocks Are Made
*Metamorphic Rocks: Metamorphic Bars
Week 12: Rocks and Minerals
*Metamorphic Rock Collection
*Igneous Rock: Volcanoes and How Igneous Rocks Are Made Pop-Up Books
Week 13: Minerals and Crystals
*Testing Minerals: Scratch Test, Streak Test, Magnetic?, Acid Test
* Begin Crystals: Crystal Shapes

Week 14: Crystals
* Color pictures of Gems and Crystals to match the Crystal Shapes
* Growing Crystals
Week 15-17 Magnets
*Minerals vs. Rocks: Granola
*Follow the section on magnets in the Handbook of Nature Study , taking one section of questions each day.

Week 18: Light
*Introduce the concept of light energy.
*When light hits an object, three things can happen: it can pass through, it can bounce off or it can be absorbed. Introduce the terms opaque, translucent and transparent. Talk about how light travels and make a pin-hole camera.
Week 20: Bending Light
*Introduce the terms reflection and refraction. Reflection occurs when light waves bounce off an object and refraction occurs when light waves bend. Show them reflection in a mirror and a flashlight and refraction by placing a butter knife in a glass of water. What other times have you see refraction (in a swimming pool?) For older children you can discuss angle of incidence. When light hits a mirror at an angle, the wave will be reflected in the opposite direction but at an equal angle. You can use a mirror, flashlight and protractor to demonstrate this.
*Look at a periscope or make one if you do not have one. Have your students sketch it and show the path of light.
Week 21: Light & Color
*Use a prism to refract light and project the visible spectrum of colors. Glass is more dense than air, so the light bends as it passes through the prism. Each of the colors in the spectrum bends a different amount so you can see the different colors.
*Use poster board to make a color wheel. Set a compass at a radius of 2 inches. Draw a circle on the poster board and mark a point on the circle. Keep the compass setting the same. Draw six arcs around the circle. Make a point where each arc crosses the circle. Next draw lines from each point to the center of the circle. Carefully color each section a different color in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Cut out the circle and carefully press a nail or screw through the center. Place the nail in a bit holder of a small hand drill. Lock it tightly in place. Let the drill turn fast and watch the color wheel. What happens?
Week 22: Light and Color
*Explain how colors are seen. The colors we see are the wavelengths of light that are reflected off an object. Explain that when light hits something, all wavelengths of the light are absorbed except the one which is the color we see. The reflection of the color we see identify the object as being the particular color.
*Demonstrate the spectrum of light on soap bubbles.
Week 23: Color, Sight & Light
*Demonstrate the separation of colors or chromatography. Use a water-soluble black marker to make a large black dot on a coffee filter. Using a dropper add drops of water to the black dot and observe the changes for a few minutes. The colors that emerge were part of the black pigment and and now beginning to separate out. Note the order the colors emerge. Is this order similar to the color spectrum order?
*Draw and label a diagram of the eye or make a paper model.
Week 24: Light & Sound
*Explain the difference between incandescent light and fluorescent light. The incandescent light is produced by heat. Fluorescent light is produced when ultraviolet rays strike phosphors inside the bulb. The fluorescent tube is filled with phosphors, chemicals which glow when ultraviolet radiation is present
*Vibration must be present if a sound is heard. Have your students touch their throat while speaking or humming. Have them whisper, talk normally and then shout. What is the difference in vibrations?
Week 25: Sound
*wavelength-demonstrate using a long rope. Have a student hold one end of the rope and you take the other end and raise your arm up and then bring it down, creating a wave. Have your students then put the rope on the table in a wave. Have them sketch the wave. Have them add terms such as crest,
trough, wavelength and amplitude to the sketch.
Week 26: Sound
* Teach terms such as frequency, pitch, decibel.
*show how to make sound vibrations with a glass and water.
Week 27: Sound
*sound waves travel at different speeds through different mediums
*Just as light may reflect, so does sound. Discuss acoustics.
Weeks 28 & 29: Sound
*make musical instruments: violin, stringed instruments
*Difference in time between light and sound. Calculate how far away a thunderstorm is by the time elapsed between the lightening and thunder. (Count the seconds difference and divide by 5.)
Week 30: Electricity
Week 31: Electricity
* make an electromagnet

Weeks 32: Weather
Week 33: Weather
Week 34: Weather/Astronomy
Week 35: Astronomy
Week 36: Astronomy
Week 37: Astronomy
Week 38: Astronomy
*Pluto and Kuiper
*Stars and Galaxies/The Two Dippers
Week 39: Astronomy/The Moon, Stars & Consetllations
Week 40: Comets, Asteroids and Meteors, Space Travel


  1. Thank you very much for posting your lesson plans - They are great!
    You make learning sooo much fun!!!!
    Best wishes,

  2. You are quite welcome. I hope you find them useful. Thank you for all your kind words. I think that I find fun projects because I am still a kid too! The plans are still a work in progress!


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