Home School Life Journal

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

Elementary Biology (grades 1-4)

Weeks 1-6: Classification in Biology

  1. Learn about the five different kingdoms: (links to activities below) by making a Pasta Dichotomous Key.
  2. Monera
  3. Protista
  4. Fungi
  5. Animalia Classification of the Animal Kingdom. The two basic divisions are, of course, between the Invertebrates (without backbones) and the Vertebrates (with backbones.) Learn the divisions among the Vertebrates: Fish, Birds, Mammals, Reptiles. Amphibians
  6. Plantae


7-10: Plant Kingdom

  1. Plants are food producers. They take the sun's energy and convert it to food. Teach the process of photosynthesis.
  2. Have your student draw and label a diagram explaining photosynthesis.
  3. Obtain resources that explain the parts of plants and leaves and their functions.
  4. Have your student label the parts of a plant in his science journal and explain the function of each part.
  5. Read about Carolus Linnaeus. He was a botanist who established the current method of scientifically naming plants and animals using two Latin words. Have your student write a one-paragraph biography of Linnaeus.
  6. Obtain a flower that the student can dissect. Find a diagram of a flower and have the student carefully take apart the actual flower and find each part labeled in the diagram.
  7. Flowers produce seeds. Their beautiful colors often attract the birds or insects needed to carry out reproduction. Read about the process of plant reproduction. Have your student draw and label a diagram of plant reproduction in his science journal.
  8. If seeds dropped and grew only below the parent plant, only one species would grow in a small area. Fortunately seeds get around in many ways, resulting in a great plant diversity all over the world. Read about seed dispersal.
  9. People spread seeds. Plant some seeds in a small pot and observe their growth over several months. Have your student keep a record of how he cares for the plants, including watering, feeding and light exposure. Have him also keep a record of plant height and changes.
  10. Seeds travel by wind and water. Maple seeds are shaped to ride on the wind a great distance from the parent tree. Dandelion seeds are extremely light weight and also ride on the wind. Other seeds are carried by water, such as coconuts. 
  11. Seeds are carried by animals. Sandburs cling to the fur of animals as they travel to different locations. Other seeds are sticky. Some fruit seeds are not digested and are transferred when an animal eliminates in a different location. Birds often do this.
Week 11: Testing and Introduction to Zoology
  1. Testing: Have the student draw a diagram and explain how flowers produce seeds.
  2. What is Zoology? Read resources on what zoology is. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 1 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)

Week 12: Introduction to Sea Creatures: Fish

  1. Get resources about swimming creatures and begin reading and discussing the information learned. (Exploring Creation with Zoology II, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 1 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  2. Pour one cup of distilled water into a glass bowl. Gently lower a fresh egg into the water. Have the student draw/describe is observations. Next pour a cup of water in a glass bowl and stir in two tablespoons of salt until dissolved. Ask your student to make a hypothesis for what will happen when a fresh eff is lowered into the salt water, and then do so. Have the student draw/describe is observations. Ask him to  predict what will happen is another tablespoon is added, and then have him do so. Have the student write about the connection to a large fish or mammal swimming in salt water as opposed to fresh water.
  3. Learn about fish. Get resources about swimming creatures and begin reading and discussing the information learned. (Exploring Creation with Zoology II, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 6 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  4. Have your student draw a sketch of a fish in his science journal. Label the following parts: gills, mouth, eye, nostril, fins, backbone.
  5. Field Trip:  Visit a fish market.
Weeks 13-15: Sea Creatures
  1. Read about seahorses.
  2. Read about Starfish, Sea Urchins, Sand Dollars and other Echinoderms and have your student sketch and write about what he has learned in his science notebook. (Exploring Creation with Zoology II, by Jeannie Fulbright is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  3. Read about Jellyfish and other Cnidarians and have your student report in his science journal what he has learned. (Exploring Creation with Zoology II, by Jeannie Fulbright is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  4. Learn about the mammals that live in the sea, such as whales, seals and sea cows. Get resources about swimming creatures and begin reading and discussing the information learned. (Exploring Creation with Zoology Ii, by Jeannie Fulbright is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  5. Have your student research and find the names and lengths of whales, listing them from shortest to longest in his science journal. Make a graph comparing the lengths of several whales. On the sidewalk, measure the length of the blue whale and make a chalk line to indicate. 
  6. Eskimos depend on whales to survive. They have learned to use every part of the whale's body with no waste. Read about how the Eskimos catch and use whales.
  7. Long ago people believed that there were sea monsters that performed terrifying acts such as swallowing entire ships or causing violent waves that overturned ships. Using a large sea creature's description, have the student write a sea monster story.
  8. Vocabulary: warm-blooded, cold-blooded, baleen, mollusk, fish, reptiles, mammals, and crustaceans.
  9. Learn about sea turtles. Get resources about swimming creatures and begin reading and discussing the information learned. (Exploring Creation with Zoology Ii, by Jeannie Fulbright is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.) Compare land or freshwater turtles to sea turtles. 
  10. Some ocean animals can also live on land. Seals, sea lions and walruses are fine swimmers, but when they live on land, they must walk. Discuss the difficulty these animals must face on land.
  11. Learn about sharks and rays and have your student report what he learns in his science journal.  (Exploring Creation with Zoology II, chapter 7 by Jeannie Fulbright is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  12. Learn about Crustaceans and have your student report what he learns in his science journal.  (Exploring Creation with Zoology II, chapter 8 by Jeannie Fulbright is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
Week 16: Shells and Sea Creatures
  1. Read about a large variety of shells in the ocean. What is the purpose of the hard shell? (Exploring Creation with Zoology II, chapter 7 by Jeannie Fulbright is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  2. Begin a sea shell collection and research the name of each one.
  3. Field Trip: Visit an aquarium, zoo, coast area or pet store to observe sea animals. 
  4. Read about any other interesting aquatic animals you have not studied yet, such as sponges. (Exploring Creation with Zoology II, by Jeannie Fulbright is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  5. Have a seafood tasting party. Look for interesting recipes.
Week 17: Introduction to Birds
  1. vocabulary: migration, ornithologist, habitat, bird of prey
  2. Go on nature walks to locate birds. Begin a life list of birds you have seen. Go to as many of the seven different North American bird habitats: urban, forest and woodland, grassland, brush, desert, inland waters and marshes and seacoasts. Make sure you note the habitat when you make nature journal pages about the birds observed. Also make note of the bird's habits, where he was seen (in a tree, on a window ledge, etc.) and how he moves. Sketch a close up of the bird's beak and feet.
  3. What Makes a Bird a Bird?  Read about birds and discuss what is common to all birds and what features distinguish different birds from what was read and observed about birds. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 2 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  4. Some birds migrate. Discuss the reason that some birds move away seasonally and some remain all year.
Week 18: The Bird's Body
  1. Have the student sketch and write in his journal a description of the different bills or beaks the birds have. Explain the special uses of different bills.
  2. Have the student sketch and write in his journal a description of the different feet and legs the birds have. Explain the special uses of different feet and legs.
  3. Observe a bird's feather. Notice the interlocking strands. Notice how the feather can only be smoothed in one direction. Drop water on the feather. How does the water react? Have your student draw a detailed picture of a single feather in his science journal. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 3 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  4. Read about and discuss the functions of feathers (flying, regulation of temperature, protection, attraction to mate, etc.) (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 4 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
Weeks 19 and 20: Bird's Behavior
  1. Read about what birds eat. Are there foods not available to birds in cold weather? Make or buy and fill a birdfeeder and place it in a place that you can observe the birds from inside the house.
  2. What are birds of prey and why aren't they coming to the feeder?
  3. Read about how a bird flies. What about a bird's flight does an engineer copy when designing airplanes?
  4. Why do birds sing? On your next nature walk, note the variety of calls and songs. Try to learn the songs of the birds that frequent your neighborhood.
  5. Research and discuss bird nesting habits. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 5 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
  6. Construct or buy a bird house and put it up. Record the date you put out the birdhouse. Predict when you will see birds move in. Keep account of any bird activity in the birdhouse.
  7. Matching and Hatching. Research and discuss how birds pair off, lay and hatch eggs. (Exploring Creation with Zoology I, by Jeannie Fulbright, chapter 6 is one such resource, or you may find books at the library.)
Week 21: Finishing Up Bird Study
  1. Discuss ways in which birds are useful to people (food, insect control, pollination, and feathers). What are some problems that birds may cause to people?
  2. Field Trip: Arrange to go to a nature center, zoo, pet shop or other place that has someone who knows a lot about birds. Learn about the various kinds of birds, their origins, care and feeding and special training. Have your student write in his science journal about what he has learned.
  3. Have your student write a thank you letter to the person you visited on the field trip. Include in the letter what he learned on the visit.
  4. Write about pet bird care in your science journal.

Weeks 22 and 23: Biomes
  1. Write a description of your environment. What are the biotic and abiotic factors in your environment?
  2. Each biome or ecosystem is a beautifully balanced web of interconnected life. Research about the desert biome and study the lifeforms found there. Have your student list some of the animals that live there in his science journal. Have him list some of the plants that live there. In his science journal, have him describe in writing the climate of the desert and how it affects the types of plants and animals living there.
  3. Read about the rainforest biome. What plants and animals are found there?
  4. Read about the Dust Bowl of the Great Plains states.
  5. Read about the forest biome. What plants and animals are found there?
  6. Read about the grassland biome. What plants and animals are found there?
  7. Draw a prairie food web.
  8. Read about the pond biome. What plants and animals are found there? Make a list of the animals that live on the surface, mid-depth and those who live as bottom dwellers.
  9. Study a drop of pond water under a microscope and identify what you see.
Week 24: Soil
  1. Compose a letter to a state or local soil conservation service, requesting information about the soils of your state or area.
  2. In a plastic bag, collect soil samples from three different locations. Label the bag with the date and location. Bring the samples inside and study them. Have your student save them in his science journal.
  3. Research the concept of soil management. Discuss and describe the attributes of healthy soil. Read about composting as a way to create rich soil. Start a compost pile.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder of the pasta sorting.

    ReplyDelete

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