MS Nucleus is developing a complete free science curriculum, and so far all the levels K-6th grade are completed. When you visit their website, click on “Free Access”, and you’ll be able to download all the lesson plans, activities, and worksheets for any level directly to your computer. You can then print out any or all of this information.
MS Nucleus has designed each year of work to cover topics in units of varying lengths: Applied Science, Universe Cycle, Plate Tectonics, Rock Cycle, Water Cycle, and Life Cycle. (Chemistry and physics topics are addressed throughout the curriculum, as appropriate for the context of each unit.) Every unit is sequenced to build on the ones that came before, which is why Life Cycle comes last each year. The underlying idea is that you can’t really understand how life is sustained if you don’t already have some background in understanding the water cycle and the earth sciences, and you understand the earth science topics better with some grounding in understanding the universe cycle, and so on. The applied science topics are designed to demonstrate ways in which science is useful in everyday life.
Overall, the curriculum does seem to be well organized to lead to an understanding of how the various branches of science are interrelated and why they are important. As a big fan of Nebel’s Elementary Education, (a topic for another article, in its own right) I’ve come to really appreciate how meaningful it is to present science in such a way that students can make crucial connections and understand how everything fits together, rather than just teaching random disjointed topics hear and there.
Because the courses are organized in units, however, you can certainly just pick and choose the topics that you want to cover, to fit with other science related activities and interests that you may have. You download the lesson plans and worksheets for each unit individually, so you can easily download and print only the units in which you have the most interest.
Activities are a central component of the program, which is great for elementary science, but it does mean that you will need to gather some materials. The website does sell kits of supplies for each unit, and they are relatively reasonably priced. At this point, however, I plan to use materials that I have locally, and adapt the lessons if I can’t locate something. For instance, one of the lessons has you using hand lenses to observe the characteristics of various specific sea shells. You could easily use the magnifying lenses you have on hand, and then collect items to observe on a nature walk. Especially if you use this program as a supplement to other resources, it won’t matter much if you can’t do each and every lesson exactly as specified.
See also my review of Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, an outstanding k-2 science curriculum at an amazing price.
There are such wonderful, affordable materials available for science these days!If this page was helpful, Stumble it!