K, so first the story.... as you can well gather, my brain doesn't come up with creative stuff very easily, and art/science stuff (while I think it's fun and so good for my kids) is just not something that I do all that well. SO! When I saw AIMS (Activities Integrating Math and Science), my heart skipped a beat. Yes, I'm funny like that. However, you have to understand that due to my above handicaps I literally crave some way to have these things make sense to me and thus make it a great experience teaching and showing my children concepts that have alluded me.
The very first of the book includes a Chinese Proverb that means A LOT to our homeschool:
"I Hear and I Forget,
I See and I Remember,
I Do and I Understand."
While I don't necessarily believe that you forget everything you hear, I'm sure you understand the bigger picture of what's being said here. By doing we make connections and learn more than by passively standing back. Involvement makes a big difference!
Anyway, the item that I've had the privilege to review is a manual called "Primarily Magnets." Primarily Magnets is for Grades K-2, is a complete manual for teaching about Magnets/Magnetism, and even comes with a cd that has all of their worksheets in pdf form! (Okay, yes, I'm a little giddy with this last bit. Seriously, it's awesome that I don't have copy individual pages from the book and that I have the option to duplex pages when going straight from my computer, LOVE IT!) The book retails for $18.95, and you can find it to purchase here.
My kids are C R A Z Y for magnets. I picked up a set of magnets at a local book store last year and the kids have huge grins and literally jump every time I get them down. Pulling them out for our lessons on magnets were nonetheless met with much excitement. If you heard screaming and yelling over the last month and couldn't figure out the origins then you were probably hearing them! Needless to say, they enjoyed these lessons and they have learned so much about why magnets work they do (and so have I!) The book starts with an overview of magnets and historical background before even getting to the first concept.
Each of the 19 lessons include many different sections that show a break down of the information being taught beautifully. I wish their preview page was working so that you could see how detailed they are. Yes, even I can teach it! I'll give you an idea of how the first lesson breaks out:
To what will a magnet stick?
-test everyday objects to determine if they are or are not attracted to a magnet,
-sort and graph objects based on whether or not they are magnetic, and
-draw conclusions about what magnetic materials have in common.
Project 2061 Benchmarks
-Without touching them, a magnet pulls on all things made of iron and either pushes or pulls on other magnets.
-Keep records of their investigations and observations.
-Plan and conduct a simple investigation.
-Magnets attract and repel each other and certain kinds of other materials.
Comparing and contrasting
And then from there we get a list of needed materials, background information on magnets relative to the experiment, a "management" section that gives more information on what is needed and where to find it, a procedure section that tells us each step that we're going to take, and finally a section called Connecting Learning that gives questions to help us to figure out what we saw and how it works. For the first lesson this is all literally on the front and back of one piece of paper. It's amazing!
The way I see it is that, especially for those who have to keep detailed records, that this format makes it VERY simple to pinpoint what you're working on in science (and did you see the math worked in there too?!?). Anyway, from my point of view everything is laid out so it's simple to read a lesson and then go about relating that information to my children... which makes me happy!
I know you'll be shocked, but when I asked my children what they thought of our magnet lessons and what I should write about them great bursts of "we loved it!" "they're so fun!" and the like came through. I know, shocking. A couple even asked if we were going to do more RIGHT NOW. *laugh* I certainly can't beat that! I look forward to adding more AIMS products to our collection. And should you not have a set of magnets laying around, all of the items necessary for the experiments can be picked up from AIMS Labs, Kits, & Components section.
If you'd like to see what other crew members are saying about this product feel free to go here.
*As a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Crew I was provided a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review of its content. I have not received any other compensation for the opinions stated here, and they were not promised a positive review.**
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