Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TOS Review: The Curiosity Files - Red Tides

Let me introduce you to Professor Ana Lyze. She is a researcher in the obscure, abnormal and the bizarre. She also happens to be a character in The Old Schoolhouse unit study series that I had the opportunity to review this month: The Curiosity Files. This amazing professor has a unique way of piquing your interests in subjects you might not otherwise think about studying. So far the series has covered all of these fascinating topics:
We had the privilege of sampling the unit on Red Tides. I was immediately captured by how visually appealing the unit was. It was colorful, had interesting photos, and the font was really easy to read. The writing style was captivating and it did not take long before Gess and myself were both eager to learn more about these pesky red tides. I was truly amazed at how easily we were able to touch on every subject of study by simply accompanying Professor Ana Lyze on her adventure.

In each of The Curiosity Files unit studies you cover all areas of education. They advertise the following categories on their website and I can assure you that each of these topics are present and accounted for.
  • Bible study and memory verses
  • Math, history, and geography investigations
  • Literature and suggested book list
  • Writing, spelling, and vocabulary activities
  • Beautiful copy-work pages (manuscript and cursive)
  • Science observations, projects, and experiments
  • Discussion questions
  • Art, crafts, drawing, and coloring pages
  • The Curiosity Fact Files collectors card and booklet
  • Internet resources and video links
  • Complete answer key
What's so incredible about this study is that it not only covers these topics, but it makes them such a part of the mystery that you hardly feel as if you are studying at all. They have something for every age group and level of learning. Math offers anything from learning the basics of the metric system to calculating percentages in order to determine the impact of an algal bloom (red tide). You can complete a scientific research paper or simply do some copy work. The lab offers a variety of options including one specifically designed for children with special needs.

Of course since I do focus my blog on special needs I was excited to see how easily it was to adapt this unit for Gess. I simply divided the vocabulary words into two groups and did one list each week instead of addressing them all at once. I also went through the review questions and deleted ones I felt were too difficult for Gess. However, I was pleased that there were several multiple choice and relevant questions that we were able to use.

We started by reading the study together on the computer. (I am too cheap to print the E-books we use!)

We then began to learn the vocabulary words. We would read a section from the book each day and then just study one or two definitions at at time. By the end of the week she had a good grasp on the basics of algal blooms (red tides).

For spelling words I simply pulled out words that were more on Gess' level. Instead of having her spell phytoplankton, we spelled words like toxin. However, there was one worksheet that had three spellings of the tough vocabulary words and you had to circle the correct one. I used that to help Gess at least be able to identify them correctly, even if she could not spell them on her own.

Her copy work consisted of writing bible verses about how God created the seas and all that live in them. This carried us over into our bible study which focused on creation, emphasizing what day God made the water and the creatures that live in it.

We then delved into math and learned a lot about the metric system. I was extremely happy to see that our study already presented it in a way that was very hands on and visual. The only thing I had to do to adapt the study for Gess was to give her an introduction to the metric system since we had never studied it before. In my post The Curiosity Files and The Metric System I go into great detail about those adaptations as well as show their illustrations in practice. Here is Gess using The Curiosity Files demonstration of the difference between a Kilogram, Gram and Milligram.

We of course did not write the essays, but we had a lot of fun playing the adjective game! This game has actually been more beneficial in helping Gess to understand these "descriptive" terms than anything else I have tried so far! You can read more about the game and other tools I used for learning adjectives by reading my last post Adjectives and The Curiosity Files.

We did a whole lot more in this study and had a fun time doing it! For those of you curious enough to want to find out more, I would certainly recommend you getting a copy for yourself. I think you will enjoy learning about these obscure topics as much as we did! You can find them at The Old Schoolhouse Store online. You can purchase them individually or in a bundle pack. The Red Tides book is currently on sale for only $1! That's 86% off the cover price! I am not sure how long that sale is going on so you might want to check it out soon.

Needless to say, by the end of the unit Gess was able to answer all of the questions from the "Let's See What You Learned" section correctly. She really did learn a lot in this study and the best part is she had fun doing it!

As for the lab work, it has been awfully rainy around here lately so we have yet to get to the lake to get a sample of "pond" water for the "Red Tides Special Needs Lesson." However we are hoping to be able to do that this weekend. I know Gess is really looking forward to seeing some algae in action!

I think next we are going to study their latest addition to The Curiosity Files: Platypus! I can't wait to see what they have hidden for us in there!


Heidi said...

What a wonderful review! I'm so glad you were able to use the study with your daughter and that she learned from it. :)

Franchise Opportunit said...

Girl looking so Hardworking:) Nice and well Written post!

Dana S. Chisholm said...

I just bought the book and I'm disappointed. I live in San Diego and we are having a Red Tide right now - we have them pretty routinely. While the book was factual for possibly other parts of the world, it failed to touch on the truly AMAZING creation of God. The Red Tides are not just "pesky" - and not very dangerous here and not killing tons of fish - they are GORGEOUS! At night they glow neon blue when the waves crash - the book failed to mention why that happens, or experiments you can do with the water at night...did I miss those? Put the water in a jar and shake it up at night - it glows brighter than a lightening bug! God made that! Why does it glow? What happens if you add Baking Soda or Baking Powder? Why? How about some pictures of the AMAZING neon Red Tide at night? God is an amazing artist. I'm disappointed in the missed opportunity of pointing out the artistry and only focus on the death and danger. If you want to see God's amazing creativity, Google the San Diego Red Tide 2011 - there are several video's and pictures posted. Maybe a little revision in the book to include the gorgeous and God's creativety?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...