Staying consistent with science can be a struggle, that’s where a homeschool science supplement comes in handy. Some days you just can’t stick to your plan no matter how much you try. Life happens, there are appointments, sick days, unplanned activities, or you just do not feel up for school.
Our priorities always seem to be math and LA, so science is suffering. That’s why I like having supplemental materials on hand that my son can work from independently.
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This is a post in the series The Dailies from Evan Moor. To read more reviews from this series:
About Evan Moor
Evan Moor is a well-known publisher that has been publishing supplemental materials since 1979. They align their materials to the common standards in a mission to help parents and teachers in their path of educating their children.
Their books are easy to use and implement in any type of setting, and because of the wealth of titles (over 500), there are plenty of options to choose from!
The Dailies are an Evan Moor series that treats multiple subjects like writing, academic vocabulary, fundamentals (language, math, reading), geography, handwriting, higher-order thinking, language review, math practice, paragraph editing, phonics, teacher reproducible, and helpful tools, reading comprehension, science, summer activities, word problems.
As you can see, there are so many options to make sure your children stay on top of reviewing and reinforcing concepts they learned from their main curriculum.
The Daily Series covers grades from 1 to 6 making this a perfect supplemental material into your middle school.
An aspect I love about Evan Moor is that you can choose most books’ formats: PDF or physical and you can see a preview online before you commit to buying a book.
See Inside Daily Science 6 from Evan Moor
Since M is about to finish 5th grade, and he is advanced in science, we requested to review Daily Science Grade 6, which we will be using as a homeschool science supplement.
Evan Moor’s Dailies are structured more or less the same, encouraging kids to work on short lessons, daily! Their notable feature is that they are easy to use and implement every day.
Daily Science 6 covers 6 big ideas (topics) and each topic has 5 weeks of instruction, which makes for a 30-week school year.
The first pages will have detailed instructions on how to effectively use the book in a classroom or home setting.
Moving on, a Big Idea spread opens each topic on 2 pages with teacher background information that will allow you to teach the topic confidently. This is where you will also find the standards covered as well as an overview of the 4 (+1 review) lessons that you will teach in the following weeks.
The Answer Key section is condensed at the end of the book.
Science Topics Covered
This book covers multiple science subjects, notably biology, earth science, and physical sciences.
You can see a preview of this book on Evan Moor’s website, but I will make a quick list of the 6 topics covered:
- Extinction and survival
Topics- Big Ideas
The topics (Big Ideas) are covered in 5 weeks. They are presented as questions at the beginning of each week. Every day, for 5 days, children will work on finding the answer to that week’s question.
By answering these questions, children will find the information that allows them to understand the main concept.
Each Big Idea has a hands-on experiment that is easy to do, with supplies you already have at home.
The 6 experiments included in this book are: DNA, blubber, Coriolis force, tectonic plates, electrolysis, microwaves.
Every week, there’s a quick overview of the teacher’s instructions and daily activities for kids.
I love this format because it allows for critical thinking and it’s offering the kids the opportunity to discover the answers to the question themselves.
This pattern remains the same for the rest of the book so it’s easy to fall into a routine of teaching and working from this book.
Each day slowly builds knowledge so by the end of the week, on day 5, children will be able to answer that week’s Big Idea question.
Day 5 is a review for the previous 4 days.
Throughout the book, you can also find Talk sections which are great for opening up conversations on the topic each week.
Some activities examples:
- fill in the blanks
- short answers
- compare and contrast
- vocabulary words
- choose the right answer
At the end of each Big Idea, you will have 6 Unit reviews.
These are multiple-choice questions and activities where kids need to analyze the information. They also have puzzles and an experiment included.
To keep track, you can use the Dailies checklists!
We made ours into a bookmark (by folding and sticking the halves together) that will help us keep track of what we’re doing. We chose to round their edges with a Crop-a-Dile Corner Chomper and they look very cute!
Benefits of Using Daily Science from Evan Moor
As I’ve noted at the beginning of this article, Daily Science 6 will be our companion to whatever science we will choose for 6th. I hope to use it to enrich our science and to spark new conversations with M about some topics by using their Talk sections.
Even though Daily Science Grade 6 is a homeschool science supplement, not a full curriculum, I love it for several reasons:
🔎Teaches children to ask questions
Asking questions is very important (please read the article linked!) in science and beyond. Understanding a concept doesn’t just happen with information and that’s a downfall of many science curricula nowadays.
“It is easier to judge the mind of a man by his questions rather than his answers.”—Pierre-Marc-Gaston, duc de Lévis (1764–1830)
The school has automated science (and not only) to fit a mold, to complete some checklists and move on, where teachers just provide children with the information and directly tell them what’s right and wrong, what’s possible and not possible. Do you see where I am leading you?
Science is exploration! It needs to start by identifying a need, a problem, or a curiosity. When your child runs into a good question, don’t answer it for them, wonder about it yourself, as if you didn’t know the answer, and offer to help them find it out.
Then go ahead and try to find ways to answer it. Explore and experiment, read and watch documentaries and gather different points of view before reaching a definite conclusion.
Asking the right questions helps understand and organize information and it takes practice! I feel that Evan Moor’s Daily Science offers the perfect opportunity to practice the skill of question-asking.
Each big idea is built upon in a series of 5 questions. Kids will use their activities and information provided to think about the question and provide answers.
We haven’t finished Daily Science 6 yet, but even from the first lesson, the questions they ask captivated M. and the discussion opportunities have been a great way to give him the chance to tell me what he feels about a certain matter and voice his concerns or excitement about the subject.
I noticed that there are many discussion topics throughout the book, offering ample opportunity to discuss, predict, infer and hypothesize with your child. You can sample more of them in my YouTube video – or scroll to see it embedded below.
We go about these discussion opportunitied like this: I will model to him how I think about a scientific question and let him explain to me the conclusions he draws. I also try to come up with a different (opposing) view and discuss that, as well. We give scientific examples when possible and differentiate between fact and opinion.
This opens the world of scientific exploration through the scientific method and also offers us the chance to dig deeper and initiate more research on the matter.
🔎Analyzing data and science literacy
This workbook’s format encourages kids to analyze graphs and data. It’s something you don’t see often in regular textbooks, and something I appreciate about it.
I know that many of us don’t know how to reinforce science literacy (the ability to understand and analyze data).
Science literacy is important in any field, including in daily decision-making. Not merely reading and understanding what you read, but knowing how to apply that knowledge further down the line are important.
That’s another reason why I think you should use it to enrich your current science curriculum, especially if your curriculum of choice isn’t focusing on these.
🔎Science vocabulary and comprehension
Daily Science series explains the vocabulary, the use of scientific terms, and helps you ask comprehension questions to your students. It’s asking them to make connections with what they already know and draw their own conclusions. This is how they can become accustomed to thinking critically.
Daily Science is built in a logical, easy-to-follow format. This makes it great for independent use, but please note that by using the book together you can greatly increase its value.
While lower elementary children need help, the older elementary and middle schoolers can tackle even the experiments on their own.
🔎Review and revisit concepts
Daily Science lessons are great for a quick review of the concepts previously taught from your curriculum. You could also use it to evaluate advanced kids and see where they could stop and study more on some concepts.
This year, for 5th grade, we are using a general science curriculum from Macmillan/McGraw Hill called California Science 5.
While I like the format of this curriculum, M is getting extremely bored with it because he already knows most of the concepts. Evan Moor‘s Daily Science helps break the monotonous lessons and instead of merely feeding him information, it’s encouraging him to think more.
For next year, we will opt for a specialized science, and we will use Daily Science 6 to go through the general science again. Who knows, maybe M will discover new branches to explore in science.
Because of how it’s structured, Daily Science will fit in with any science curriculum.
Some benefits to most of Evan moor’s books:
- affordable– because they offer pdf or printed options, you can choose the one that suits your budget.
- most of them are black and white so they can be printed quickly and cheaply.
- they have beautiful illustrations that children can color – M isn’t much of an artsy person, but he enjoys coloring the illustrations from Evan Moor’s books.
How we use this homeschool science supplement every day:
Since M is advanced in science, he will not like dwelling for too long on science concepts he knows. But these short and sweet lessons might be just the thing he needs for the next year to review and deepen some concepts.
He will be probably taking high school physics in 6th grade, so by using Evan Moor’s Daily Science 6, I am making sure that he also knows what’s being covered at a 6th-grade level without actually doing 2 science curricula at the same time.
We will use Daily Science 6 as a point to spark questions and further research even in the science areas that he isn’t invested in, like environmental science, earth science, and biology.
It’s hard to find a fault in these lovely supplemental books, but from our point of view, they might be too easy for some children. If that’s the case, just look for their upper levels or use them as a launch point into further exploration.
For those of you that prefer videos, or want to see a flip through Daily Science 6:
Evan Moor’s Daily science grade 6 is a perfect homeschool science supplement for families that are looking for enrichment materials to add to their main science curricula.
It’s also great for families with children that are advanced in science and are planning to skip several grades ahead, just to make sure they have it all covered in big lines.
And it’s perfect for your science-reluctant kids because of its format and simplicity. It won’t overwhelm you or your children and it’s easy to stay consistent with this format.
You can just do the bare minimum in terms of requirement or you can go all out and enrich this by encouraging further research and going as in-depth as you wish.
I love Daily Science 6 because :
- it’s made in an easy to follow format
- opens a world of questions and how to ask them correctly
- offers the kids a way to express their views on important matters
- the lessons are short
- there’s a lot of scientific vocabulary explained
- focuses on critical thinking
Over to You
So what’s your take on science? Do you have time to do it as often as you’d like? Do you encourage kids to ask questions and find a solution on their own? Or do you prefer to have everything ready and just feed them the information?
Let me know in the comments. I’d be happy to talk about it.
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