Science in a Nutshell - Good Stuff!

My kids are focusing on earth science this year. Science for us is all about reading books about the subject with a generous helping of hands on experimentation. I try very hard to find story books, picture books, and any other book about the subject except nonfiction texts aimed at teaching. Why, oh why do they insist on making these boring books that are just watered down versions of the truly boring texts used in high schools everywhere? Grainy photos of children in outdated clothes only makes my son feel that the entire subject is something from when mom was a kid and not relevant to him. Definitions in bold print only make my daughter cringe at having to memorize something she finds dull. UGH! My kids love nonfiction books that have illustrations and are written conversationally. They love fiction stories that convey facts. When they are very interested in a subject, even the "boring books" are chosen and read, but a new subject that was not their idea had better be interesting if I don't want to waste all our time.

Experimentation if often found everywhere. I love to take real life situations and relate them to our current topics. A hillside worn away by a nearby brook showed my kids the layers of rock accumulated over time. A trip to Cedars of Lebanon State Park was chock full of sink holes, limestone, fossils, and other geological formations. I rarely feel the need to supplement this type of experimentation, but I am so glad I decided to try a couple of kits this year.
Science in a Nutshell Rock Origins Kit

The Science in a Nutshell kits have been wonderful. They are less than forty dollars each, have six to twelve experiments in each that are easy for my elementary kids to do. They have most everything you need except for a few common household items so I don't have to worry about setting up something only to find I forgot a crucial ingredient. This year we are using the Fossil Formations and Rock Origins. Yesterday, my 7yo son and 9yo daughter correctly identified ten mineral samples. I missed two. I got magnetite and hematite switched. They were very pleased!

I'm interested to know if anyone else has tried the other kits. We'll be delving into space soon and I noticed a kit for the moon. Hmmmmmmm.......

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