Most of my kids are not really into science activities. They would much rather read a textbook, complete worksheets, or watch science videos.
Recently, though, Collin has taken an interest in what I would call creative science activities. (One of his coolest projects was a lamp made from a can of oil-packed tuna with a paper towel wick.) So when I handed him this new book, he was ready to go!
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Homeschool Science Activities for Kids
From the moment I picked up the book Air Is Not Oxygen: Essential Science You Should Have Learned … But Probably Didn’t!, I was intrigued. Like my kids, I love to learn by reading, so I was immediately drawn to the engaging conversational style of the book.
The book presents scientific concepts in a clear and simple way to make them easily understandable. The author, Bill Morelan, points out that once students have a strong understanding of basic science, they have an excellent foundation for comprehending more advanced concepts.
Air Is Not Oxygen contains 27 chapters with topics related to physical science, life science, earth and space science, and scientific methods. The focus is on understanding scientific concepts rather than memorizing facts. Two thumbs up!
Each 4-page chapter covers one basic scientific concept, such as magnetism, ecosystems, or fossils. And this isn’t just dry textbook reading – it’s conversational and even humorous!
Chapters are divided into 6 sections:
- Preview – a short activity to grab the child’s interest
- Essential Concepts – the basic facts that are needed to understand the concept being presented
- Have Some Fun! – a simple activity to demonstrate the concept using basic household items
- Have Some MORE Fun! – 2 bonus activities to expand on the topic being covered
- National Standards – a short section referencing national standards that are covered in the chapter
- What You Learned – a concise review of the facts presented within the chapter
Our Favorite Homeschool Science Activities
I handed Collin the book and suggested that he choose a few science activities to do. After browsing through the book, he found several that especially interested him.
The first activity focused on sound (page 39 in Air Is Not Science). Collin filled 4 clear jars with varying amounts of water. When he tapped the jars with a spoon, we could hear a difference in the sound of the jars.
I remembered this activity from my own childhood, but I never really knew WHY there was a difference. Together Collin and I learned from the book that less water vibrates more slowly, producing a lower sound, while more water vibrates more quickly and produces a higher sound.
Collin also asked to do the heat activity (page 31 in Air Is Not Oxygen). This activity demonstrated the concept of conduction.
I will tell you that we used a lot more butter than we should have, which made it a much longer process than it would have been. But the younger kids were quite impressed – and I was happy that I could tell them WHY the butter melted most quickly on the metal spoon!
Collin was also very interested in the electricity activity on page 23 of Air Is Not Oxygen. We need to purchase a few supplies for that one, but I know it will be very worthwhile.
One of the things I really loved about this book is that so many of my kids were able to enjoy the activities and to learn something from them. I also appreciated the flexibility of the book. We were able to skip around and choose activities that interested us without completing prior chapters first.
If you are looking for simple science activities that are easy to do at home, I don’t think you can go wrong with Air Is Not Oxygen. Which activity will YOUR kids ask to do first?