Winter the Dolphin, our first Science unit!

Posted by  | Tuesday, October 11, 2011  at 10:09 PM  
Last year as I began to plan our homeschool year, science was one area that I struggled with what to do. Mainly for two reasons...

1. I knew it was not absolutely necessary at this age and I didn't want to spend money on it.
2. Yet, I knew that Will and I both would love it.

I opted to not purchase any set science curriculum and just go with whatever for this year. I did purchase a few books that Sonlight uses in their science curriculum. I planned to use those to base some unit studies off of. For example, the first one Will chose was this Usborne book, Under the Sea.

Under the Sea: Internet Referenced (Beginners Nature - New Format, Level 1)

(All of the science books I ordered were Usborne books and I really love them.) So, we read the first few sections on different sea life. I let Will chose which creature he wanted to explore more...dolphins or sharks. He chose dolphins! (Though asked that we do sharks next. :)

Next, I started looking for more dolphin resources. My goal for each unit we do is to include:

1. At least one "experiment" where he begans to understand basic scientific principles, inquiry based investigations and basic data collection.
2. A lapbook where he can showcase what he has learned about that topic.
3. A few books in addition to our main Usborne book. I'm trying to include some readers that Will can read too in this so he's practicing his reading.
4. Any appropriate fieldtrips to local places that may reinforce what he's learned. (Day trip to the beach?? :)

After I started planning our dolphin unit, I realized that this is PERFECT timing because of the movie, Dolphin Tale!! I learned that the movie is based on the story in the book, Winter's Tail.

Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again

This was the reader I found that Will could read part of himself. He liked this book too:

National Geographic Readers: Dolphins


I have since found a wealth of lesson plan ideas about the book, Winter's Tail.

Winter's Tail site
Winter at Scholastic
Homeschool Movie Club Dolphin Tale Curriculum (AWESOME!)

I have found PLENTY to build a solid unit around dolphins. We have done the most from the Homeschool Movie Club curriculum, including our "experiment" where we investigated sinking and floating. We've also played games at the other sites. Probably my favorite was the live webcam we found!! We got to watch Winter and friends at the Clearwater Aquarium via live webcam.

Here is a live shot I took while we watched. We think this Dolphin was Winter, though it was difficult to tell.

We still have to finish our Dolphin lapbook and of course, go see the movie! Stay tuned for pics of the lapbook. So far Will is loving science! Almost as much as I do! :)

1 comment:

MACMAN said...

Yes, you need to make science fun for the kids, and winter the dolphin definitely helps. Maybe one day you will take your children swimming with the dolphins and really get hands on experience with the dolphins. That will be priceless!

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