One of the things I love the most about the Earth Party curriculum and teaching the online class is being sensitized to the living world around me.
Why did I write this curriculum?
My daughter attended an elementary school where year after year, they covered life cycles….butterflies, birds, fish, tadpoles, etc. I wondered, why do they keep going over the same material and not digging deeper to explore the amazing life out there, and how forms are similar and different from each other?
The Earth Party curriculum takes a kingdoms approach where students in grades 1-6 learn about each of the 5 kingdoms: Bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Surprisingly, many student’s favorite kingdom is fungi, which includes mushrooms, molds, and yeast. These organisms decompose life and return nutrients back to the soil.
Even as I teach students in my online Earth Party classes, I am so amazed by what young students know!
New Species Discovery
In the curriculum, during the last two weeks students explore new species that are discovered. This is always a lot of fun! Watch this short video segment below to find out more about this major discovery of a deep water coral variety in pristine condition. Here is a link to a New York Times article to learn more!
Stories Revealing a Interconnected and Changing Planet
The flip side of discovering new species are the species whose numbers are declining, largely due to loss of habitat. This CNN story recently caught my eye. Manatees in Florida are dying in large numbers because of lack of food. Researchers have figured out feeding them lettuce will fill their stomachs, and stableize their numbers, and prevent a more major die off. Last year alone, 1,000 manatees died due to starvation. In the curriculum, as we talk about animals, we talk about how they have different diets, and how interconnected the kingdoms of life really are. If our oceans are not healthy, our manatees are hungry. A knowledge of all the kingdoms and how interrelated they are is very important to understand the bigger picture.
Do you like to get out to see life forms?
One of the options for the curriculum culminating Cross-Chapter Exploration Project is to go on a Scavenger Hunt to see how many forms a student can find. What better place to find animal life than a zoo? For those homeschool families in the Southern California area, consider visiting Big Bear Alpine Zoo! Here is a link to a video homeschool blogger Xuan Kleveka created showing what families can see if they tour this small zoo. On her site she has many wonderful Southern California outdoor field trips where homeschoolers can see more of the kingdoms of life, including the animal kingdom!
How does the Earth Party curriculum work?
The curriculum books include a Teacher and Student Book, and are set-up for 12-week pacing. The Teacher Book includes all the answers. The Student Book contains activity sheets as well as reading comprehension questions which track with the weekly reading. The curriculum uses the following three books: Karl, Get Out of the Garden!, The Tree of Life, and the Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia. In our store, we sell the curriculum plus the book boxes together!
If you are looking for some help guiding your student through the material, take our Earth Party online section. At a 12-week long semester, we make it through all of the curriculum; I assign and grade all student work.
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