Science Year in Review 2015-2016

Today I’m going to talk about the science units we covered in our homeschool this year AND what we didn’t get to because we ran out of time!!!  My plans are always a bit more ambitious than what we actually cover, but even so it felt like we accomplished a lot! 🙂

This year the kids were in Grades 2, 5 and 7, but below you’ll also find some resources I put together for early elementary as well. We do our science units together, though as you’ll see below there are times when I do portions of the unit that are specifically for my older or younger kids.

Then at the bottom of the post (and related to science so I’ll include it here!), I started dabbling in putting short videos together.  I learned SO much about video editing (and getting brave enough to be in front of the camera!!).  More about that at the end of this post! 🙂

So first our science units this year:

 Science Units: Year in Review 2015-2016

Chemistry Unit

Last fall we started off with a unit on chemistry. We used several books and a DVD series as the spine of this unit. The kids learned about many of the great scientists, whose work led to great advances in the understanding of chemistry.


Bohr-Diagram-Practice-SheetsChemistry for Grade 2: My youngest used different materials during our unit last fall. She read through Real Science-4-Kids Chemistry pre-Level I (affiliate link) and did a number of related experiments. ED was 7 and in Grade 2. The posts below share the experiments we did… and there’s a free Chemistry Experiment Packet pdf that you can download and print out:


Here are some Chemistry Posts from when we covered chemistry a couple of years ago:



Animal Unit

Before we launched into a study of the biosphere, we did a unit on animals — focusing on the animal classification, animal characteristics, and the 5 animal groups. We also went over the invertebrate groups and spent time talking about insects vs. spiders again. Finally, we also talked about domesticated vs. wild animals and did some activities about animal tracks (which was especially fun because it was winter and we were able to find a lot of different animal tracks in the snow!

You can find out more about our animal unit here:


Earth’s Four Systems: Atmosphere, Geosphere (Earth Science Unit), Biosphere, HydrosphereAfter our chemistry unit, we spent time talking about Earth’s 4 Systems.  These are the free notebook pages going over the 4 major Earth systems:4-Major-Earth-Systems-Biosphere-Atmosphere-Geosphere-HydrosphereLast year, we spent a lot of time studying Earth Science:50+ Page Earth Science PacketAnd a couple of years we went over the atmosphere – the layers of the atmosphere, air, etc. (and did some fun hands-on experiments about air — that air has weight, hot air rises and more):EarthSciencePacket-EarthsAtmosphereThis year we studied the other two major Earth Systems in depth:

  • The Biosphere
  • The Hydrosphere (i.e., the Ocean!)

Biology Unit – Biosphere – Biomes, Habitats

We then went on to study the Biosphere. We started by talking about the different climate zones and spent a lot of time talking about the different biomes. In the past, we spent a lot of time on the animals and plants so this time around we focused a lot more on the abiotic factors (the soil, climate, and non-biological features of each of the biomes).Another topic we had never covered before were the various Biological Interactions:. The kids were really fascinated by this portion of the unit!Biological-Interactions-Worksheets We also went over the food chain, food web, feeding relationships (herbivores, carnivores, detritivores, etc.), the energy pyramid and other things.

You can find out more about our Biology Unit (the Biosphere) here.

Ocean Unit

This was such a fun unit to put together! I spent nearly 6 months putting this curriculum together for the kids. We then spent about six or seven weeks on this unit.. and we all learned so much!! I kept adding in more and more… and the packet wound up being close to 80 pages in the end!!

We did a ton of hands-on activities. I think the highlights were learning about the tides–not just the daily tides but the monthly spring and neap tides as well) and the salinity experiments. We talked a lot about some of the history of ocean navigation and the kids *really* had fun with the ocean depth activity for finding the features of the ocean floor. (DD asked me to set up the blanket to do this activity again recently!!)


You can find out more about our Ocean Packet here (all our hands-on activities are included in the packet as well):


Marine Habitats:

Marine-Habitat-Worksheets-CardsWater Form Words:

Water-Form-WordsFeatures of the Ocean Floor (and activity ideas):

Features-of-the-Ocean-Floor-WorksheetsEarly Navigation: (and activity ideas)


Salinity: Ocean-Unit-Salinity-Activities

Ocean Tides and Currents (and activity ideas):What-causes-tides-spring-neap-tides-and-phases-of-the-moon-worksheetsOcean Life: Special Body Features, Body Shape and MovementFish-Body-Shape-Features-WorksheetsBioluminescence:Bioluminescence-WorksheetsOcean Zones: Layers of the Ocean



Simple Machines

It has been a couple years since we did our Simple Machines unit. We all spent a couple of days reviewing the six types of Simple Machines: Simple-Machine-Worksheets

This spring I also started putting together a series of videos. This Simple Machines was one of our one minute videos. 🙂

Cell Unit

We also spent some time going over the organelles of the cells (that was from our Cell Unit last year).  ED and I spent several days reading April Terrazas’s book Cellular Biology: Organelles, Structure, Function  (affiliate link) again. It is very effective for learning (and reviewing!!) the functions of the organelles (though it might feel too simplistic if you have older kids).  I personally think highly of the book and even had DD and LD read it daily for several days. 🙂

You can find out more about last year’s cell unit here.  This year we didn’t go into detail about how proteins form and some of the things we went over last year. I’ll need to go over that next year again. 🙂

Animal and Plant Cell Worksheets

Science Topics: Early Elementary

One of my goals this year was to put together a list of science topics we covered when the kids were roughly ages 4 to 6.  I put together a video as well as a checklist with links to the various science topics we covered in those early elementary years!

Free Early Elementary Science Checklist:


Now what we didn’t get to this year…

Human Body Units

Usually we try to cover one of the human body systems, but this year we ran out of time!!  So, now you know exactly what we’ll start with next fall!! :)Normally, I like to start with a review of the Human Body Systems and then spend time focusing in depth on one of the body systems.

HumanBodyWorksheets-Cells-Tissues-Organs-SystemsLast year we did the Skeletal System and the year before we did the Digestive System.

Digestive-System-UnitThis next fall we’ll hopefully do the circulatory system and muscular system. I have the beginnings of our packets, but will be adding to them this summer. 🙂

Circulatory System PacketMuscularSystemWorksheets

Natural Disaster Unit:

We also ran out of time for the Natural Disasters Unit I was hoping to do with ED.  We’ll probably cover that sometime next fall as well, but I shared the Natural Disasters Packet I made just a few days ago.  It’s currently FREE to download. 🙂 I’ll probably add to it when we actually get to this unit.


This summer we have a Travel Log book that we’ll be using as we do a long trip out west. (I’ll be sharing this free 40 page packet of materials on May 25th)USA-Road-Trip-Travel-Log-PacketWe’ll be studying various topics along the way such as clouds (I actually shared our Cloud worksheets  already here, if you’re interested!)Free-Cloud-Worksheets

3 Types of Rocks – We’ll also be visiting some really amazing geology features this summer, so we’ll be looking for examples of the three types of rocks (and noting it in our Rock Log)  this summer!

 Rock-LogWe have other materials on Rocks and Minerals here and have a more complete set of worksheets about the three types of rocks here (the page above is just a log for marking down the kinds of rocks found). Our rocks and minerals materials are FREE!

You might be interested in browsing through all of our homeschool Science Units here.

You might be interested in this Science Checklist of units and topics I hope to cover in elementary and middle school:

ScienceChecklist-homeschooldenAnd you might also be interested in this post about Planning for a New Homeschool Year.

Planning for a new homeschool year-homeschoolden

So that’s about it for today! See you again soon here or Homeschool Den Facebook page. Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~Liesl

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. If you do click over, thanks for supporting our blog!

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