Science Year in Review 2016-2017 (Grades 8, 6, 3)

I love looking back at the year and everything we managed to accomplish!  Sometimes in the short-run it can feel like we’re not getting much homeschooling done, but when I step back to look at the bigger picture, I’m amazed at what we managed to cover.

Science Homeschool Year in ReviewThis year my kids were in Grades 8, 6, and 3. We do our science activities together. Sometimes I focus a little more on my youngest (which is review for my older two) and sometimes we dive deep into a topics (which is challenging and hard for my youngest).  I try to keep track of what we’ve done and circle back around to things for my youngest when she’s a bit older and ready for that material again.

You might want to visit last year’s Science Year in Review as well.

This fall (2016), I wanted to focus on Chemistry again.  We had done a unit on the Periodic Table a year ago (last fall 2015) and I knew that I wanted to go over some topics we skimmed over.We started with a unit on the States of Matter.  This was a fun unit for everyone because we did a number of hands-on activities:

We focused quite a bit of time on the changing states of matter and had a lot of fun learning about sublimation and deposition!


States of Matter Worksheets

Chemistry (Middle School):

We then dove deeply into the Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter.

Just as scientists classify the living world, they also divide the non-living world into categories. We looked closely at matter: pure substances and mixtures

matter-puresubstance-mixturesWe went on to talk about:

  • Elements & Compounds
  • Overview of the Periodic Table (and the main groups)
  • Physical and Chemical Properties — Things like… Size, Density, Mass, Volume, Color, Freezing point, Boiling point, Viscosity, Flexibility.

Physical and chemical properties of matter worksheets

  • Then, came the really fun hands-on part of this unit! We did a number of activities on density. I won’t go into much detail here (I explained these in the packet), but we did activities a density cube set and equal mass, different substances set.density-activities
  • Mixtures: Solutions, Colloids and Suspensions
  • Solutions: Solvent, Solutes, Saturation Point

You can find out more about our Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter Unit here:

Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter Worksheets


Other Chemistry Posts:

Last Year (Fall 2015) My older kids did a study of the periodic table:

While my younger daughter (She was in Grade 2) used Real Science-4-Kids Chemistry pre-Level I (affiliate link) and did a lot of science experiments to go along with that.

 Electricity and Circuits Unit

Electricity and Circuits Unit We were all *really* excited to dive into this unit because we had so many hands-on activities planned! This and our circulatory system unit were my favorite this year! 🙂

  • We started with a study of Atoms, Electrons and More! (Hands-On Activities). We talked about what electricity is and how it works both on a wide scale (electrical power plants which run lines to our homes) to a small scale.
  • Even I learned a lot as we learned how batteries work, conductors and resistors, the different types of circuits — series circuits, parallel circuits, amps, ohm, short circuits and more!!
  • We did at least a half-dozen different hands-on activities making a light bulb light up, paper circuits with copper tape and more!

hands on electricity activities

  • Once we knew what circuits were, it was time to make our own.  We worked with all different types of materials from LED lights to bulbs and motors, copper tape, wire, batteries and more!  Here was a post on STEM! Paper Circuits (and More!)

Electricity and Circuits Worksheets and Activities

Winter and Polar Unit

We then moved into a unit on Winter & the Polar Regions. We talked about the seasons why winter occurs, Arctic vs. Antarctic, Polar Animals, penguins, whales and more.  My girls in particular enjoyed this unit. 🙂Winter Polar Unit - Penguins Whales Worksheets and MoreThis basically wrapped up the fall semester for us.

Human Body Units

Next, it was time to start studying the Human Body again (we generally study one body system each year).

As we started the semester, we spent time reviewing the organelles of the cell again. I added a half-dozen new review pages to our Study of Cells Packet.Cell Organelles WorksheetsHuman Body Systems: Then we quickly went over the different types of cells in the human body and how they are organized into tissues, organs and the body systems in general.  I almost always go over this before we jump into any study of a specific body system.  This time around we talked about the skin.  I added a notebook page about the skin to the Human Body Systems packet.Skin WorksheetsNext, we were going to do a big unit on the Circulatory System.  First, we reviewed the Skeletal System because many of the arteries and veins share names with the bones of the skeletal system. Skeletal-System-Worksheets-Skeleton-LapbookThis year it was time to tackle the Circulatory System. Oh my goodness, what a great unit this was!We talked about the circulatory system in general.  We did a few activities about our pulse and heart rate.Circulatory System Worksheets

The kids learned the names of some of the major veins and arteries:


And we went into a lot of depth about how blood flows through the heart to the lungs, then back to the heart and out to the body. They *loved* this hands-on activity. We spent over a week talking (and practicing) how blood flows through the body and the kids came away with a pretty deep understanding of blood flow! And so did I!!


We went on to talk about blood, what blood is made of, the difference between red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, and so forth.

Blood Worksheet

We also did a big project on blood types. We surveyed 50 people and then graphed our results – comparing what we found to national averages.

Blood Type Activities

In all, we all learned a LOT in our Circulatory System unit! (Even me!)

Circulatory System Worksheets and ActivitiesFrom there, we went on to talk about the Brain and Nervous System. I made a few notebook pages for the kids.  You’ll find these free worksheets here:

Nervous System Worksheets

Life Cycles, Spring Animals Unit

In the spring, we read Trumpet of the Swan and went on to talk about animal life cycles.  This post has a free printable about animal life cycles and some free research pages: Spring Animals Packet:

Spring Animals - Whose Egg? - Life Cycles

3 Types of Rocks, Rock Cycle Unit

Then we switched gears and we talked about the three types of rock and the rock cycle. It had been quite a long time since we had covered this. I borrowed a lot of books from the library… and we did some really fun activities!  Be sure to check those out and the free Rock Cycle notebook pages:

Free Rock Cycle Worksheets Hands-On Activities 3 Types of Rocks

Astronomy Unit

We went on to do a unit was on astronomy.  We talked about the solar system. You’ll find some free worksheets about the planets of our solar system here:

Free Planet Worksheets - Solar System Unit

and went over elliptical orbits, the layers of the sun, solar flares, and other stuff with my older two: Free Astronomy Pages for Middle School

Astronomy worksheets for middle school


Rainforest Unit

After our yearly testing, we did a Rainforest Unit.  We learned a lot about the Amazon Rainforest. We talked about the diversity of species in that region, the Amazon river, deforestation, different animals and insects of the Amazon region. We then talked a lot about the different layers of the rainforest and talked about which animals dwell in each part.

Rainforest Unit Worksheets and ActivitiesPlanet Earth documentaryWe watched quite a number of documentaries about the Amazon region… and then jumped into the Planet Earth (affiliate link) BBC documentary series with David Attenborough. My kids *beg* to watch that.  It highlights many of the different regions of Earth: mountains, caves, deserts, shallow seas, seasonal forests, polar regions, and more.

My kids are such fans of the series, I’ll probably get Planet Earth II and watch that at some point next year with them!

Life BBC DocumentaryMy kids really love these types of science documentaries.  We watched the BBC documentary Life (affiliate link) also narrated by David Attenborough last year when we did our Biology Unit. (See the image below.)  We studied the different biomes, feeding relationships and biological relationships.  This series was perfect because it really looked in depth at some of the more colorful strategies the world’s creatures employ to procreate, evade predators, and obtain nourishment… That really helped explain some of the terms like amensalism, mutualism, etc. in a riveting way! 🙂

Blue PlanetRight after our Biology Unit last year, we did an Ocean Unit. (See the image below.)  We studied ocean habitats, tides and currents, fish adaptations – body shape, size, luminescence and much more! Again, what really made our studies even more powerful was the incredible documentaries we watched.  This time, we Blue Planet. The kids learned so much from the powerful narration (once again by the naturalist, David Attenborough) that went along with the breath-taking video footage.  These documentaries are all incredibly powerful!!



 What’s coming up next year for us in science?

I know this isn’t enough to take us through the whole year, but these are my thoughts at this point…

Earth Science

It has been quite a while since we’ve studied Earth Science.  My youngest will need to go over some topics such as

  • Atmosphere,
  • Meteorology, Air Masses and Fronts
  • Weathering and Erosion
  • Probably will go on to talk about Natural Disasters again, in brief.
  • Climate
  • Mass Movements, Wind, Glaciers (and we might review plate tectonics again for my youngest)
Africa –
This year we studied the Amazon Rainforest in quite some depth.  Next year, I hope to cover some of the different regions of Africa, climate and wildlife.I purchased the DVD, Africa, Eye to Eye with the Unknown (affiliate link) another David Attenborough documentary and also will probably have the kids watch the IMAX film Africa, the Serengeti (in Amazon Prime).Africa DocumentariesMy thought is that we will do a Culture Unit on East Africa and/or South Africa.We have studied Ancient Egypt, a bit about the history of North Africa, the spread of Islam and West Africa. But, we really haven’t talked in depth about the history and culture of the eastern part of Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda).

I’ll have to see what kind of resources and kid-friendly books I can find. (That’s what this planning time is all about, right?!)It was almost 5 years ago that we did our study of Africa (see the free Africa Learning Packet)

 Physics:My oldest (9th grade) will be studying Physics.  I explain why we’re studying that at the beginning of high school and the resources we’ll be using in this post: Grade 9 Tentative PlansMy younger kids will read through Focus on Middle School Physics by Rebecca Keller (along with some other resources).Middle School PhysicsWe also have a Physics 101 DVD that we’ll probably all watch together. 🙂

Above, I mentioned the two life science units we did on Biology (biomes, biological relationships etc.) and our Ocean Unit.  I thought I would include images of those units here for you:

Biology Unit - biomes biological interactions

Ocean Unit Middle School

You might want to visit last year’s Science Year in Review as well.

Science Homeschool Year in Review

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

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