Homeschool Science 2016 Year in Review – And What’s Coming Up Next

When I think about all we’ve done this past year in 2016 in science, I’m really pretty amazed! It’s been a fun, full year! This post has links to dozens of our science experiments, science worksheets and printables, and hands-on activities. You’ll find direct links to the posts in the table below.

Science Units Hands-On Activities Homeschool Curriculum UnitsLast year as we moved into the new year (in January to May 2016), we were focused on the Earth systems again. This time around we were focused on the Biosphere and Hydrosphere. (The previous year, we really focused on Earth Science.) We first did a unit on animals — focusing on classification of vertebrates and invertebrates, the characteristics of these different animals. We talked about the difference between domesticated and wild animals and then talked about wild animals. ED really enjoyed that unit and it was good review for my older two. Then we did a more in-depth units on Biology and the Biosphere and on the Ocean.

This semester (August to December 2016), our units were in Chemistry and STEM. We did units on the States of Matter, the Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter (which was a middle school unit), and Electricity and Circuits (which had nearly a dozen hands-on activities!).  We have just started into a study of the human body systems again… and will continue that into the new year.

So first our science units January to May 2016:

Science Units: Year in Review January to May 2016

 Last year as we moved into the new year (in January), we focused primarily on the Biosphere (biomes, ecosystems, habitats, feeding relationships, etc.).First, though, we first did a unit on animals — focusing on classification of vertebrates and invertebrates, the characteristics of these different animals. We talked about the difference between domesticated and wild animals and then talked about animals tracks. was especially fun because it was winter and we were able to find a lot of different animal tracks in the snow! ED really enjoyed that unit and it was good review for my older two.

You can find out more about our animal unit here:


Earth’s Four Systems

Before we launched into a study of the biosphere, we talked about Earth’s 4 Systems: Atmosphere, Geosphere (Earth Science Unit), Biosphere, Hydrosphere

These are the free notebook pages going over the 4 major Earth systems:

4 Earth Systems WorksheetsThe previous year, we spent a lot of time studying Earth Science:50+ Page Earth Science PacketAnd a several years ago 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-EarthsAtmosphereOur plan last spring was to study the other two major Earth Systems in depth:

 Biology Unit – Biosphere

Biomes, Ecosystems, Habitats, Feeding Relationships and More
We studied the Biosphere in quite some depth. We started by talking about the different climate zones and spent a lot of time talking about the different biomes.

Biomes-Worksheets Biomes-Dominant-Plants-Animals-WorksheetsWe touched on the different animals and plants in these biomes, but this time around we focused a lot more on the abiotic factors (the soil, climate, and non-biological features of each of the biomes).

Biomes-Abiotic-Factors-WorksheetsAnother 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 – The Hydrosphere

This was such a fun unit! 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!!)

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

Ocean-Unit-Packet-Marine-Habitats-Ocean-Currents-Tides-BioluminescenceHere were some of the topics we studied:

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



By the time we finished our Ocean Unit, we were getting ready for a long 6-week trip out West. We spent time reviewing previous units.

Simple Machines

My youngest was about 4 the last time we had covered Simple Machines,  so I wanted to go over the 6 types of simple machines with her (She was in Grade 2 last year):


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 (2016) 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:


In May, we left on a long trip out West.  I made a Travel Log book that the kids used throughout our trip. You’ll find this FREE 40 page packet here: Road Trip! Travel Log for KidsUSA-Road-Trip-Travel-Log-PacketThis packet included a section on clouds (I shared our free Cloud worksheets already here, if you’re interested!)Free-Cloud-Worksheets3 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!

Over the summer, I often spend times planning out our units.  I decided to focus on chemistry again this fall starting with a unit that I knew ED needed to cover again. Then we moved into more complicated material for my middle-schoolers.

These were the science units we did this fall:

Science Units: Year in Review August to December 2016

 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 We were all *really* excited to dive into this unit because we had so many hands-on activities planned!

  • 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 (the different types of circuits — series circuits, parallel circuits and more).
  • 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!)
  • Or here is our final project on Art Bots!

how to make an art bot

Electricity and Circuits Worksheets and Activities

 Next, it was time to start studying the Human Body again!  As many of you know, we have a couple of units we’ve been meaning to get to for more than a year now… the Muscular System and the Circulatory System. This is what we’ll delve into in January 2017.Update, Jan. 8th: Last week we reviewed the organelles of the cell again and added a half-dozen new review pages to our Study of Cells Packet. Now, we’re just about ready to dive into our circulatory system unit!

circulatory-system-packetMuscularSystemWorksheetsSince it is the holiday period, I decided to spend some time reviewing material we covered a couple of years ago.  We have spent the past couple of weeks going over the bones of the body, their function, the axial and appendicular system and various material in our Skeletal System Unit.Skeletal-System-Worksheets-Skeleton-LapbookAlso coming up next:We will be doing a Winter, Polar Unit (why does winter occur, Arctic vs. Antarctic, Polar Animals etc.) in the New Year. I know the girls in particular will enjoy that!!Winter Polar Unit - Penguins Whales Worksheets and MoreIt has been quite a long time since we’ve studied astronomy. We plan to do an astronomy unit in the spring. 🙂 Hopefully!

This fall, I wanted to put together a new series to break down what we’ve covered by grades.  I worked hard to get the first two resources up and finished. Next up (in the spring 2018) will be the Grades 3-4 and Grades 6-8 Resource Packets.

There are free to download and cover not only science, but the other subjects as well. 🙂
Creating a Homeschool Curriculum: Kindergarten – Grade 1 – a FREE 50+ page resource guide

Homeschool Curriculum Kindergarten Grade 1
Creating Your Homeschool Curriculum: Grades 2-3 – a FREE 30+ page resource guide


You might enjoy last year’s Science Year in Review post:

Homeschool Science: 2015 Year in Review and What’s Coming Up

This post shares links to a lot of our Earth Science activities, our Cell Unit, etc.


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

This is the checklist of the various units we hope we cover K-8 or so. You’ll find it at this post here: Homeschool Science Unit Checklist for Elementary and Middle School


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

Planning for a new homeschool year-homeschoolden

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!

I’m sure I’ve left things out, but I really need to get going. 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

2 Responses

  1. Kylie says:

    Wow Liesl what a fabulous year filled with science fun!!

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      Thanks Kylie! The kids have now fallen in love with David Attenborough (from all the documentaries we watched during our biology and ocean units)!! Right behind him is Jim Weiss’s voice (who narrates the Story of the World CDs and assorted other history things we listen to in the car)!! It’s been a good combination of projects/experiments/activities, documentaries and diving into more complicated material. 🙂

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