Looking for a science curriculum? The building blocks of science curriculum may be just what you need. Read the full review for pros and cons.
Building Blocks of Science Curriculum Review
Elementary school science education is incredibly important. This year, Timberdoodle asked if I was interested in review the Building Blocks of Science 4th grade curriculum. This is the science curriculum that Timberdoodle selected as part of their Non-Religious 4th Grade Curriculum kit. My 4th grader Lily loves science, so we decided to give this program a try.
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What We Like About the Building Blocks of Science Curriculum
Trying out a new curriculum is a lot of work, so I always research products thoroughly before agreeing to review them.
A Science Curriculum Written by a Scientist
The Building Blocks of Science curriculum first attracted my attention because the author is a trained scientist, who worked as a research professor. Learning to think like a scientist is an important piece of learning science, and I wanted to see how a scientist would write an elementary school science curriculum.
Easy to Read Science Text
I feel like the textbook is the greatest strength of this curriculum. It’s full of colorful illustrations, and the explanations are easy for kids to understand. Engaging examples help kids think through lessons.
Real Science Experiments
The student text for this curriculum is labeled “Laboratory Notebook” with good reason; it’s full of experiments. This makes the curriculum a great resource if you are looking for science fair experiments – even if you aren’t a homeschooler.
Fun Ways to Explore Concepts
The building blocks of science curriculum does a great job of talking about scientific phenomena you can’t see with a human eye. I love the explanations, illustrations, and activities to help solidify these ideas.
Asking questions is a huge piece of being a scientist. I like the way the laboratory notebook asks kids to think about their observations. This is really hard for my “use as few words as possible” fourth grader, but it’s a great learning exercise for her.
What We Don’t Like About the Building Blocks of Science Curriculum
While I’m glad we tried this curriculum and we plan to use it throughout the year, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it. Here’s why.
Not Enough Support for Non Scientists
I wish the author would have paired up with someone with a background in curriculum writing, because I feel this curriculum is sometimes lacking when it comes to meeting the needs of non-scientists.
For example, the first experiment in the notebook is taking apart electronics. But there is no discussion of pieces to look for beyond identifying the sim card and battery. More importantly, there are safety issues with kids taking apart electronics.
For example, large capacitors can store enough of a charge, even when not plugged in, to give you quite a shock. Electronics often have components that include lead and other materials that need to be handled with care. This doesn’t mean you can’t take them apart, but it does mean you should do so carefully under the supervision of someone who knows what they are doing.
Many of the experiments in this book require buying costly materials. This isn’t a realistic option for many homeschool families, and the materials go beyond what your typical elementary school classroom has on hand.
Here are a few sample materials required for experiments:
- Old cell phone or other electronic device that can be taken apart
- Butterfly kit
- Tadpole kit (or the ability to capture them locally)
- Two prisms
- Model rocket kit
- Robot kit
- Two renewable resources model kits
If you can acquire all of these (and the other materials), you will have an incredible science curriculum. But that isn’t realistic for your average homeschool family.
I do think there is value in skipping around the book, doing things you can do when and where you can. That approach will give you a solid curriculum without breaking the bank.