Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: In The Hands of a Child

For a little summer project while we are off of 'regular' school, we had the opportunity to review a lapbook project pack called Under A Microscope from In The Hands of a Child.

This is a complete unit study curriculum geared towards K-3rd grade, teaching about cells and things that are 'unseen' to the human eye, and how to observe them using a microscope. When you purchase the curriculum, you receive the lessons, a lesson plan guide to show what projects could be done together on which days, and the actual projects to cut out and glue together to build the lapbook. Everything is laid out and organized and no additional books or lessons are needed to complete the study. (Although there is a list of additional resources - books, videos, etc - that you might find helpful for further study).

 Learning about cells in pond water from a library book.

Additional supplies needed to build the lapbook: two file folders, scissors, glue, one brad tack, stapler, and coloring supplies if desired.

Additional materials for completing the study: a microscope, slides, slide covers, newspaper, saran wrap, eyedropper, water, onion, knife, various things to look at under the microscope.

How we used this project pack: I completed this pack with Kelly, who is entering 3rd grade. She was thrilled when I got out the big microscope that typically only the 'big kids' use, and we started talking about how to use it. Following the lesson plans, I showed her all the different parts of the microscope, and how to use them. We then did the activities that were planned for the lesson, and when those were done, we started on the lapbook projects. Kelly really enjoyed the activities, and seeing how things looked under a microscope. Over all, it took us about a week to complete this entire lapbook.

Here is a picture of her finished lapbook:

 And the cover that I made for it:

Activities we completed:
  • We placed saran wrap over a sheet of newspaper, and then dropped a few drops of water onto the wrap, to observe how water can magnify objects.
  • We looked at various items under the microscope, including a piece of hair and a slice of onion.
  • We pricked our finger and made a slide with a drop of blood, to observe how living cells move around and then get slower and die when no longer in the body. We were also able to observe the difference between red and white blood cells, which was very cool. This led into a long discussion about cuts, blood clotting, the immune system fighting infection, and the importance of hydration. (Initially Kelly and I were working on this, but this particular activity easily drew in the other children!)
  • We talked about other things that Kelly would like to observe in the future.
  • We drew pictures to illustrate our observations.
Using the microscope
The lapbook projects include:
  • Microscope parts
  • Instructions for looking at a slide
  • Steps to focusing a microscope
  • Why is the microscope an important tool?
  • Who gave the microscope its name?
  • The difference between top & bottom lighting
  • Suggestions of things to look at under a microscope
  • Two types of microscopes
  • Observation drawing
  • A set of vocabulary word flashcards for the entire study
Making vocabulary word flashcards
Recommended ages: While the company uses K-3 as the suggested ages, I think this study would be good for all elementary and middle school grades as well. There is plenty of meat in the study. It includes complicated words and vocabulary and the projects are interesting. An older student may not enjoy building a lapbook as much as a younger student, but the curriculum itself is still very valuable. The fact that it is all laid out and organized in one packet makes it extremely easy for a parent to incorporate it into science lessons, and use with multiple age levels.

What I really like: The projects are printed in such a way that the student can trace over the words (they are written in the proper places with dotted lines) or they can use the pre-printed project pieces. I chose to do the pre-printed pieces and just let Kelly enjoy learning about the microscope, rather than turning this into a writing project for her. She was able to cut out all the pieces on her own, and assemble all the projects very easily. Some of them required her to match up words with meanings, and she had no trouble doing that.

Kelly really liked: There is no set order or placement for the projects into the lapbook. As we completed the projects, she placed them in a zipper bag, and we assembled the lapbook all at once when the projects were completed. She liked moving them around until she was satisfied with the placement.

For the future: I feel this lapbook is set up in such a way that Kelly will pull it out and look at it over and over. This will help her to review what she learned and remember the facts better, and because she is proud of her work and enjoys looking at her accomplishment, she doesn't even realize that she is actually 'working' and reviewing science material!

Pricing: This lapbook is available in several formats.  We received the ebook as a download, which can be purchased from the website for $10. Additional formats available include a lapbook CD for $5.00, a printed format for $8.00, or a printed/CD combo for $11.00.  In the Hands of a Child is currently offering 50% off these lapbooks, which means this curriculum pack could be purchased this month for $5.00!

In The Hands of a Child offers lapbook and notebooking projects for all ages. They have a free ebook currently available, as well as regular specials. Each project webpage includes a link to a free sample of that particular project, for you to see what types of material is covered before you purchase it. I am definitely going to bookmark this site and check back often for more interesting projects!!

The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed an assortment of lapbook topics - please click the banner below to see what some of the other families accomplished and what they thought of lapbooks from In The Hands of a Child.

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