Friday, April 8, 2011

Science Weekly Review

We love science.  We go on nature walks and collect treasures (normally rocks and leaves) and we love to pour over science books with lots of pictures.  We like to learn about all of God’s great creation, through books, movies, and as often as possible, our hands and eyes and ears.  So we were all excited to review the Science Weekly papers.   We received one copy of each of the six levels of the paper, along with a teacher’s guide.  Science Weekly is a newspaper-type supplement that comes in your mailbox 15 times a year.  They have versions for grades K-6th, and the price is currently $19.95 per student.  There is also a classroom option that is $4.95 per student, with a minimum of 20 subscriptions. 
So what is Science Weekly all about?  You get a colorful paper with four pages, specifically designed for your grade.  It can cover any of a large variety of topics, ours was fractions.  Some other recent topics include composting and the flu.  My copy has an introduction on the front cover, and then the inside spread has a “weekly lab” and more in-depth information on the topic.  The back page has a challenge and a “bring it home” section with another activity.  The older grades are much deeper and the labs are more extensive.  They also tended to have different sections, and I didn’t see the “bring it home” activity on the upper grades.  Because we only used the lower levels, I will mainly be reviewing them.
Some of the suggested activities in the lower grades include making a fraction with your class (counting who does and doesn’t like apples), making a symmetrical print with paint, and mixing colors.  There are writing and tracing activities in the lower grade levels, and vocabulary activities.    There is also some cutting and gluing, making fractioned parts into a whole.  The older grades have more puzzles, writing, and a lot of reading.  While the older grades seemed to have a lot of information, the lower levels are focused on presenting the concept simply and in an understandable way.  Fractions can be a difficult abstract idea for little ones to grasp, but Science Weekly explained it with a lot of pictures and made it very concrete for them. 
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The included teacher’s notes are very helpful.  They include a background summary of the concept and then they have teaching tips for each separate level.  I think, from looking over all the papers, that the Teaching Notes could really determine the newspaper’s usefulness, as there are several extra activities and ideas included for the different grades.
There are free samples of Science Weekly on the website, and I highly suggest looking at them if you are considering subscribing.  You can really get a feel for the magazine.  You will want to remember that there are a lot more pages in the interactive version, but the content is probably the same, since the physical copy is larger.  We enjoyed our copies so much that we just have to go try out some of the other topics.  Some of the different subjects aren’t what you would expect from a science paper, but they are excellent at pulling the scientific properties out of the most mundane subject!  When you think about it, fractions and pyramids are both very scientific topics!
I think this paper is a great way to add diversity to your current science program, and they are fun!  You can mix and match grade levels and still take advantage of the reduced rates, so this is another option for homeschool groups.  I think it would be really fun to use these papers as the foundation for a co-op science day.  Everyone could work together, in his or her own level, and there would still be plenty of children to participate in the classroom activities. 
Visit the Old Schoolhouse Crew blog to read more reviews,
or visit the website to learn more about Science Weekly.

I received this product free of charge
as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,
for review purposes. I promise to be honest
and fair in my reviews, and I received no
other compensation in exchange for my review.
to read more reviews on this product.

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