Children learn and retain more when they’re engaged. Science and nature are fascinating subjects, with a seemingly endless range of subjects and depth of information to explore. With these complimentary facts in mind, Valerie Grosso, a PhD microbiologist and former college professor, founded Be Naturally Curious, which designs, creates, and sells science-centered mini courses in the form of downloadable PDFs.
One course in particular caught my eye: Freddie and His Ocean Friends. Written by Tucker Hirsch, a science and literacy editor with National Geographic Learning’s K-8 textbook division and alternate member on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, it follows the story of Freddie the Flounder as he learns about his own life cycle as well as different forms of life in the ocean, both plankton and nekton, and explains how they are interconnected in a food web.
Along with the story, the mini course comes with a glossary, additional online resources, and a series of interesting, hands-on activities:
1: Flinking! Plankton must float at just the right depth in the ocean to survive. Can you build a plankton that floats just right?
2: Tangled Up in Food Webs. Grab friends or stuffed animals to pretend you are animals in the ocean. Can you figure out which animals are connected by what they eat?
3: A Food Chain Card Game. Figure out who eats whom to build your own food chain. Who will build the greatest number of food chains and earn the most points?
4: Create Your Own Metamorphosis. What features will your sea creature have and how will they change as he or she grows up?
The group of artists and scientists has put this level of thought and design into all of their courses, which cover a diverse array of scientific subjects, including plate tectonics, life in the desert, molecules, and sharks! Each course is $9.99 US, which is a very reasonable price for such a well-thought-out product. Take a look at all they have to offer at their website, www.benaturallycurious.com
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