Unit studies
to start at home and then get you out and about:

Main

This page is constantly updated and added to

Archaeology

See what Dig Archaeology Magazine for kids has unearthed in your neck of the woods-the get out there and see it!

Discovering Dinosaurs and other Fossils at a National Park

YOU be the historian

Underwater Archaeology

The collapse of civilizations

For young kids, making a 'dino dig' at home is great fun. You can do anything from a large-scale pit in the backyard with planted 'finds' to a simple aluminum pie pan filled with dried mud hiding various items to be discovered.

More backyard fun!

Astronomy
Astronomy 101 A free online 10-lesson course outlining basics in astronomy

Astronomy 161 College level course covering the Solar System

Astronomy 162 Covering stars, galaxies and cosmology

Robotic Telescope it nearly works!

Make your own star map in any area for any time

The Nine Planets well, eight...

Biology

Online Biology Book 60+ chapters

Ideas for using your own microscope

Interactive Human Body

Botany

Gardening with kids

Botany for kids

Plants for kids

Chemistry

Chemistry with kids

Chemistry for kids


Earth Science

NASA'S for kids only Earth Science

The Science Spot's Earth Science links

Extreme Earth Science


Ecology

Kids do Ecology

Dimdima Kids an Indian on-line magazine

Kids Domain ecology games

First Aid

This index of emergencies will help you know what to do if first aid is needed.

Online First Aid Course

First Aid Preparedness exam made for Scouts, but good brush-up for anyone.


Zoology

For Kids

Electronic Zoo

Frogs

Visit Frogland for frog facts, activities and of course, frog jokes.

State Frog list

Get involved! This link to the national amphibian monitoring center allows your family to sign up for an area near you to monitor frogs.

Observe and sketch a frog life cycle. This can be done several ways: buy or catch a few tadpoles and 'grow' them yourself in a tank, visit a local stream and watch them in the wild or you can get a book or visit a website with pictures that cover the cycle.

Frog Life Cycle printout from Enchanted Learning-a WONDERFUL site!

Frog Life Cycle a printout and cutout from the Sacramento Zoo.

Dissect a frog on-line and save a life!

Make a Frog puppet From DLTK Kids, a great crafting-with-kids site!

The Heart

How the heart works

Take a peek at the heart

Movie about the heart

Contact a local slaughterhouse (if we have to say Weatherman/Weatherwoman why can't there be a more PC term for slaughterhouse?) and obtain cow/sheep hearts to dissect (or buy them on-line) and dissect them with your kids.

Dental Health

Dental Health is undoubtedly important, but how to get your reluctant 6-year old to consume less sugar and brush more often? We were lucky enough to have 2 baby teeth on-hand for this experiment:

Place one tooth in a small amount of soda, the other in the same amount of water. Check often. Your child will be amazed how quickly the soda-tooth simply dissolves while the water-tooth just lays there.

If you don't have a few teeth just laying around, try this alternative:

Poke a inch-deep hole in an otherwise perfect apple (no bruises) and leave it alone for a few days. Then, cut into the apple and show how deep the 'decay' spot has gotten and how squishy the apple is around the hole. This is the same thing that happens to teeth over time.

More teeth fun here.

Tooth anatomy

Don't forget your pet's teeth!

Learn a brushing song! (and try to sing it while you brush)

Learn another tooth song:
A tooth fell out, and left a space
So big my tongue could touch my face.
And every time I smile, I show
a space where something used to grow.
I miss my tooth as you can guess
But then, I have to brush one less!

Tooth Fairy Certificate

Polar Bears

How do polar bears keep warm? Blubber! To help your younger child understand blubber as an insulator, try making a 'blubber glove' using 2 Ziploc baggies, some Crisco and a bowl of icy water. Partially fill one baggie with Crisco, then put the second baggie down inside the Crisco-filled bag. You can try to flip the top bag inside out so the bags will seal, but that is up to you. Place child's hand in the baggie and then into the icy water. Have them put the unprotected hand in as well. You can follow up by discussing what humans wear to keep warm in the cold!

What color is a polar bear's skin?

WWF in Canada hosts a Polar Bear site, offering lots of information and trivia as well as a chance to adopt your very own polar bear!

Check out the Polar Bear Cam at the Toledo Zoo! View 2!

Birds

Start with a backyard feeder! Below are some links to easy-to-make feeders, or you can buy one just about anywhere for little expense. Our feeder started attracting feathered friends the first morning it was up and has been a constant source of amazement for us all. We have noted 40+ different species of birds! A book borrowed from the local library helped with correctly identifying each bird and our small digital camera has been invaluable for snapping shots at all hours of the day to identify when we have free time.

For Bird Study, check out a bird identification book from your library and head to a local park. Even in the winter, early morning strolls will provide you with plenty of birds to watch!

Below are some site to help you round out your Bird Study and hopefully provide a starting point to a very rewarding hobby!

Official List of State Birds

Bird songs 2 pages of links to recorded bird songs from around the world

Make a bird feeder

Houses and feeder plans for kids

Do's and Don'ts from Audubon

Milk

I have three children-one whom is convinced milk is a deadly substance. Milk Day was a hard sell, but after following a kids cookbook recipe and making ice cream and butter, milk suddenly had its merits. I have included links for your family to do these fun and surprisingly magical activities. Of course, no Milk Day celebration is complete without a tour of a milk plant! Until you can make the drive, pull up your chairs and enjoy a virtual tour.

Follow up the tours with making a collage of milk and dairy products, or a poster outlining the journey milk makes. If you are lucky enough to know a dairy farmer, go milk a cow! I have had no luck in finding a public-welcoming dairy that will allow visitors to get in on the action-which is probably for the best as far as hygiene goes.

Why Milk? Over-all informative website with recipes, information and freebies all about milk. Parents/teachers can request several different free brochures with even more information about milk.

Make butter

Make ice cream from kidsdomain.com

Where YOUR milk comes from

National Dairy Association

Sleep

Having been married to a man who suffered from sleep apnea for three years of our marriage, I can vouch for the fact that there NEEDS to be a Festival of Sleep Day. I am still married to the same man, but luckily his problem was 'cured' with a visit to a sleep clinic. These links will provide an excellent starting point for celebrating the Festival of Sleep.

After taking a sleep test, looking at some dreamy art and analyzing that dream you had last week, follow up with a nice bedtime story.

Take a sleep test, with links to a sleep diary and information about sleep disorders

The Study of Dreams with a Nightmare Hotline, links to dream-inspired artwork, an list of dream-related e-mail groups and an area to share your personal research-this site covers just about everything!

Work with your dreams an interesting site that gives several examples of how to explore what you dream about

Why Kids Need Sleep an article from Kids Health that outlines why we all need sleep

What happens without sleep small but well done site by teenagers on the effect of sleep deprivation

Bed time stories poems, stories and prayers as well as a submission area for your own tales

Hot Air Balloons

Make your own hot air balloon from tissue paper.

Make a Hot Air Balloon from ZOOM

History, assembly and plenty of pictures

Making hot air balloons and applying math, technology, science and design. High school level.

TREES

Trees are about the easiest and most diverse topic for starting a nature study.

While still home, you can read about trees, talk about what trees are used for and even look at trees out your window.

In your yard or at a local treed area you can touch, smell and closely observe tree leaves, bark and structure. Even if all you can do your first time out is distinguish between hardwoods and softwoods, it is okay! All it takes it checking a few guides out of the library and deciding which is best for you, then add it to your list of things to buy.

We started our tree unit study only able to tell pines, cedars, maples, oaks and privet apart. The kids picked leaves up off the ground and made rubbings and labeled them. Most were labeled “unknown”. We did the same for bark and noted if the bark was scaly, rough or smooth.

We picked out one or two new trees a week and spent about an hour at home looking up the type of tree and adding it to our family nature book.

If you want to do a tree unit study with your family or group, here are a few ideas:

Start small
Start with what you know- talk about the parts of a tree, the differences between evergreen and deciduous, what trees can be used for-by humans and animals, the tree types you do know and your favorite trees.

Seek help
Call the local forestry department to see if they have information about trees in your area, diseases they are prone to, and/or a list of natural areas you can explore.

Check out a variety of tree guides for your area and look for a guide to trees in winter.

Check local wildlife areas and parks to see when the naturalist will be doing a tree walk and talk.