Game Your Way through Science

I am a home schooling mom who loves to study history through reading, writing, and the arts. Taking a year off to travel the world with my family sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

But . . .

I do not like science.  And, I especially, detest reading a bunch of boring facts from a textbook!  Seriously, when you were a student, did you really retain that textbook information? To be truthful, math isn’t my favorite subject either, but I have managed to stay sane by using Math-U-See and Teaching Textbooks.  Love them!

Here is my solution in teaching a science unit to a multiaged, multileveled class or family.

Create a board game!

Step #1: Choose a book.  We used Apologia’s  Exploring Creation with Astronomy.

Creative Science projects

Step #2: Gather a variety of different leveled text: picture books with some wording, several Usborne books, a solar system mobile kit ($6 at TJ Maxx), and the above text.

Side Note: On a budget? Ask a librarian to help you gather the different leveled text for a unit.

Step #3: We created the visual first.  This prevents the youngest from saying,“When are we going to make the planets, Mom?”

Step #4:  We focused on one planet a week until the unit was covered. It took us four months to complete this science topic.  My children were given some colorful sticky notes and were given these directions: “Today, we are going to focus on the planet Mars.  Find three to five facts to share with your family.  Mark the pages with sticky notes, and do not forget to use both the table of contents and index to help you.”

rough draft

Step #5: Next, have the children share their facts with each other; then, as a group, reword the information into game questions.  This is a great way to teach them how to both analyze and synthesize the information.  I promise they will never forget it this information!

Step #6:  Finally, during the course of studying God’s planets, we began to design and create the game.  Below are some photos.

We taped the poster board tightly onto the newly sprayed black game board.

And . . . sprayed painted the maze  ORANGE!

I found these stickers at the Dollar Store.  Great for creating our game pieces.

Here is our old Candy Land box with a new, “spacey” look to it!

Step #7:  : By the time we were done,  over one hundred questions had been created.  Our oldest son typed them out, rewording where necessary.  This is just another way to incorporate writing!  Finally, we created a template for the game cards and printed them onto colorful card stock.

academic fair planets 014

Step #8:  Finally, it was time to write the directions.  Using the online Candy Land game directions as a model, we wrote our own.  Many compromises were made on how the rules were going to be orchestrated; however, the healthy collaboration between the two boys far exceeded the disagreements.

academic fair planets 007 Five months later:  We have now played the game several times.  Unlike their anti-science-teaching-mother, the boys could still answer the majority of the astronomy questions-phew!  Gaming your way through science is not a bad idea!  I think next week we will blow rocks into space by creating  some volcanoes! Stay tuned!

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