And Moving Beyond the Page does such a great job of making social studies, literature, and science units come alive.
For this review I received two products:
The physical package is available for $69.97 and came with Human Body - A Visual Encyclopedia, and Smart Lab: You Explore It Human Body Kit.
This unit study is meant for ages 9-11.
I also received Language Arts Package - Greek Myths
This was a digital download that sells for $68.78, but you do receive hard copies of D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, the book Icarus At The Edge Of Time, and the game More Roots.
The Greek Myths unit is meant for ages 11-13.
What Moving Beyond the Page does through their unit studies, is to bring the subject alive for students. Using manipulatives, fun activities, experiments, and workbook-type pages, children of all learning types can benefit from these short units. These studies are meant to take only three weeks, so this is perfect for those younger ones who might get tired of studying the same thing all year.
Science Package - The Human Body
This unit works through the following lessons:
- An Amazing Machine
- Sense Organs
- The Digestive System
- Respiratory and Circulatory Systems
- Defense System
- Muscular and Skeletal Systems
- Nervous Systems
The experiments suggested are very age appropriate. In the one on the sense organs, we chewed different foods and then observed in a mirror how our mouths were chewing. In the section on the Circulatory System, we measured our heart rate, and then did some jogging in place and at 5 minute intervals, checked our heart rates again. We all recorded on a chart how our heart rates changed. Our favorite experiment was one that tested our nervous system. Nutsy stood on a chair and then dropped a pencil onto Dasher's head unexpectedly. We then talked about reflexes and involuntary actions, and how our spinal cords send quick messages back to the muscles.
There are also worksheet pages. Most of these are not just question and answer type pages, but engaging ones that help the student understand more of what is being learned. On one, we inserted the information from our milk label onto the worksheet, and then talked about the different nutrients in milk. And when we were learning about cells, Dasher labeled the parts of a cell.
Throughout the unit are references to the other resources that come with the unit.We used the Human Body Kit and the guide that accompanies it quite often, plus there are reading assignments in the DK Human Body book with comprehension questions in the workbook.
At the end of the unit was a final project. This was a human body on display. This is basically a poster board that shows all of the body systems that were learned and short descriptions of each. There is also a Human Body test to take when the unit is completed. This 5 page test has matching questions, labeling questions, and thought questions.
I used this with both Nutsy and Dasher, but since Nutsy is still working on her writing skills, it was Dasher who used the workbook. This was the perfect fit for our schooling in June; we need that extra month to get enough school days in and since our science in co-op had ended, we could focus on three weeks of anatomy.
I liked how the materials needed were listed out at the beginning of each lesson. The lessons are laid out with the activities, worksheets, and reading questions grouped together; I found this confusing at first but once you get used to the layout it is easy to see what you need to use for each lesson. I also liked how the schedule was very easy to follow. The workbook lays out what you should do each day, so there is no guessing as to when you do the listed activities.
We did the worksheets and some of the experiments; there are also "options" you can choose from for some of the activities. For example in the section on the digestive system, you can either create a song or chant that goes through the order of the digestive system, or you could create a cartoon that goes from one end of the digestive system to the other. (Yes, we chose the chant.) I liked having the options and being able to choose, knowing the learning styles of my kids.
But the hit of this unit was Oscar.
This is what the girls named our Human Body that came in the Human Body Kit.
All of my kids loved taking him apart and putting him back together again.
And he was pretty detailed, with a brain, muscles, bones, and innards.
We also enjoyed following some activities in the book that came with the Human Body Kit.
Overall I loved this unit; it was the perfect fit for our summer school!
Language Arts Package - Greek Myths
This unit is set up in much the same way as the above science unit, but it is accessible online.
This unit covers:
- Ancient Greece
- The Gods and Goddesses
- The Stories
- Minor Gods
- Mortal Descendants of Zeus
- Vainglorious Kings
- The Trojan War
Each unit has reading assignments from the D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths and Icarus at the Edge of Time, by Brian Greene. The latter book is a futuristic re-telling of the Greek myth of Icarus, who does not heed the warnings of his father.
Each lesson has worksheets, activities, and questions.
The worksheets have two options; you can either choose a fill-in-the-field version and then print it, or download the worksheet, print it, and write the answers in. (Using Adobe.) These are questions that pertain to the Book of Greek Myths and are reading comprehension questions. The activities are varied and give hands-on learning opportunities. Some of these include a matching game of the Greek gods, a re-telling of The Trojan War using cut-out characters, or filling out a family tree of the gods.
Since this is geared to an older age group, some of the activities are more advanced ones such as writing your own myth or Greek play to act out. There are also sentences to copy and correct grammatically. The final project is an assignment where your student will come up with their own story based on an ancient Greek myth. Each day of the final project is laid out, with assignments and suggestions. There is also a final test for this unit as well. Throughout the three week unit there are also suggestions for when to play the Word Roots game.
So I am that mom that did not teach Greek myths to my kids when they were young, so I actually had Bookworm do this unit, even though she is a bit older than the age range. She loved the D'Aulaire's book and really felt that it made the ancient stories come alive. The comprehension questions were a good indicator of how much of the readings she had grasped; she did chose to type out her answers instead of writing them. She did at times feel like the activities were a little immature for her, but she is a year older than the age recommendation. And since she loves creative writing, the writing assignments were lots of fun for her to do.
I do love these units from Moving Beyond the Page. I am finding though, as my kids get older, that they feel they are a bit beyond the hands on aspect of unit studies. Also, with two in high school this year, I do feel that they need solid, semester long courses. My younger ones though love this approach to learning. I also love this as a way to do some schooling through the summer. Spending a half hour to an hour each day in a fun study like this is a great way to pass those summer hours, when younger kiddos might have too much time on their hands.
Do check out the Moving Beyond the Page website; you can check out all of their units as a whole, by subject, age, or individual unit.
And other members of The Crew reviewed other units, including The Water Cycle, Charlotte's Web, Space, The 50 States, and Animal Farm, to name a few. Click below to see what they thought.