Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review of The Curiosity Files: Platypus Unit Study

As part of my application to join The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew this year, I received an e-book unit study on the platypus from their popular Curiosity Files series. 

The Curiosity Files unit studies, explorations with professor Ana Lyze, expert in outlandish oddities, are designed to be used with 8-13 year olds, though my 7 year old had no problem joining in the fun.  The Platypus Unit Study is available for download in e-book format for $6.95 from The Old Schoolhouse Store.

I have a confession to make.  I've never actually done a unit study with my kids before.  Gasp, shock, horror, I know.  I've always wanted to do one and this was the perfect nudge I needed.

The 86 page e-book seemed a little overwhelming to me at first, but after studying the table of contents and flipping through it, I formed a plan of action.   I began by reading aloud the 6 page Everything You Never Wanted to Know About the Platypus summary to my 11, 9, and 7 year olds.  Next I gave them the quiz orally.  I was amazed that Measle Bug (7) was able to answer all her questions since she normally struggles to pay attention during read-aloud.  Next we read together the Scripture passages included that reveal God's glory through His creation.  I really appreciate that this unit study continually points out the ways in which the platypus defies evolution!  At this point we had covered about 20 pages of the study in around 45 minutes.

I then gave each of my homeschoolers age-appropriate math, science, and language arts assignments from the platypus study.  They worked for about 45 minutes individually.  Mr. Monk (11) constructed a table of the names and weights of his family members and calculated how many pounds of food we would each need to eat nightly if we were platypuses.  He also used a timetable of sunrise and sunset dates in Sydney to answer a set of questions.  For science, Monk studied neurons and how signals are transported in the nervous system.  Twinkle Toes (9) studied probability with platypus food, and Measle (7) reviewed her tens since platypus eggs hatch in ten days.

Monk and Twinkle Toes copied creation Bible verses in cursive, whereas Measle was able to copy the same verses printed.  Measle worked on a spelling assignment and colored a picture of a platypus while Twinkle Toes did a nature journal-type sketch of a platypus.  Monk and I even tried writing platypus-themed limmericks!  And the girls joined forces to dig a platypus burrow in our flower beds (don't worry no flowers were killed in the making of this burrow- which reminds me of my next project.)

While we got a lot out of the couple of hours we spent on the platypus unit study, we could easily have spent twice the time on it, especially if we had completed all the project ideas that are included.

In conclusion, we really enjoyed working through this Curiosity Files unit study together and we're looking forward to doing it again.  Some of the other Curiosity Files titles that I'm interested in are:  Zombie Fire Ants,  Quicksand, and MRSA.

1 comment:

  1. I thought I posted a comment yesterday but it isn't showing up! Please do the MRSA one an let me know what all you find out. When I got moved to ICU last week, they tested me and I found out I am a carrier. Apparently, many hospitals are routinely doing this now so that they can say that whether or not you came in with it - didn't catch it in their facility.



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.