Friday, April 22, 2011

The Curiosity Files: Quicksand -- A Review

Who knew you could dig up 84 pages of information and activities all having to do with quicksand? I never would have suspected it, but The Curiosity Files: Quicksand unit study does just that. Published by The Old Schoolhouse for only $6.95, you’ll want to sink right into this one!

Written for 8 to 13 year olds, this e-book is amazingly comprehensive. Beginning with “Everything you NEVER wanted to know about quicksand,” Professor Ana Lyze uses a humorous conversational tone to relate the science behind this non-Newtonian fluid. If you don’t know what that means, you’ll need to read the book! And while you are at it, you can make and handle a non-Newtonian fluid as one of the activity choices that follow all the learning.

There are related lessons and activities in all of these categories:

• Bible, cleverly beginning with the house on sinking sand
• Math, including ciphering and word problems (how deep did the poacher sink?)
• Reading, with practice reading charts and graphs
• Writing, providing an essay question, plus tips for how to write essays and outlines
• Word puzzles and other games
• Vocabulary, giving lists that are multi-level for younger and older students
• Drawing and other art projects (as you might expect: sand art!)
• Spelling practice
• Handwriting and cursive practice, incorporating the Bible verses from the lesson above
• Science, with labs on surface tension and viscosity
• Geography, teaching mapping and a lesson on terms
• Music, adding a little song to your repertoire
• Reading list, for additional reading on the subject
• Recipe for edible quicksand (using some of our favorite ingredients!)

If that isn’t enough, the section called “Curiosity Snippets” will help you create a cut-n-paste project file which would make a great addition to your home-school portfolio.

My middle-schoolers enjoyed doing the crossword puzzle once they found they could use the spelling/vocabulary list as a word bank. Next, we tried the viscosity lab, timing the speed of a marble as it drops through different liquids. We tried milk, hand-soap, syrup and molasses. With great fore-thought, we used our craft table area where “messy” is not a problem. If you choose the same liquids, you will want to have a little bowl of water (or sink) nearby for hand rinsing! Of course, the favorite activity was edible quicksand. The kids had fun making the gummies “scream” as they went down deeper and deeper into the mire of pudding and marshmallow. We substituted vanilla wafers for the cinnamon graham crackers and we all emerged with smiles!

For more details about this and other similar unit studies, including topics as varied as “Cicadas,” “MRSA” and “Red Tide,” go to: The Old Schoolhouse.

I received this e-book for free in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Great job Colleen!!!! I love the 'screaming gummies' and can just see your two hamming it up!!!!