Mystery Science – Plant Adventures

We LOVE this free Science curriculum, Mystery Science! This is our first unit with it and I already plan on using the other units as our core Science curriculum. We generally do 1 Mystery a week, and it takes about 2 hours. (We don’t rush and also add things like the flower drawing below).

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The kids really like the videos and it asks the kids to predict what will happen before moving on in the lesson. This really gets the kids thinking and I love the look on their faces when they just discovered something new.

So far we have finished Plant Adventures Mysteries 1-4.

Mystery #1 talked about the different ways seeds can travel. The activity included making our own paper versions of seeds and dropping them to see if the made it out of the Zone of Darkness. The glider seed worked the best and the kids, for some reason, love the ‘zone of darkness’. We also went outside on a nature walk and they pointed out all the different seeds they found (this is still going on today….even when we were at Silver Dollar City they would run up to tell me they found another seed)!


Mystery #2 talked about how plants don’t really eat dirt, and only use the minerals in the soil. They grew their own radish seeds without dirt (hydroculture). I also had them draw and label a flower.

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Mystery #3 got my kids excited because they talked about the worlds tallest trees, and when I told them we plan on visiting them someday they were pretty stoked.  I meant to have them do a similar tree drawing and label its parts, but we haven’t got to it yet; however, they really enjoyed the ‘extra’ videos they had after the lesson. They thought it was so cool how you can watch plants follow the light.

Mystery #4  They learned that not all plants need a ton of water or sunlight to survive. They knew most of this, but they really enjoyed the videos. They were surprised at how big Saguaro cacti are too! We did the worksheet and drew our own cacti with the type of animals that use it for shelter.

Mystery #5 Coming soon… we are working on it this week!

Trying out some new stuff: Mystery Science, Life of Fred

I came across this free curriculum for Science a little while back, and never got around to implementing it into our schedule; however we are going to start using it and I am pretty excited.  All the units aren’t up yet, but they add new ones throughout the year. We are starting Plant Adventures tomorrow. I know we are going to love Mystery Science because it has videos along with fun activities that get you interested and thinking.

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I switched how we go about our day….. again.

The kids now have complete one-on-one time with me for Math and Language Arts. This has been HUGE! They are learning so much better, and we are using our time wiser. We still do our Science/History/Geography/Class Book together.

Before they had worked on their Math/LA at the same time, but it was too distracting and frustrating trying to teach 3 kids, 3 different things at the same time. Caden is an early riser, so he does his work first, then Turner wakes up, and Lilly is last. Before we just seemed to hangout until they were all awake or force them to wake up before they were ready. Now everyone is much happier in the mornings.

Life of FredAfter reading so many positive things about this program I thought we would give it a try. I bought the first 4 books (which isn’t cheap). We read 2 chapters a day before our ‘Math’ and got through the first 2 books. I didn’t like it, and I polled the kids and they weren’t fans either. I think it is somewhat useful, but my kids really didn’t take to the unbelievable storyline and main character Fred. I guess they are more realist. They did learn about deciduous trees and reading a clock really well, but for the price it’s not worth it to us to continue to use them. I wonder if they would like them as they got older and made Math more enjoyable… not sure. I would like to read though one of the high school books someday.

Another new thing we started was more spelling and vocabulary work online with Spelling City.  It’s free and I like that the kids are learning to spell better with it. They seem to enjoy it and only use it 1-2 times a week.

The kids all got new Cursive books, and will be working on those most days.

Another new thing we are trying is Time 4 Learning online. It’s not free, and I’m not sure I will like it, but the kids really like to watch videos and learn that way, so I thought we should give it a try. I like how you can move up grade levels (or down) if you need to. Turner is set on 1-2 grade levels ahead on most subjects. UPDATE!

We tried it for one month. The kids liked the Science and History videos for the most part. The videos and voices are too ‘childish’ for my kids and they didn’t like them, especially the Language Arts. I decided to cancel my subscription. I felt like they weren’t learning enough to justify spending $35 a month. The curriculum was either too ‘childish’ or jumped up and expected them to be able to read paragraphs. It just didn’t seem put together that well.