Engaging Problem-Solving Gifted Science Curricula – William and Mary

One reason we wanted to homeschool the boys was to encourage them to think, not just recite.  Sometimes reciting is appropriate, but the ability to think through a problem or issue is a talent that is learned.  And it’s not learned quickly but through practice.  So many books, TV shows, and people just want to teach kids by telling them why something is how it is.  Yet, asking them why will probably yield better results.

Kids are amazingly deductive, even when they come up with some off-the-walls ideas.  Their ideas are not always right, but give them enough time, space, and supplies and they can probably come up with the right answers.

I received this product for free and am being compensated for the time to write the review.  This is an honest review of the product.

Problem Solving within Homeschool Studies. A gifted science curricula from William & Mary (Kendall Hunt) that works on problem solving skills.

We started flipping through the Kendall Hunt books, and I was amazed by the sheer amount of information in these books.  I actually double checked to make sure the guide said 2nd-4th grade.  But what I really noticed was that there was not much instruction at all.  There was not a lot of “This means x” or ‘This is how you solve the problem.”  There isn’t even an answer guide because so much of the information is dependent on deduction and interpretation.  Instead, the books provide this wonderful framework for getting your kids to think and solve problems.  And it does it in such a way that they want to solve the problem.

We went through the dinosaur book with all 3 boys.  Royal is the intended age group, but I wanted to see how Baloo would do and Logi-Bear loves dinosaurs, so there was no keeping him away.  So that’s a 5 year old, 7 year old (2nd grade) and 10 year old (5th grade) collaborating on this project.

Problem Solving within Homeschool Studies. A gifted science curricula from William & Mary (Kendall Hunt) that works on problem solving skills.

We had the opportunity to check out the Gifted Science course “What a Find” which reminds me of a day in the life of an archaeologist.  The original premise is actually about the first day on the job as an archaeologist, and what to do when construction workers find a fossil.  The kids are instructed to solve a few problems involved with archaeological digs (weather problems, digging problems, etc).  Immediately, all three boys were engrossed in the best way to solve the problems and were piggybacking off each other’s ideas to come up with the master plan.

Using the Gifted Science What a Find
Problem Solving within Homeschool Studies. A gifted science curricula from William & Mary (Kendall Hunt) that works on problem solving skills.

Each lesson is clearly laid out with all the necessary information, and typically all the required tools.  We started each lesson with a discussion on the vocabulary (and often a review of previous vocabulary).  While there were many handouts, we didn’t typically fill any out.  We discussed them verbally, which works much better for my kids who hate to write.  However, I found this even better because they really got into some in-depth discussions on the material.

Problem Solving within Homeschool Studies. A gifted science curricula from William & Mary (Kendall Hunt) that works on problem solving skills.

 

These two really soaked in the information.  What I really noticed was how some of the topics would come up later in conversation.  They learned how to identify the parts of a system and I would find them randomly pointing out systems (“Tucson is a system, right?”.  “Is a cloud a system?”)

After the di

Hands-On Problem Solving with the Scientific Method

Problem Solving within Homeschool Studies. A gifted science curricula from William & Mary (Kendall Hunt) that works on problem solving skills.

While we relying on discussing most of the material, there were multiple hands on activities.  This one involved testing different types of soil, testing for pH, observing differences, etc.  We don’t have many soil options here, but I did my best to collect a few different samples.  Luckily we have a garden so we were able to have the deep contrast between fertile garden soil and dry desert sand.

 

Next they needed to make an experimental design.  As someone who is in school to be a researcher, this was my favorite part.  I love setting up research design and I really want to pass that on.  They were curious if the pH level of the soil would have an effect on fossilization.  (It turns out that soil, in general, isn’t good for fossilization.)

Problem Solving within Homeschool Studies. A gifted science curricula from William & Mary (Kendall Hunt) that works on problem solving skills.

 

What about Average Students?

This unit is designed specifically for gifted students in 2nd to 4th grade, and I can see why.  It’s above and beyond what I would expect for a 2nd to 4th grader.  Having said that, my kids are not gifted.  And that’s okay, that’s just them.  We obviously cannot all be gifted.

So, as the parent of non-gifted children, what did I think?  They were fine with it!  They didn’t pick up on all the vocabulary, but they understood the concepts and truly flourished with the problem-setting set up.  They were able to think through all the questions and do all of the activities.  In fact, I think this program is exactly what is needed for all students.  It got them thinking and solving, creating and inventing.  It forced them out of the box with some wonderful results.

 

Where to Buy the Curriculum

William and Mary Gifted Science from Kendall Hunt

Kendall Hunt on Facebook

Kendall Hunt on Twitter

 

TLDR Version:

  • Gifted science curriculum (good for all kids though)
  • Works on problem-solving
  • Engaging yet rigorous
  • Hands on experiments

 

 

 

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