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Aha!Science Curriculum for 3rd to 5th Grade Homeschool Science
Aha!Science is an online science curriculum designed for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. It's a great option for homeschoolers who are looking for a secular science curriculum and for parents who want to supplement a public or private school science curriculum. And it's affordable. A subscription costs just $15 per year per student. So, it's great for homeschoolers who are on a tight budget.
The curriculum uses animated learning modules to teach various scientific concepts. The animation are usually 6 to 8 minutes long. There are also quizzes, games and offline activities, such as labs or journals.
Life Science, Earth and Space Science and Physical Science are all covered in the curriculum. The curriculum is perfect for elementary age children. It's often easier for kids this age to learn through listening and interactive activities even if they are good readers. There is also a middle school curriculum for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades that I haven't used.
How Aha!Science Works
Aha!Science is an interactive curriculum that uses animations to teach. It could be used as a standalone curriculum supplemented by library books. Or you could use it to supplement another science curriculum.
The Aha!Science curriculum is divided up by topic, such as Life Science. Those topics are further divided up into subtopics like Energy Producers. Learning modules provide an overview of each lesson. Each module consists of slides that explain each topic using animations. Students can take a quiz at the end of each section to see how much they learned. They can also play games or engage in simulations that reinforce concepts learned in the learning modules. You can also print PDFs with related activities.
You can go to http://www.learning.com/ahascience to see actual samples of the curriculum and the topics covered. See http://www.learning.com/providers/learning/product.htm?ahascience-35curriculum to find the curriculum units.
Problems With Signing Up
Signing up as a parent or homeschooler can be a bit of a challenge. The program is designed for use by school districts. My first problem when I signed up is that a school district was required. I ended up using a district called e-California but I assume you could simply put your local district even if your child doesn't actually attend school there.
The second problem I ran into was being unable to find the Aha! Science program I had purchased once I logged in. I was too busy at the time to contact support. A few days later when I logged in again, the program was there. So, it looks like it takes time for the program you purchased to show up in your account.
The backend is designed with teachers in mind. There are lots of different options like enrolling students and setting up classes. I'm still learning how to navigate the backend. But at least I can get into the program and my child is enjoying using it and playing the games. This paragraph from the learning.com website makes it clear that school districts are the main focus.
Aha!Science empowers educators with instruction and implementation models that make teaching difficult concepts easier, teacher resources to support instruction, classroom management tools, and reporting capabilities to monitor student progress. Aha!Science can help you reach every student, and make science learning a success.
It would be great if they had a separate system for parents who purchase the program. Every time I log in I have to figure out how to find the program I signed up for. Despite these frustrations, I do love the program and would recommend it.
Overall, it's a great science learning option even if it isn't exactly user friendly. It's fun for kids and it takes some of the burden of teaching science off parents. My 8 year old goes through the program on her own. Personally, I think it's best used as a supplementary program for homeschoolers. I still do science reading, educational science videos and a workbook. But it's definitely a great addition to a homeschool science curriculum.
Life Science: Introduction to Life Sciences, Environments, Life on Earth, The Human Body, Plant and Animal Biology
Earth and Space Science: Astronomy, Earth Systems and Cycles, Introduction to Geology, The Solar System, Geology and Geological Processes, Weather, Natural Resources, Composition of the Solar System, Formation of Geological Resources and Landforms, Meteorology, Oceanography, Earth's Water Supply, Natural Resources: Renewable, Non-renewable, and Inexhaustible, A History of Life on Earth
Physical Science: Energy, Force: Pushes and Pulls, Introduction to Light, Matter, Introduction to Simple Machines, Electricity, Types of Energy, Light Energy, Magnetism, States of Matter, Introduction to Sound, Chemistry and Matter, Energy From the Sun and Other Sources, Electromagnetic Spectrum