Homeschooling in Iowa

Nature Studies

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Nature Studies
 Things to See & Do in Iowa
 Activities & Experiments
 Nature Studies Curricula
 Nature Studies Books

Things to See & Do in Iowa Back to Top
Blank Park Zoo
Des Moines, IA
The Blank Park Zoo is located in Des Moines and features animal exhibits and educational programs. The mission of the Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education and recreation. Blank Park Zoo has been a part of the Des Moines metro community since 1963.
Blank Park Zoo Home School Programs
Des Moines, IA
The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines offers a number of home school programs, including Home School Safari, Zookeeper for a Day, and Home School Day. You can also schedule your own home school class.
Iowa Wildlife Center
Ames, IA
The Iowa Wildlife Center is a wildlife sanctuary and education center that rehabilitates furred, feathered and scaled animals, restores habitats and educates the public about its animals and its work.
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
Dubuque, IA
The Mission of the Dubuque County Historical Society [and its National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium] is to explore life of Dubuque, the Mississippi River, and the Rivers of America and their global connections, and to research, interpret, educate and promote the conservation of their historical and natural environment. The National Mississippi River Museum is the nation's premier center to interpret and preserve the Mississippi River's natural environment and history, inspire a global audience, and create more knowledgeable and engaged citizens.
Old MacDonald's Farm, Bever Park
Cedar Rapids, IA
Old MacDonald’s Farm, Bever Park’s Children’s Zoo, is operated by Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation. Located on the SE side of Cedar Rapids, it is a free public zoo and features farm animals and North American waterfowl. This city landmark is over 100 years old and is enjoyed by people of all ages. Open Daily from late April to early October.
Osborne Park
Elkader, IA
The Osborne Park features a Native Wildlife Exhibit, walking trails, open shelters, Nature and Welcome Center, gift shop. The Osborne Center offers a wide variety of programs to students from preschool to high school. All programs offered to students who live within Clayton County are free of charge; out-of-county students will be charged $2 per student. On-site field trips to the Osborne Center are offered throughout the year. Some of the programs offered at the Osborne Center include archery, native wildlife exhibit tours, canoeing, nature walks, scavenger hunts, and track detectives.
Science Center of Iowa
Located in Des Moines, the Science Center of Iowa offers a chance for kids to learn about science through interactive experiments and exhibits. You'll find exhibits with reptiles and amphibians, lasers, robots, music, a giant pendulum, a space theater, and more.
Storybook Hill Children's Zoo
Dubuque, IA
Storybook Hill Children’s Zoo was established in 1976, in partnership with the Optimists Clubs of Dubuque, as an effort to increase the knowledge and understanding of common animals among the people of Dubuque. The zoo is a replica of an American farm from the 1940’s, and contains a wide variety of animals that a person visiting this time period might see on an actual farm.

Activities & Experiments Back to Top
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
Handbook of Nature Study
Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.

Nature Studies Curricula Back to Top
Apologia Educational Ministries
Apologia publishes several science textbooks that are especially suited to the homeschool environment. They are filled with easy to understand lessons and experiments which can easily be performed at home. The curriculum is also backed by a question/answer support system. This set of textbooks is written under the "Exploring Creation" name. There are three elementary level texts: Their middle school and high school texts include:
  • Exploring Creation With General Science
  • Exploring Creation With Physical Science
  • Exploring Creation With Biology
  • Exploring Creation With Chemistry
  • Exploring Creation With Physics
  • The Human Body: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
  • Exploring Creation With Marine Biology
  • Advanced Chemistry in Creation
  • Advanced Physics in Creation
  • Plus other texts
    Considering God's Creation
    Considering God's Creation is a creative in-depth encounter with natural science from a biblical perspective. It is adaptable for grades 2-7. This is a large 272-page book that comes with a Teacher's Manual with audio CD.
    Great Science Adventures
    Great Science Adventures is a series of books that offer a creative approach to learning science. Each one showcases the series' method of using creative, hands-on activities to enhance exploratory learning. Each book contains 24 lessons, with 2-3 lessons completed each week. The unique format contains activities and basic content appropriate for grades K through 8. Perfect for multilevel teaching or if you want to challenge your advanced students individually. Titles include:
    • Discovering the Human Body and Senses
    • The World of Tools and Technology
    • Discovering Earth's Landforms and Surface Features
    • The World of Space
    • The World of Insects and Arachnids
    • The World of Plants
    • The World of Light and Sound

    Nature Studies Books Back to Top
    A History of Science
    A History of Science is not a textbook, but is a guide to help parents and children study science through literature. It is intended for children in elementary grades.
      
    Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Published: 2002

    With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

    In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.



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