Homeschool Science Unit Study: Over 300 Topics To Help You Plan (Checklist)

by Love Your Homeschool

Homeschool Science Unit Study:  Need inspiration finding a science topic to study? You have come to the right place!  This is a HUGE list of homeschool science unit study topics organized by scientific branch to help you find a study area quickly and easily.

 

What is a Science Unit Study?

Unit studies in general are an alternative approach to the traditional classroom textbook/worksheet/test method that most of us are familiar with.

The Unit Study method of homeschooling (also known as “Thematic Studies”) examines one topic extensively across a diverse set of academic subjects.

A Science Unit Study takes you deeper into the subject and attempts to take your child away from textbooks, worksheets (although they do have their place!), repetition, rote memorization, tests, boredom and drudgery.  Instead, this method relies on living books, read alouds, hands on experiments, real world experiences, observation, creative projects, documentaries, field trips and activities that aim at fostering a love of learning.

 

You are not just teaching Science because many subjects are involved.

 

A Science Unit Study  infuses the topic of choice with literature, writing, field trips and projects, history, art, music, poetry, social studies, reading and sometimes math, phonics, grammar and spelling, if applicable.

 It is a beautiful, gentle, and fun way for children to learn.  In fact, most of the time it doesn’t FEEL like learning at all.


CLICK IMAGE BELOW TO GET YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD!

 

FREE Science Topic Checklist  (OVER 300 IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT UNIT STUDY!)

PLUS

Blank and Editable Weekly Unit Study Schedule (TYPE OR WRITE!)

Science Unit Studies Printable


 

 

Check out the comparison below to get a better idea of what a science unit study on clouds would look like vs. a traditional  method: 

 

Traditional

  • You open your science curriculum and read the chapter pertaining to clouds, their formation and the different types
  • You hand your child a worksheet and ask them to answer the questions.
  • You supplement the chapter with a short YouTube video, documentary, picture book or art activity.
  • Maybe you take it another step further and do an experiment with them.
  • Tomorrows lesson…something new.

Result?  

Your child has been introduced to clouds and has scratched the very surface.  

Long term retention is generally low.

 

Unit Study 

You have decided your next science unit study topic will be clouds for your elementary child.  You want to go beyond the science and weave clouds into as many subjects as possible.  You will have your child start a Cloud Notebook so that the unit and its activities can all be kept in one place for documentation, progress and even as a keepsake.

  • Literature, Picture Books and Read Alouds. Your first stop is the library.  With your child you load up your bag with as many books as you can on the subject.  You let your child pick out which science books on clouds, rain and meterology they like best and also pick out engaging picture books that will read more like a story.  You spend the next couple weeks reading aloud the books of their choice.
  • Science Observations.  You spend time on the first day going on a nature walk and talking about the clouds you see above.  Or you spread a blanket on the grass and watch the clouds go by, all the while, trying, with your child, to identify the types you see.   You help him create a visual chart showing the different types of clouds and hang it next to a popular window.  Your child will spend the next two weeks keeping a daily record of the cloud types and the weather of the day so they can start to see a connection between the two.   You are hoping that by the end of the unit your child will be able to identify 2 or 3 clouds by their proper name and what type of weather they are associated with.
  • You find videos on clouds from YouTube, documentaries, short clips and other media to supplement your child’s observations.  You can choose to have them create a simple notebook page after each video,  draw something interesting about what they watched or simply narrate back to you what they watched.
  • History  You pick a living book about the history of clouds or find information on the internet regarding what the ancients believed about clouds, what their words were for them and how they wove them into their belief systems, as well as how they used them to predict weather before modern meteorology.  Cloud mythology can combine history with literature.  The Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Native Americans have beautiful myths regarding clouds.  Fun and engaging stories that create a sense of wonder for your child.  You also find information about the scientist Luke Howard or read aloud The Invention of Clouds by Richard Hamblyn little by little over the unit.  Luke Howard was an amateur meteorologist who made influential discoveries about clouds that affect modern meteorology today.  Your child creates notebook pages based on history, scientists and mythology and adds them to their notebook.
  • Hands on Science Experiments. The options are endless and can be tailored to your child’s age and ability.  Pinterest is an awesome source to find specific cloud related experiment ideas.  You choose two or three and your goal over the next 2 weeks is to pepper them in here and there so that they can all be completed.
  • Reading and Writing. For daily copywork practice you have your child write vocabulary words, cloud quotes, passages from your read aloud or picture books or important things to remember about clouds.  For example, today you have asked her to copy the following quote from Luke Howard.  First, they read the passage back to you and then write to the best of their ability.

“The wispy, white ones like pulled cotton candy

are called “cirrus.”  

The thundery ones that look like piled scoops of

dark ice cream are “cumulonimbus.”

You can also have your child do crossword puzzles, word searches, word mazes, make flip books or another language art based activities all within the cloud theme.

  • Music  Yes!  There are songs about clouds, weather, the water cycle, hurricanes, storms, wind…you name it.  You can find one to practice with your child on YouTube or you can enjoy them all by creating a playlist and listening together during certain times of the day.  Just like with poetry memorization, song memorization can be included in their studies.  Its fun!  They don’t even realize how much they are learning!
  • ArtPainting!  Drawing! Creating!  So many options!! Art can be infused with their science experiments.  Whatever you choose to do (or give your child the choice!) add it to their cloud notebook or take pictures, print them out and add those instead.  If the weather is nice, set a piece of plywood up against a tree, tape a large piece of paper over it and ask them to paint what they see in the sky today.
  •   Math  You can choose to stick to your usual curriculum or you can find ways to infuse your cloud theme into math time as well.  Counting activities with cloud printables, cards and manipulatives for little ones. Pinterest has a plethora of options for younger children.  Older children can be introducted to cloud cover percentages and how high in the atmosphere each cloud type is then convert those figures into different forms of measurements.  For example. “cumulonibous clouds can be found at altitudes ranging from 500m to 16,000m in the sky. Show these altitudes in miles and feet.”

Result?  

Your child has been immersed in clouds and weather for the last couple weeks.  

Long term retention will be higher.  

As a bonus, your child has had lots of fun learning and will probably approach the next science unit study with excitement.  

Remember that unit studies can be simple and short or in depth and of longer duration.  They can last a week or a year.  

It is all up to you and your childs interest level.  Either way, it is a more interesting, engaging and immersive form of learning that any homeschool parent can do.  (You probably already do it informally at some level and just didn’t realize there was a name for it!)

How to Plan a Homeschool Science Unit Study

Why Teach a Science Unit Study?

Science topics are easy to start with.  In fact, science is one of the BEST subjects for your first foray into this method.  Why?  Because science can be really, really dry or really, really interesting depending how it is presented.

I like to make this subject come alive as much as possible and to feel less like learning.  It’s easier on us parents and the kids LOVE it.  Plus, it is fun learning right along side of them!

Here are a few reasons why you should consider a science unit study in your homeschool.

  1. Science Unit Studies are Interesting

    By using a variety of resources like living books, field trips, outside activities, hands on activities and experiments, projects, board games, puzzles, art,  building toys, your own backyard, museums and manipulatives you encourage creativity, critical thinking and self discovery.  Unit studies can be perfect for the child who learns differently, has trouble sitting still or just plain glazes over at the sight of a textbook.

  2. Science Unit Studies are Flexible

    Since unit studies take us away from the traditional way of learning, they can take us away from the traditional schedule as well.  You and your children decide how long to study a unit based on interest levels.  There are no time restraints!  Unit Studies work really well for families that have work limitations, military families in the middle of a long and disruptive move,  families who roadschool, families with multiple children at different learning levels, and families who want to keep learning during school breaks but not with their usual studies.

    You can keep everything you love about homeschool in your Unit Studies (field trips, nature study, art, music, hands on activities, read alouds and living books) and eliminate everything you don’t. (textbooks, worksheets, rote memorization, tests).  Because Unit Studies are highly adaptable, children can learn at their own pace, at their own level and all within a very gentle setting.

  3. Science Unit Studies are Great for Families with Multi-level Learners

    Are you a large family with children at different levels doing different things?  Are you bouncing back and forth between the youngest and the oldest, constantly shifting gears to help with their needs?  It is incredibly time consuming for YOU to be everything to everyone as well as having to stay on top of your childrens different curriculums.

    For me personally, it is a recipe for burn out.  I just can’t do it ALL THE TIME.  When I try, I go crazy, become hurried, cranky and forgetful.  Trying to keep up with everyone individually is one of those aspects of homeschool that I don’t enjoy.   Since I’m always looking for ways to simplify, discovering unit studies has been a life saver.  With several children you can all study ONE topic together.

    Within that topic there are many activities, field trips, read clouds, and projects that can be done together as a group.  Then, unit studies are individualized for each student by giving them a variation of the same activity based on their level.  Little ones join in too!  They feel included in the learning and you are freed from having to squeeze things in during nap time.  Plus they benefit immensely by being surrounded by topics, vocabulary and activities that are generally thought to be to advanced for them.  Group work, yet individualized….all happening at the same time.  SO. MUCH. EASIER.

  4. Science Unit Studies Avoid Brain Dumps

    There is a type of magic that happens when you dive deep into a subject.  I call it the “Homeschool Secret Sauce”.   Children who are “living” a topic in a fun, engaging and hands on way rather than just reading about it typically have higher retention.  Also, because the goal is to inspire a love of and an excitement for learning we have a better chance at sparking unforgettable learning experiences that stay with our children as treasured memories.

    What is amazing about Unit Studies is that much of it doesn’t even feel like learning, but the learning is DEEP and REAL.  Children in school become experts at learning which important facts, figures and dates they need to know to pass the test.  After the test, that information is dumped to make room for the next.  No teaching to the test here.  You are teaching for true connection, discovery and retention.

  5. Science Unit Studies are Individualized

    Unit Studies are highly adaptable and can be individualized to specific interests and learning needs.  By stepping outside the box, they can be perfect for children with different learning needs, who are advanced for their age, who are kinestetic learners or who simply hates bookwork.  Unit studies can be tailored to suit any type of learning style.  Children are able to learn at their own level, at their own pace and all in a gentle, effective setting.  You control what is presented and how it is presented, tailoring the learning experience based on your unique child or family.

  6. Science Unit Studies are Cheap

    Because you are not having to purchase expensive curriculum and you are usually finding free and cheap resources online, it can be a really inexpensive way to homeschool.  Perfect for those on a tight budget and those with large families where school can get very expensive very fast when having to purchase curriculum for each level.  I feel broke just thinking about the cost associated with multiple children!

    Unit studies have allowed us to keep our money and use it for enriching travels, field trips and museum and science center memberships instead.  The whole family benefits from these experiences together!   The only things you really need to start a  science unit study are a library card, an awesome microscope (we use this one and really love it) and art supplies.  The rest can be purchased here and there and as needed.

    Homeschool Science Unit Study Topics

 

Homeschool Science Unit Study Topics

I put this list together for myself so that I could have topics to choose from all in one place and seperated by scientific branch.  I keep this list in my homeschool planner and mark off topics as we study them.

This list is separated by the 3 main branches of science:  Physical, Earth and Life.

Within each branch the topics are separated again by field of study:  Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and so on.  

Science is so hard to box in since many of the disciplines are studied in multiple branches. There is also some repetition as some topics can be studied from different perspectives.  For example, a study on the atmosphere can be included in astronomy or weather.  I have tried to limit the repetition and will let you decided which branch the subject fits best in for you and your family.

When found, I have included links to free or cheap unit studies, lesson plans, or resources guides as STARTING POINTS to help you design your own study.   If you know of an awesome unit study for one of the topics below, let me know and I will include a link in the post!

 

Earth Science Unit Study Topics

  •  

Geology and Geography

Paleontology

  • Careers in Paleontology
  • Ancient Life Forms
  • Dinosaurs
  • Evolution $
  • Fossils (Animal and Plant) $
  • Geological Time Scale and Processes
  • Prehistoric Life
  • Prehistoric Time Periods
    • Cenozoic Period
    • Mesozoic Period
    • Paleozoic Period

Meteorology

Oceanography


CLICK IMAGE BELOW TO GET YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD!

Science Unit Studies Printable


 

Life Science Unit Study Topics

Ecology

Biology

Zoology

Botony

 

Physical Science Unit Study Topics

Astronomy

Chemistry

Physics

What topic did you choose for your next Science Unit Study??  How did it go?  Let us all know in the comments!

Also, please share in the comments if you know of a cheap or free unit study on one of the topics above and I will link to it in the post.


 

DON’T FORGET TO GRAB YOUR FREE SCIENCE UNIT STUDIES A-Z CHECKLIST 

 

PLUS

 

BLANK AND EDITABLE WEEKLY UNIT STUDY PLANNER!

Love your homeschool post signature

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Sign up below to get your FREE Science Activities Guide
By signing up, you are agreeing to receive marketing emails from Love Your Homeschool. 100% Private. We never share your info. Read the Privacy Policy.
Thanks for Joining!
You may have to check your spam folder.
Your freebie is being delivered to your inbox now!
Complete!
Sign up below to get your FREE Burgess Bird Book Notebooking Pack
By signing up, you are agreeing to receive marketing emails from Love Your Homeschool. 100% Private. We never share your info. Read the Privacy Policy.
Sign up below to get your FREE Science Topics Checklist and Unit Study Weekly Schedule!
By signing up, you are agreeing to receive marketing emails from Love Your Homeschool. 100% Private. We never share your info. Read the Privacy Policy.
Sign up below to get your FREE Activities for Deschooling PDF!
By signing up, you are agreeing to receive marketing emails from Love Your Homeschool. 100% Private. We never share your info. Read our Privacy Policy for more information