Monday, July 07, 2014

Moving Beyond The Page ~ Tornado & Amazing Weather ~ Review

Are you fan of unit studies?

Unit studies are some of our favorite studies. We love them because you can learn so much and they can be really hands-on. That's why we were so excited that we recently had the opportunity to review a Language Arts Package - Tornado and a Science Package - Amazing Weather from Moving Beyond the Page. Moving Beyond the Page is a fantastic company that sells complete curriculum, but they also sell individual units so you can customize your studies or supplement a curriculum you are currently using.

We were able to pick two individual units from a fantastic list. The reason we choose Tornado and Amazing Weather is because we live in what is essentially known as tornado valley. I figured these studies would be wonderful for us and I figured right! They were more than I had anticipated and we are very thankful we had the opportunity to learn using them. The two units can be done separately but were designed to compliment each other. We choose to do both of them at the same time. Both units are recommended for ages 7-9 and they include everything you need for a full study. This was fantastic, as it really made doing the lessons stress free.

Language Arts

The Tornado Unit included:
  • An Online Tornado Teacher's Guide
We received the online teacher's guide for the language arts unit. It includes all of the lesson plans, and you can print the PDF worksheet pages as you need them or all from the start. You also have the opportunity to save them in a file. I choose to print them all and place them in a folder so I would have them ready as they were needed. This worked well for us.
I felt that the lessons were laid out nicely and I loved how they gave you an idea of how many days a lesson should take. I didn't worry though when a couple times we took three days instead of the suggested two.  I love that these can be customized to your child's needs. I also really appreciated that they also include a page that shows what a typical days use looks like. Although, I did appreciate being able to work at our own pace.

Lesson 1: Weather on the Farm (2 Days)
Lesson 2: The Storm (2 Days)
Lesson 3: The Tornado
Lesson 4: A Card Trick
Lesson 5: Turtles (2 Days)
Lesson 6: The Best Pet Award
Lesson 7: Conflict
Lesson 8: The End of the Storm (2 Days)
Lesson 9: Plot
Final Project: Think-Tac-Toe

I found the online lessons easy to navigate and liked that they were checked off as they were completed. They can also be accessed from a tablet. Having this option is very nice, especially for the family on the move.

My favorite part of the online lessons is that in the lesson there is a button called IdeaShare. If other parents/teachers have submitted ideas for that particular lesson, there is ideas and links to check out. I found a bunch of fantastic ideas using IdeaShare. Some I tried and others that were just as great but just didn't get around to doing.

One con to the online lessons is you only have 90 days to complete the unit from the day you activate it. So if you would like to revisit a lesson in the future a physical copy would be more ideal.
  • Tornado by Betsy Byars
This book was fantastic! I loved how each chapter is broke down with a worksheet for question and answers. I felt that this really helped us retain what we were reading. The story is about a dog and his friend, a young boy, that meet during a tornado, hence naming the dog Tornado. The boy develops a great bond with Tornado. My daughters were thrilled with the book and at times had a problem stopping for the day. We also had the opportunity to learn more about life on a farm and what a tornado is capable of doing. I liked that it was easy to read and that the print was large. Another great thing about this book was the dog, Tornado, looks a lot like our black lab, Cujo. My daughters could really relate to the bond the boy felt with Tornado.

  • (A Little Golden Book) How the Turtle Got Its Shell - Tales From Around the World 
 Another fantastic book and a great opportunity for us to learn more about turtles. We had a lot of fun doing research about turtles during this study. We now even have a pet turtle. My daughter even made a turtle out of boxes and insisted he watch a show about turtles with us. It was pretty cute.


The Amazing Weather Unit included:

  • Amazing Weather - Physical Teacher's Guide Book
The Teacher's Guide is a spiral bound book with lesson plans and student activity pages. We found the activities to be very educational and hands-on. We had a ton of fun doing the activities and a favorite of ours was creating a weather vane. Other examples of hands-on activities we did, was making a barometer, a tornado in a bottle, recording temps and rainfall. Recording rainfall couldn't have came at a better time. We live in an area that has been in a serious drought for some time. We just recently starting receiving a good amount of rainfall. I have to admit, it felt good to be able to complete this activity.   

Lesson 1: Whatever the Weather
Lesson 2: Heat and Temperature (2 Days)
Lesson 3: The Wind (2 Days)
Lesson 4: Precipitation (2 Days)
Lesson 5: Wild Weather
Lesson 6: Geography and Weather (2 Days)
Lesson 7: Reason for the Season
Lesson 8: Habitats and Weather
Final Project: Weather Report

One con to the physical copy is that the pages cannot be copied. However, you can buy a separate set of student activity pages if you want an extra or to use with multiple children.

  • On the Same Day in March - Written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Frane Lessac
This book was a great addition to our weather study. It is beautifully illustrated and we loved how the author describes the many different types of weather, agriculture, geography and cultures from all around the world

  • DK - Eye Wonder - Weather
Another great addition to the unit. This book was used when learning more in depth on a particular subject. It was nice to be able to open to a certain page to gain more knowledge and the illustrations were fun and eye catching. It was also easy to read.

  • Boiling Point Thermometer
This was used during an activity, where my daughter had to record a daily temp. I thought it was great that it was included and my daughter enjoyed learning to read it as well.

Final Thoughts 

Both units were filled with fun activities to do and learn. There was never any dull moments with these units. Both units were thought out and put together so well. I really loved not having to plan, but just do. I did feel that some of the writing activities were a bit hard for my daughters, but we were able to change things to make it work. Sometimes by drawing and other times by having them tell me, me write it, and them copy it. The thing is, it worked for us. That's what I loved about both units.  Overall, we had a ton of fun learning about the many different subjects and I would highly recommend them to someone looking for a unit that requires little planning and lots of fun learning.  I will definitely keep Moving Beyond the Page in mind when I'm looking for units in the future.

What do these Individual Units cost?

Language Arts Package - Tornado -  Physical Unit is $24.97 and the Online Unit $20.91

Science Package - Amazing Weather - Physical Unit is $36.97 and the Online Unit $32.91
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Not everyone on the crew received the same units. Click below to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew 
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1 comment:

  1. We enjoyed our Tornado/Weather unit too! Thanks for a great review!


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