One of the issues I’ve struggled with over my years of homeschooling is the desire to do hands-on science projects with my children and the time/effort/inconvenience needed to gather all of the materials to do so. While I adore doing hands-on projects with my children, I do not enjoy gathering up all of the needed materials, running out at the last minute to purchase that one thing I thought I had but I actually don’t, and realizing that I can’t do the desired project because I just can’t find or purchase a required object. Therefore, all in one hands-on kits have always greatly appealed to me!
Given my love of the convenience of hands-on, educational kits, I was thrilled when I was contacted by a representative from The Young Scientists Club to review one of their new kits. I chose Science on a Tracking Expedition from their Nature Series. Science on a Tracking Expedition is geared for children ages 4 and up. I am using it with my 9 and 12 year old sons, and I also plan to include my 14 year old daughter in some of the activities as well. Most of the materials in the kit can be used multiple times, making it quite practical for more than one child to use at once. As well, the materials that may need to be replaced with multiple users (dirt, plaster of paris, paints, and plastic bowls) are quite easy to gather or purchase.
The primary focus of this hands-on kit is on learning to identify and appreciate animal tracks. Children (and adults) learn to identify many different animal tracks such as Black Bear, Great Blue Heron, Gray Wolf, Raccoon, Opossum, Wild Turkey, Whitetailed Deer, and Striped Skunk. Utilizing the materials included in this kit, children learn about animals tracks through a wide variety of hands-on activities. The very clear instruction manual included has directions for the adult and also has directions written directly to the child. Hands-on activities include:
- Making animal track prints using the plastic animal track molds
- Matching the animal tracks to the animals using stickers and a big poster perfect for a child’s room or schoolroom
- Writing a short story based on the arrangement of animal tracks at the bottom of the poster
- Making animal casts using the materials provided
- Making animal casts from real tracks found on a nature hike
- Attracting animals to a specific area of one’s yard and identifying the animal tracks
- Playing a matching memory game in which animal tracks are matched to the animal
While there is definitely enough educational material included to spend at least a week of science lessons exploring the activities, this kit could easily be the beginning of a unit study about animal tracks. Additional books, videos, or field trips could be added to learn more about the featured animal tracks.
If you would like to learn more about Science on a Tracking Expedition or other educational science kits, you can visit The Young Scientists Club website to learn more about the wide variety of products they offer. Science on a Tracking Expedition is available for purchase at The Young Scientists Club website for $29.99.
Samantha has homeschooled her three children since her oldest child was in first grade. She uses a wide variety of curriculum in her homeschool to best meet the needs of her children. Samantha writes about homeschooling and family life at To Be Busy At Home. Samantha received the Science on a Tracking Expedition kit free in exchange for her review of the product. No other compensation, monetary or otherwise was given for her review.