We have been using science units from The Good and the Beautiful for two years now. Last year, we completed the units for Marine Biology (free), Chemistry, Human Body, Arthropods, and Into to Energy (this used to be 2 units, they have now been combined into one unit). This year, I scheduled fewer units for us to complete to leave room in our schedule to insert additional science topics as needed: Space Science, Energy, Kingdoms and Classification, and Botany.
Most of the units were purchased as PDF downloads and printed at home. I would then take the pages that I wanted bound to a local print shop. I printed the mini-books, the vocabulary words, handouts, and extra copies of student pages and stored them in clear plastic folders from Dollar Tree. For most of the units, I took the time to laminate the vocabulary words, as they would be hung and removed from our science wall. Laminating also makes the pieces stiffer so they will not curl or get creases.
Our Science wall is simply two poster boards attached to the classroom wall with 3M Command Poster Strips. I hang words or diagrams on the posters with tape and poster putty, so by the end of the year, the posters are pretty beat up looking. Better the posters than my walls!
When I start a new unit, I pull all of the printed pages from the plastic pocket and divide into file folders by lesson number while flipping through the bound lesson book. This also ensures that I printed everything that needs printing, and gives me a chance to review what additional materials will be needed for each lesson. I also look at the read aloud suggestions at the beginning of the book and decide whether to order the listed books or borrow similar books from the library.
For storing student pages this year, we are using bradded folders as science notebooks for each unit instead of keeping all the science pages in one larger binder. We used the big binder last year, and while it worked, I had the idea that a folder for each unit would be better. I thought the kids might enjoy having each unit stored separately. We are using folders for all subjects in this way. After being on our third unit using the folders, I really do not think the kids have any preference for doing it this way. Personally, I am leaning back to binders for next year.
Back to our science units. Usually, we complete two lessons a week. Before each week, I put the file folders for those lessons and any read aloud books on the science pocket of our book rack. This is also where the kids’ science folders are kept. Each science day, I grab that lesson’s file folder of materials, the lesson book, the optional read aloud book, and supplies needed for experiments. At the end of the week, I swap out the file folders for next week’s lessons. At the end of the unit, I empty the numbered file folders and put the materials back into the plastic folder and start over loading the file folders with the next unit’s materials.
You might be wondering why not leave the pages in the numbered file folders. I just find it bothersome to store multiple sets of file folders. I like the compactness of putting everything into one plastic folder and keeping it with the lesson book on our bookshelf for another year. I also find the spiral bound books take up less space than keeping the materials in 3-ring binders.
I plan to do another set of 4-5 units next year, such as weather, geology, or mammals. My oldest will be using Apologia Biology for science, and since by middle child will be in 8th grade, I might switch her to Apologia Physical Science and then do The Good and the Beautiful units that coordinate with the physical science chapters with the youngest child. I’m still deciding.
I hope our organizational methods have provided some new ideas for organizing your science units.