Friday, February 11, 2011

Curiosity Files ~ MRSA

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has come out with another great Unit Study Series.  The Curiosity Files are geared to help your child explore the wonderful oddities of science. They offer 9 different titles that are sure to get your 8-13 year old interested in the world around them.  You can purchase all 9 titles for $46.00, and they are available in instant PDF dowloadable format.  If you are low on storage space in your computer, or prefer CD-ROM format, they have that too!  It is available for $49.00.  Each one is also available for purchase separately, but it is best to check the website for individual pricing.

I want to take the time to define for you what a Unit Study is.  I remember back when I was just starting to homeschool, and people would talk about them, or I would see them as I searched the Internet for curriculum ideas....  and I never really understood what they were.  I don't want you to feel that same sense of confusion, so, here is my explanation of what a Unit Study is:  It is an in depth analysis of one topic, that incorporates other subjects to enrich learning. A study like this one, is science oriented, but it uses Math, Bible, and lots of Language Arts skills to reinforce the material.

We were able to choose the title that we wanted to study for this review, and my 3rd grader Hunter, chose to study MRSA.  We picked this nasty bacteria to study because his cousin, has an immune disorder, and is often affected by the MRSA bacteria.  We wanted to take the opportunity to better understand what someone we love has to fight often.

MRSA starts off with an introduction by Professor Ana Lyze. (The name makes me smile.) She very conversationally tells you all you never knew, you needed to know, about this little bacteria, that is simply EVERYWHERE. I would like to thank the developers of this study for permanently curing my 8 year old from picking his nose.  Ever since we learned how many germs are on absolutely everything we touch.... and that he has been putting those germs in his nose....  he is the picking police!

After learning the basics of the bacteria, there is a little "test" to see how much you have comprehended on the subject.  Here the study offers other ideas to increase the depth of study on this subject.  In our house, we let the older children who have taken or are taking Biology further explain why antibiotics don't work sometimes, and the differences in cellular structure between bacteria and viruses. 

The Bible Section does a good job addressing the issue of sickness from a biblical perspective, and leaves it nicely open to study the topic more in depth in the Scriptures.

In order to better understand just how small the MRSA bacteria is, the Math portion introduces the Metric System, and writing with Exponents.  For us, this complemented our current area of study in 3rd grade math very well.

I also enjoyed the Writing Section, which we did mostly through Narration.  This is really where an older student would really be able to shine and share all they had learned about this bacteria.  I liked the inclusion of the different methods you can use to develop your writing topic into a great essay or paper.

There are lots of ideas in the JUST FOR FUN section that help bring the studying of terms off the paper and into fun games that help you remember.

There was only one thing I saw that I might offer up as a change....Page 12 states that Bacterium "makes people and animals ill".  I offer up the addition of the word CAN into the definition.  God created some bacteria that are very useful, and without them we become sick....but maybe, those bacteria are another unit study waiting to be born.....

Overall, I think that the Curiosity Files E-Books are a great way to get your child interested in some obscure scientific topics.  They would be a great spring board for science projects in the upper grades, and certainly interesting enough to supplement your existing science curriculum.

Take the time to read reviews written by my TOS crew mates on the other 9 titles offered by The Old Schoolhouse Magazines Curiosity Files.

*** Disclaimer***
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received a copy of the E-Book MRSA , free of charge, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation was received.  All of the above opinions are my own.

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