Otter's Physical Science Curriculum / Schedule

Otter studied physical science in 7th grade. We used a combination of Apologia's Physical Science and Exploration Education's Physical Science Advanced. I added in a bunch of extras like living books, websites, printables and more.

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My notes about this year: While Otter didn't care for either of the main texts he used, he did enjoy many of the extra books, movies and activities I scheduled in as supplements. I think he learned and retained more from the extras than he did the main texts.

If you have younger kids, you can have them study the same subject this year. Just have them skip the main text(s) and use the extras - many of which are great for a multitude of ages. You can also look over my rough physics schedule I used in an earlier year for even more ideas.

Click here for the schedule in .docx format (Microsoft Word) - This schedule is in a topics format, NOT a weekly/daily format. I like topics schedules because they are more flexible and allow you to go as fast or as slow as you need to.

I've listed the books other items schedule in the table down below. Online videos, websites, printables and other online resources are not listed below. You can find those items in the schedule itself. Feel free to use whatever you like, whether it's listed or not. Also, don't be afraid of substitutions! If your library doesn't have a book, you can use any other book or material that covers the same topic.

Warning, what might be right for one family, may not be for another. Use at your own discretion!

Otter is rated the books as we went through them. The ratings reflect his personal opinion of the material(s) and may not match mine, lol.
1 star = Awful
2 stars = Not that great
3 stars = O.K.
4 stars = Good
5 stars = Terrific! I LOVE IT!

Spine books / materials - These items are scheduled out over a period of time so you'll need to purchase whatever you are interested in using.

The rest of the books are listed below this section.

Exploration Education Physical Science Advanced

Exploration Education Physical Science Advanced

Click here to see a table of contents.

Otter's rating: 1 star

Otter's comments: "The program says it's advanced, but I already knew almost all of the topics. I didn't like the computer part of the lesson. I did like some of the experiments and activities. The things I built were fun to make but they were not sturdy and broke all of the time. The racer was the only thing that didn't break."

My comments: I really had high expectations for Exploration Education. It looked awesome. However, neither one of us liked it much at all. Part of that is the subject matter itself since neither Otter nor I is a huge fan of physical science to begin with.

Otter thought the computer lessons were flat out boring. The offline activities included a lot of "model building" - think glue gun, sanding paper, etc. Many of the items Otter built were too fragile for their intended purposes, like the glider which lasted all of 1-2 days, broke and then was useless for the rest of the experiments.

Despite our negative review of Exploration Education, I've read many other reviews of families and kids who've loved it. Take a look at the samples online to see if it will work for you.

Exploring Creation With Physical Science

Exploring Creation With Physical Science

Otter's rating: 1 star

Otter thought Apologia's Physical Science was the most boring of all the Apologia books he's encountered so far. He really enjoyed General Science and the Apologia elementary series of books, but this one was a dud (for him).

Apologia's Physical Science book is generally used in either 8th or 9th grade. I thought it was perfectly fine for 7th grade, but Otter had already been exposed to a LOT of science - so take that into account.

Exploring Creation with Physical Science Lapbook

Exploring Creation with Physical Science Lapbook

I thought this was a worthwhile addition to the Apologia book. It comes with printables for the text's On Your Own Questions, review questions, etc. set up lapbook style (little foldables, etc.). It also comes with a variety of lab and experiment worksheets.

I think it made working on the text questions easier as it seemed to break them down into individual little projects instead of a huge block of "stuff to answer" that might feel overwhelming to some students. It also made a nice notebook of goodies that was easy to review and helped retention.

If your kids loved lapbooking when they were younger, this will probably be a hit. If they hated it, you're probably better off skipping it.

Otter did NOT enjoy this lapbook, but it DID help him learn the concepts better and helped break up the boring text some.

Exploring the World of Physics: From Simple Machines to Nuclear Energy

Exploring the World of Physics: From Simple Machines to Nuclear Energy *Christian book

Otter's rating: 4 stars

Otter really liked this book. He knocked one star off because he says the questions at the end of each chapter are "really hard".

Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy

Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy

"Science Matters is a rare exception-a science book for the general reader that is informative enough to be a popular textbook for introductory courses in high school and college, and yet well-written enough to appeal to general readers uncomfortable with scientific jargon and complicated mathematics." Quote from Amazon

Otter's rating: 4 stars

This is a book written for adults. However, I found the topics to be quite accessible and easy to understand. We did this book as a read-aloud and Otter enjoyed it. We only read the chapters that pertained to this year's study but will return to it when we study biology. I consider this book a terrific addition to any homeschooler's shelf!

*Warning: for those of you who care, it does mention evolution and is from a totally secular standpoint.

BrainPOP

Otter's rating: 5 stars

BrainPOP can be accessed via subscription. A SINGLE USER homeschool subscription is $99. You do not need a multi-user subscription unless you have multiple children who will be using BrainPOP at the same time on different computers.

Otter enjoys the short, humorous BrainPOP movies. I like the quizzes that follow to check his retention of the concepts.

La Crosse Technology WS-1516-IT Professional Weather Center

La Crosse Technology WS-1516-IT Professional Weather Center

Otter's rating: 5 stars

Otter got this for Christmas one year and really loves it. We used it to chart and monitor the weather during Apologia's module 7 (and Otter keeps an eye on it all year round anyway). It's expensive, but we've enjoyed it for several years now.

Books and materials used short term (so maybe you can get some from your library)!
Millions to Measure

Millions to Measure

Otter's rating: 5 stars

I used this book when we covered the metric system in the Apologia text. It's a picture book intended for a younger audience, but Otter thought it was enjoyable.

Paddington Takes the Air

Paddington Takes the Air

*Literature link for the Apologia chapter on air

Otter still likes fun stories like this one (no, he's not too old!). We never got around to it though because of time constraints.

A Drop Of Water

A Drop Of Water

Otter's rating: 5 stars

This is a beautiful book that makes a nice supplement for module 4 in the Apologia text. There are experiments in the back of the book as well as all sorts of interesting facts sprinkled throughout.

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

*History and science connection!

Otter's rating: 2 stars

Poo on Otter for his bad rating! I think this is a great book. grin

We already read this book when we studied ancient history. It's a nice review that fits into module 6 of the Apologia text.

*Note: I often reuse (shorter) books, when I can. It helps refresh Otter's memory and it also helps connect things we studied in other subjects. Even though we already used this book for history, it was a perfect addition to our science study this year!

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth

*Literature link

This is another book we didn't have time for.

The Weather Book (Wonders of Creation, Vol. 1)

The Weather Book (Wonders of Creation, Vol. 1) *Christian book

Otter's rating: 5 stars

Free study guide

We've used this book in the past when studying weather. It's a decent book with lots of photos and illustrations (but it's not as beautiful inside as the cover would lead you to believe), as well as a section on Noah and the flood. There are a few activities in the back like "make a barometer" and "make a rain gauge".

The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather

The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather

I got this from the library, but Otter never got around to reading it. It's in depth and great if you have a weather nut.

Electric Storm (Magic School Bus Chapter Books, No. 14)

Electric Storm (Magic School Bus Chapter Books, No. 14)

Free electric storm lapbook

We never got around to the Magic School Bus books or lapbooks. They might be good if you are doing this schedule and want to include your younger students.

Hurricane & Tornado (DK Eyewitness Books)

Hurricane & Tornado (DK Eyewitness Books)

We got this from the library, but Otter doesn't remember enough about it to give it a rating.

Tornado Tube

Tornado Tube

Otter's rating: 5 stars

We have one of these and all 3 kids have had fun with it over the years. We like to put "stuff" in the water like food coloring and glitter to make it extra fun. It's inexpensive and something I highly recommend to add a bit of fun to your studies!

Tornado: Nature in Action

Tornado: Nature in Action

We got this from the library, but Otter doesn't remember enough about it to give it a rating.

The Magic School Bus Chapter Book #05: Twister Trouble

The Magic School Bus Chapter Book #05: Twister Trouble

Twister Trouble lapbook

We never got around to the Magic School Bus books or lapbooks. They might be good if you are doing this schedule and want to include your younger students.

Storm Chasers/Perfect Disaster

Storm Chasers/Perfect Disaster

Otter's rating: 5 stars

 

Raging Planet

Raging Planet

NOVA: Hunt for the Supertwister

NOVA: Hunt for the Supertwister


Amazon Streaming (free for prime members)

Also at Netflix
How to Think Like a Scientist: Answering Questions by the Scientific Method

How to Think Like a Scientist: Answering Questions by the Scientific Method

Otter's rating: 5 stars

I think it's a shame this book doesn't have color illustrations. It does a good job explaining the scientific method though.

This book is also featured in my Chemistry Curriculum.

Investigating the Scientific Method with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Investigating the Scientific Method with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Otter's rating: 3 stars - His rating went down a star from the previous time he read it for chemistry.

This comic book is a fun, quick read.

This book is also featured in my Chemistry Curriculum.

Graphic Discoveries: Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion

Graphic Discoveries: Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion

Google preview

*History and science connection!

This comic book / graphic novel is an easy, fun read.

Isaac Newton and His Apple: Dead Famous

Isaac Newton and His Apple: Dead Famous

*History and science connection!

Otter likes this series of books. I wasn't able to get this one though.

How Do You Lift a Lion?

How Do You Lift a Lion?

Otter's rating: 4 stars

This book is very simple and meant for young students but since we had it on hand from previous years, I went ahead and pulled it out. Otter likes it and it gives an illustrated introduction to forces.

Fatal Forces (Horrible Science)

Fatal Forces (Horrible Science)

Otter's rating: 4 stars
Otter knocked a star off because he hates reading books with British spelling and unfamiliar British words. Otherwise, he really enjoyed the content and the cartoons.

I highly recommend this series!

Awesome Experiments in Force & Motion

Awesome Experiments in Force & Motion

Otter's rating: 5 stars

Google preview


This is a great book full of short & easy tricks that help you learn some science concepts. If you can't get the book, at least take a peek at the Google link above and play around with a few of the "tricks" that you can see in the preview.

A Crash Course in Forces and Motion with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

A Crash Course in Forces and Motion with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Otter's rating: 3 stars

Cal and the Amazing Anti-Gravity Machine

Cal and the Amazing Anti-Gravity Machine

*Literature Link

Otter's rating: 4 stars

The Ocean Of Truth: The Story Of Sir Isaac Newton

The Ocean Of Truth: The Story Of Sir Isaac Newton

*History and science connection!

This is a Christian book that's also featured in my Awesome History Timeline Schedule.

Nicolaus Copernicus, the Earth Is a Planet

Nicolaus Copernicus, the Earth Is a Planet

*History and science connection!

This is a book that's also featured in my Awesome History Timeline Schedule.

Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei

Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei

*History and science connection!

This heavily illustrated picture book is a very quick read about Galileo.

Otter's rating: 2 stars

This is a book that's also featured in my Awesome History Timeline Schedule.

Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science

Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science

*History and science connection!

This is a Christian book that's also featured in my Awesome History Timeline Schedule.

Michael Faraday (Trailblazers)

Michael Faraday (Trailblazers)

Preview

*History and science connection!

This is a Christian book that's also featured in my Awesome History Timeline Schedule.

The Powerful World of Energy With Max Axiom, Super Scientist

The Powerful World of Energy With Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Otter's rating: 3 stars

The Wright Brothers: Inventors Whose Ideas Really Took Flight

The Wright Brothers: Inventors Whose Ideas Really Took Flight

*History and science connection!

Otter's rating: 5 stars

This is a book that's also featured in my Awesome History Timeline Schedule.

Otter loves books by Mike Venezia. They are short enough to be read in one sitting, usually humorous and have lots of fun illustrations along with photographs.

Eyewitness: Energy

Eyewitness: Energy

Otter's rating: 5 stars

Otter still pulls this book out from time to time to browse the pictures and captions. It's chock full of good stuff that doesn't have to be read cover to cover. It's nice just to sit down and thumb through.

K'Nex Education Intro To Simple Machines - Levers and Pulleys

K'Nex Education Intro To Simple Machines - Levers and Pulleys

Otter's rating: 5 stars

We have some of the K'nex education kits for simple machines. They are fun and effective for learning these concepts. (K'nex is also a great, creative building toy that gets played with again and again, at least in our house.)

Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits

Otter's rating: 5 stars


Otter has been playing with Snap Circuits for years. They have been a terrific investment for us. An older student may not be as interested in them as a younger one. Otter still pulls his out to play and experiment with on occasion but not as often as he did when he was younger.

Charged Up: The Story of Electricity

Charged Up: The Story of Electricity

Otter's rating: 5 stars

This is a very easy picture book . I wouldn't be scheduling it in except that I have it at home. Still - it explains where electricity comes from in an easy to understand, illustrated way. If your student doesn't know where electricity comes from, you might want to check it out from the library for a super-quick read.

The Shocking World of Electricity with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

The Shocking World of Electricity with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Otter's rating: 3 stars

The Manga Guide to Electricity

The Manga Guide to Electricity

This looked like a cool resource, but I wasn't able to get it.

Warning: The Lord's name is taken in vain as in "Oh my G*d".

Awesome Experiments in Electricity & Magnetism

Awesome Experiments in Electricity & Magnetism

Otter's rating: 5 stars

Google preview

Shocking Electricity (Horrible Science)

Shocking Electricity (Horrible Science)

Otter's rating: 4 stars
Otter knocked a star off because he hates reading books with British spelling and unfamiliar British words. Otherwise, he really enjoyed the content and the cartoons.

I highly recommend this series!

How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning

How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning

*History and science connection!

Otter's rating: 4 stars

This is a very easy picture book that I happened to have at home, so I went ahead and scheduled it in.

Electricity (DK Eyewitness Books)

Electricity (DK Eyewitness Books)

Otter's rating: 5 stars

This is another DK book chock full of photos and illustrations. It's fun to browse.

TOPS Electricity 32

TOPS Electricity 32

Sadly, we didn't get to this! I like the TOPS science series. Check out some of their freebies to see if it would be a worthwhile purchase for you.

TOPScience freebie: Make a galvonmeter

TOPScience freebie: Make an electricity tester

The Attractive Story of Magnetism with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

The Attractive Story of Magnetism with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Otter's rating: 3 stars

Amazing Magnetism

Amazing Magnetism

Amazing magnetism lapbook

We never got around to the Magic School Bus books or lapbooks. They might be good if you are doing this schedule and want to include your younger students.

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style!

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style!

Otter's rating: 5 stars

Otter loves the Basher series of books. They are cartoony and fun and help make learning the elements less intimidating. In this book, the elements are personified. There is a pull out poster of the elements in the back.
Sometimes it does try a little too hard to be "cool".

We also used this book with Otter's Chemistry Curriculum.

The Mystery of the Periodic Table

The Mystery of the Periodic Table

Look at the first chapters online at Google Books.

Otter's rating: 5 stars
I think this series of books can sometimes be a little dry. Most of the homeschool community agrees with Otter though and it usually receives rave reviews. wink

We also used this book with Otter's Chemistry Curriculum.

TOPS 33 - Magnetism

TOPS 33 - Magnetism

We didn't have time for this, but I like the TOPS series. Check out the freebie to see if it's a fit for you:

TOPScience freebie: Invisible field

Dynamic World of Chemical Reactions with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Dynamic World of Chemical Reactions with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Otter's rating: 3 stars

Chemical Chaos (Horrible Science)

Chemical Chaos (Horrible Science)

Otter's rating: 4 stars
Otter knocked a star off because he hates reading books with British spelling and unfamiliar British words. Otherwise, he really enjoyed the content and the cartoons.

I highly recommend this series!

The Adventures of Adam the Atom

The Adventures of Adam the Atom

Google preview


This book is kind of silly and simple, but could be helpful for remembering some specifics. We never got around to using it and Otter is pretty well versed in atoms anyway from our year with chemistry.

DuneCraft Science Fun Kits - Silly Squares and Slippery Spheres

DuneCraft Science Fun Kits - Silly Squares and Slippery Spheres

Otter's rating: 5 stars

You've got to get these at least one time. They are fun to mess around with and a super introduction to polymers.

Klutz Create Anything with Clay

Klutz Create Anything with Clay

Otter's rating: 5 stars

Learning about polymers is a great excuse to play with some polymer clay!! Why not mix art and science? Your kids want you to get this!

Awww...It looks like this book is no longer available on Amazon new. Here's a link to a Sculpey Animal Babies kit, but any polymer clay kit would work.

Adventures in Sound With Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Adventures in Sound With Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Otter's rating: 3 stars

Awesome Experiments in Light & Sound

Awesome Experiments in Light & Sound

Google preview

We never got to this book, but Otter would have really enjoyed it, based on what he thought about the others in the same series.

Sounds Dreadful (Horrible Science)

Sounds Dreadful (Horrible Science)

Otter's rating: 4 stars
Otter knocked a star off because he hates reading books with British spelling and unfamiliar British words. Otherwise, he really enjoyed the content and the cartoons.

I highly recommend this series!

Fiber Optics Voice Link Kit

Fiber Optics Voice Link Kit

You'll need a soldering iron, if you want to do this kit. This is NOT a little kid's kit. It's fairly complicated (at least to my eyes). I wouldn't get it again, but here it is for anyone who might be interested.

The Illuminating World of Light with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

The Illuminating World of Light with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

Otter's rating: 3 stars

Frightening Light (Horrible Science)

Frightening Light (Horrible Science)

Otter's rating: 4 stars
Otter knocked a star off because he hates reading books with British spelling and unfamiliar British words. Otherwise, he really enjoyed the content and the cartoons.

I highly recommend this series!

Lise Meitner: Had the Right Vision about Nuclear Fission

Lise Meitner: Had the Right Vision about Nuclear Fission

Otter's rating: 5 stars

This is a book that's also featured in my Awesome History Timeline Schedule.

Otter loves books by Mike Venezia. They are short enough to be read in one sitting, usually humorous and have lots of fun illustrations along with photographs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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