Patterns of Nature
by Rod and Staff
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of most Rod & Staff materials. They are some of the most inexpensive options you can find ($10 for this set?!!) and are easy to use, full of great values, and interesting for kids. To be honest, science is one subject that I’ve done some serious curriculum hopping with. We have tried Real Science Odyssey, Elemental Science, Apologia, and Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. All of those are excellent programs and I definitely recommend them highly! They are also each very different from Rod & Staff. So why did I finally choose Patterns of Nature for Eliana’s 2nd grade?
Basically, we wanted to focus on the basics, the 3 R’s plus Latin. I didn’t want a science that would take up a lot of time in our week, especially since that was the year I had Isaac. We were already doing a ton of reading aloud that often included science topics, had a huge stash of science books and encyclopedias at our disposal, not to mention cupboards full of science kits. All I needed was a simple curriculum that would give us some structure and could be completed in 20-30 minutes once a week.
Patterns of Nature fit the bill! Eliana loved doing this book, mostly because of the coloring pages (always a favorite with her). She even begged me to let her use Rod & Staff science again for her 3rd grade year, which we did.
Now you can understand why I was thrilled to hear that Memoria Press is actually adding this book into their 2nd grade curriculum package. It doesn’t replace any of the science topics in the Enrichment studies (I asked that question right away), just adds some extra, more formal science lessons. Apparently not every single lesson will be scheduled, but I haven’t actually seen the new lesson plans yet so I can’t tell you more specifically how that will work.
As you can see many topics related to nature are covered. After every 5 lessons there is a review and test, which to be honest we never did. The lessons are laid out like this:
A relevant Bible verse is printed until the title, which is a nice way to begin a science lesson. There is always a full page coloring page for coloring kids to enjoy and non-coloring kids to look at. The lesson is about a page and a half and is written in an engaging narrative style.
Following the reading portion, there is a section called For You To Do. This part actually varies a lot from lesson to lesson. Sometimes they are fill in the blank like above, sometimes they include labeling a diagram, matching, drawing, crossword puzzles, and more.
There is a teacher’s manual for this book that has all the answers to the questions, plus some ideas for extra activities. These are mainly intended for classroom use so we didn’t really do many of them.
We did order caterpillar larvae and grow butterflies, which was really cool. We used this set for that project. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures then!
Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (affiliate link)
The downside of this curriculum, true of all R&S products, is that there are inevitable references to Canadian and/ or farming culture that my kids don’t necessarily understand. It’s not a big deal, but there are questions now and then that assume students understand all about farming. Since we’re pretty citified here that’s not the case.
All in all, this is a pretty decent option for science. You can’t beat the price! It gives great exposure to topics that 2nd graders experience all the time (seasons, plants, animals, the moon, etc.) and is extremely easy to teach. As you’ve probably heard before, the “right” science curriculum is the one that actually gets done!
I’m looking forward to adding this into Noah’s second grade curriculum and going through it again. And we might have more butterfly growing in our future…