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How to use Elemental Science's Classic Series with a group of friends or in your co-op

June 17, 2019 5 min read

The accountability of friends or a co-op is a great way to make sure that you do science each and every week. But sometimes it is confusing to see how a certain curriculum can work in a group setting.

So to help clear up any confusion, we are sharing the following ideas as a mini-guide that will help you to plan what to do "in-class" and what to assign for "at-home,"  as well as help you gauge how much time to schedule.

Here are our suggestions for using our classic series in the co-op setting.

A peek at using Elemental Science's Classic Series in the Co-op Setting

The Grammar Stage Series

We typically recommend using our grammar stage programs with a group of K through 4th-grade (5- to 10-year-old) students. 

What to do for class time

In-class you would do the following:

  1. Give the students last week’s quiz as a review to see what they remember.
  2. Do the week’s scientific demonstration. Discuss what you saw and have the students complete the corresponding lab report in class.
  3. Complete the reading assignments. Discuss what was read using the discussion questions found in the teacher guide. Have the students come up with a class narration to add to their workbooks.
  4. Introduce the week’s vocabulary words and memory work from the unit. If there is time, have the students make flashcards for each of the words.
  5. Work on the unit project in-class.

You could also choose one or more of the additional activities to complete in-class.

In-class Time – About 2 hours per week

Home Assignments

At home, you can ask the students to do the following:

  1. Review the week’s vocabulary and memory work.

You could also suggest that the parents complete the optional lapbook at home or that they read one or more of the additional book suggestions to their students.

At-home Time – 15 to 30 minutes (depending on what they choose to do) per week

If you only have thirty minutes to an hour in class...

If your co-op only meets once a week, focus on doing the demonstration and going over the information for the week. You will also need to assign the readings to be done at home.

Grammar Stage Tips

The grammar stage programs do provide two reading options for younger and older students. In the co-op setting, you want to choose the option that will appeal to most of your students. You can also share the other reading option with the parents in the group.

When you do a narration, write a lab report, or share a vocabulary term, have the class discuss it first. Then, come up with a class narration, lab report, or definition for everyone to copy into their workbooks. 

For the demonstration, this is meant for you to do for the whole class. However, if your students are a bit older (3rd and 4th graders), you can have them split into groups to work on the demonstration together. 

    The Logic Stage Series

    We typically recommend using our logic stage programs with a group of 5th through 8th-grade (11- to 14-year-old) students. 

    What to do for class time

    In-class you would do the following:

    1. Do the week’s experiment. Have the students break into groups of three to six students to work on the week’s experiment together. Have the group also complete the experiment sheet as they work.
    2. Go over what the students have read at home. Discuss what they have learned using the discussion questions found in the teacher guide. Then, have the class come up with an outline of what they have learned for the week which they can copy into their book.
    3. Work on the sketch assignment together as a class.
    4. Complete one of the "Want More" activities suggested in the teacher guide.
    5. When the unit is done, give the students the test.

    You could also choose one or more of the additional readings to read out loud to the class before the students create the outline.

    In-class Time – About 2 hours per week

    Home Assignments

    At home, you could ask the students to do the following:

    1. Review the week’s vocabulary and memory work.
    2. Complete the reading assignments and write a brief narration of what they read.
    3. Enter the week’s dates on their timeline.

    You could also suggest that the students complete one of the optional additional readings from the week.

    At-home Time – 1 to 2 hours (depending on what they choose to do) per week

    If you only have an hour in class...

    If your co-op only meets once a week, focus on doing the experiment and discussing the highlights from the reading assignment. If time allows, you can also go over the sketch.

    Logic Stage Tips

    The main thing you will need to change in this group is the amount or type of writing you expect from the various ages of students. The younger students in the group will only need a list of facts, while the older students can write much more.

    Check out the following series on writing in science to understand how this works:

    Also, the science fair project is integrated into the program, so make sure that that unit fits with the time when you can have a co-op science fair. You can feel free to rearrange the units if you need to do so.

    The Rhetoric Stage Series

    We typically recommend using our high school programs with a group of 9th through 12th-grade (15- to 18-year-old) students. 

    What to do for class time

    In-class you would do the following:

    1. Go over the answers to the previous week's questions and have them turn in any assigned work.
    2. Give a short lecture on the topic being studied for the week or chose a YouTube video(s) for the students to watch. Give the students time to ask questions and discuss what they are learning.
    3. Do the week's experiment. You can have the student's work in pairs to complete this assignment and then discuss the results as a class.
    4. At the end of the unit, have the students complete the test.

    You can also share current events articles with the students or have them work on a science fair project at some point during the year.

    In-class Time – About 2 to 3 hours per week

    Home Assignments

    At home, you can ask the students to do the following:

    1. Complete the reading assignments in the textbook, answer the assigned questions, and add the vocabulary to the notebook.
    2. Have the students write up their experiment.

    You could also suggest that parents help their students learn how to take notes and study for exams.

    At-home Time – 2 to 3 hours per week

    If you only have an hour in class...

    If your co-op only meets once a week, focus on doing the experiment and giving the students time to ask questions and discuss the highlights from the textbook work. If time allows, you can also go over any of the difficult questions that were assigned from the previous week.

    Rhetoric Stage Tips

    The high school years take quite a bit more preparation to teach in a co-op, but there is value in the students having the ability to ask questions and discuss the things they are studying. So be sure you all plenty of time for discussion.

    You also want to be aware of where the students are in math, especially when you teach chemistry and physics. Many chemistry problems require a working knowledge of algebra and many physics programs require a working knowledge of algebra 2.

    In a Nutshell

    Typically, we suggest that co-ops go over the concepts from the readings, write something about what the students have learned, review the vocabulary, and do the experiments or activities from the week. At-home the students can work on the memory work and vocabulary, as well as read the selected passages to prepare for class at home.

    We trust that this will give you a clearer picture of how the Classic Series from Elemental Science can work in a co-op setting. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below.


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