We use Fabre's Book of Insects, King Solomon's Ring by Konrad Lorenz and Nature Drawing. In this course the student will read the observations and experiments of renowned naturalists. The student then prepares a semester long project of his own in which he will make a hypothesis, observe an animal, conduct experiments, and draw conclusions based upon his observations. The Natural Science Syllabus has a day-by-day breakdown of this course along with discussion questions, a list of natural history projects, and a variety of teaching resources including Tenth Grade Subject Rubrics, Learning Objectives, and grading charts. This is a 1 year, 1 credit course.
Current Edition: © 2011.
Online versions of the MODG syllabi are provided to enrolled families free of charge. Paper copies of the syllabi are also available for purchase from the MODG office, with a 30% discount for enrolled families.
Start a notebook for ‘naming nature’. Pick out three natural things each week, all year long, from your reference book. (The Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife is one such reference text that would be helpful in your search for naming information.) Choose objects that you are likely to be able to find in your own neighborhood. Look at trees, flowers, insects, birds, and rocks; in short, anything natural in your environment. Today your assignment is to pick out the three objects for this week and put them in your notebook, with a sketch and notes of pertinent information. Then try to find them outside.
The last half of this year you will give largely to doing a natural history project. The first half of the year will be given to reading about animals, and about ways of working with animals, which will help you with your project when the time comes. Today, look over the natural history project book you choose (from those books listed in "Texts Used in this Course" or "Additional Books for the Study of Natural History" - see Syllabus Resources) and decide tentatively on your project for the second semester. Pick a project that may be completed in about twelve weeks. Make sure it is ‘do-able’, that it won’t require equipment you can’t get, or more time than you will have to give. You can change your project later on if you need to, but now you should decide on one that you think you can do. Then you can be gathering helpful information and equipment all of your first semester.
Note: The project must be done with an animal or animals not plants. The primary aim of this course is to learn about the living creatures as living—seeing the animals performing their proper operations. While you can change the environment of a plant, you can not observe its actual behavior in response to the change. In raising questions about the behavior of animals and changing the initial environment to study the effect of the change on behavior, you will be given the opportunity to observe the proper operation of an animal. (This project must be completed to earn full credit for this course. Without a natural history project, only 1/2 credit can be awarded.)
|3||Write a proposal for your project. List the questions that interest you and how you propose to gather data that might answer them. (For example: For twelve weeks I will observe the birds that inhabit my neighborhood. I will determine which species like what food, what their feeding times are, whether different species compete for the same food, and whether they prefer to feed at one level or another. I will do this by placing various feeding dishes with different kinds of food at several locations in my backyard. I will make regular observations of the feeding locations, and keep notes of my observations. At the end of the twelve weeks I will write a report of my findings, listing my data and answering the questions initially proposed.)|