Guest Author - Lorel Shea
Water Works is a Project Clarion physical science unit designed for high-ability learners in kindergarten and grade one. It was developed through the College of William and Mary's Center for Gifted Education. The soft cover workbook includes twelve hands-on lessons, reproducible worksheets, a concept map which may be filled in by the student for pre and post assessment, safety guidelines, and more. Lessons are designed for a 45 minute classroom experience.
The concept map is a word web with the word water in the center, surrounded by connections such as “evaporates in”, “condenses on”, and “flows”. It is recommended that kindergarten students fill in the blanks on the pre-assessment chart using a word bank and that first graders attempt it without the word bank. This assumes that children using this book are able to both read and write, and that they are familiar with and able to read words such as “permutation” and “evaporation” in addition to more basic words like “up” and “down”. If a teacher is using this with children who are not fluent readers, this exercise can be skipped or done collaboratively.
Lessons are well written and designed to challenge. The focus is on discovery and exploration. They go way beyond the old “sink or float”, which is covered in chapters ten and eleven, but in far more detail than you might expect. These chapters cover states of matter and density, and lead to the question of how to build a better floater. Other lesson titles include, “what is a scientist?” and “what happens when water is mixed with other liquids?” Concepts are explained in clear language, but also introduce scientific terminology.
It's quite refreshing to find a book for young elementary students that is not dumbed down. This is an excellent resource for young gifted children, and will work for instruction in classrooms and homeschools, and also as afterschool enrichment.