My youngest (eight-years old) has been revisiting Forces, well, I am not sure how much he actually remembers, so revisiting might not be the most accurate word. But he has been rereading our Feel the force book and working through a workbook. His sister also wanted to join in but the Forces workbook was too simplistic for her, she needed to take a step up. So instead she been using the Forces Topic Pack from Oaka Books.
Now just to clear up any confusion before I go further. The Forces Topic pack is designed for Secondary years – it says very clearly on the books – KS3 and my daughter would still be in Key Stage 2 if she was attending school. But we like to follow interests and don’t stick to the idea that they can only learn about something in a certain year. So we were not too fussed by it being categorized as Key Stage 3.
Also my daughter is what I call a Visual Learner. What do I mean by this ? If we just sit and discuss a topic she will often get a lost. However if I just get a piece of paper and start using diagrams / almost family tree like structures to explain she follows, understands the concepts and starts asking questions. And she is becoming a very independent learner. So once she understands some basics she will often sit and extend her own learning – she will find books about the topic, reasearch on the internet (please don’t worry we monitor the internet and are aware of what is out there). Her Visual Learning style is why we like the topic packs – they are broken down into key points, with pictures and diagrams explaining the points.
We tend to read sections of the Topic Booklet, chat about what we read, sometimes do some practical activities (like work with our magnets) and then she has a go at the Write Your Own Notes or even writes her very own version of Notes in her own book.
I don’t like to rush her through the Topic Pack as she really does like to expand on sections herself and we like to encourage that. But we do play the board game that comes with the set even before we have finished reading the Topic Booklet. And it works well for us. I do go and filter out some the question cards so that we only have the questions for the sections that we have already covered. And my daughter is not a BIG board game player, so we don’t play for long stretches of time but I do find it is a useful extra. And the added bonus is it highlights any areas that she might not understand properly.
So the details – what is included – the Topic Pack is 1 Topic Booklet, 1 Write Your own Notes and 1 Learning Game.
The Forces Topic Pack covers – what is a force, different types of forces, Gravitational Force, Magnetic Force, Friction, Air resistance, balancing forces and some calculations. (And it also includes a very useful Glossary of terms)
I like the Topic Packs because the it is Key Points and the kids don’t get overwhelmed with long confusing paragraphs. I think of the topic packs as the foundation for the kids – so they get a good understanding and then they can branch out and investigate / reasearch further if they like. But the foundation is there.
Admin Bit – We went sent a parcel of goodies from Oaka Books earlier in the year. It was up to us what we used / how we used it / when we used it and what we thought of it. One of the reasons I was happy to get the parcel in the first place was because we have already used 2 of their Key Stage 2 Topic Packs and played one of their games before and I liked the style so I was expecting more of the same. Which is exactly what we got.