We have been doing quite a bit of Physics over the summer, we got into a nice routine with it. My daughter would go through the concepts with her dad, he would do the explaining part and look for clips showing the concepts in action and then I would reinforce everything with one of our Science Topic packs. And for the first time in ages I feel like we have made massive progress with Physics (Biology has always been a favourite science in our house and Physics just seemed to get pushed aside because the kids did not have that same understanding of it).
One of the sections that we covered in this way was forces and we used the Oaka Books Forces Topic pack. The topic booklet covers quite a lot of important concepts.
- What forces are and what the different types are.
- Magnetic force
- Floating and sinking
- Air resistance, including streamlined shapes, terminal velocity
- Weight vs mass
- Balanced and unbalanced forces
- Extension of springs and elastic limit
- Turning forces in action
- The law of movements
I have always liked the way they set out their topic booklets – short concise sentences with colourful, memorable images. But I am appreciating it even more with Physics. My daughter has a tendency to get lost in the detail, she loves detail and while that works well for her when we are doing History I have noticed with Physics she often focuses on the detail and not the main concepts. However the Oaka Topic packs always direct her to the important concepts and then when she fills out the Write Your own Notes it is reinforced and when we play the game it is once again reinforced. So by the end of working through our Forces Topic pack she knew and understood all the key points and she was not getting distracted by detail.
I have read a few comments that people don’t like the fact that the Write Your own Notes is really a copy of the topic booklet just with words left out so the kids have to complete them. But I actually really like this. My daughter is a visual learner and the fact that the blocks are the same in both the Topic Booklet and the Write Your own Notes means everything is reinforced.
And yes I did download some extra pages from different sources so we could work through other examples but I did this after she had worked through the Write Your Own Notes, after she had to think about the words that were missing and what words would make sense in the sentences. I never use the Topic packs in isolation. I always combine them with another source and personally I think that is when they “perform the best” when you use them as the summary, the item that focuses the kid’s attention on the important concepts.
And of course the Learning Game (we love these games). Such a brilliant way to round up a topic and possibly highlight any area that the kids did not understand.
Admin Bit – both my kids used the topic pack. It is designed as a KS3 resource but my younger kid (who is 9) often works through the older packs with his sister and there is never an issue.
From time to time Oaka do send us a few goodies to use. It is up to us which ones we use and if we choose to write about them.