Over the next few months we are going to be focusing on Biology as our Science (with just a little bit of Physics). I have found it easier to focus on a block of topics all related to one Science – so either Physics, Biology or Chemistry at a time. And it’s Biology’s turn. To get us going we have kick started our Biology series with the Oaka Books Topic Pack Movement: Skeleton and Muscles. Now I have covered this section with my daughter before so for her this is revision but for my youngest (he is actually Year 6) this is new learning. Which is one of the reasons why I choose to get us started with an Oaka Topic Pack – it works well as a revision activity and it works well as a way of introducing main concepts and ideas about a topic.
It follows the Oaka Books tried and tested method of Topic Booklet (which are your summarized notes in nice clear, concise sentences, with good clear diagrams), The Write Your own Notes (where the kids get to complete sentences on what they have just read in the Topic Booklet) and the Active Learning Game (a fun board game which asks questions on the topic- great for revising at the end of the topic and perfect for coming back to at a later date).
We really like the way they write their notes in the Topic Booklet. Short points, no long flowery detail, in blocks, with colourful images. And they keep the images consistent – they use the same images in the Topic Booklet and the Write Your Own Notes and they use the same images across different resources. I have found this small detail very useful with my daughter because she remembers the images and they naturally remind her of what we had learnt in a different topic booklet. (We found this incredibly useful when we were working through the Biology pair game).
With this pack we split it over three days (I find it works best not to try and do it all in one go). We split the Topic Booklet into three sections, the kids would read one section a day and after they had read the section in the Topic Booklet they would go and complete the corresponding section in the Write Your Own Notes. Then on the afternoon of the third day we played the game. (We did also include some extra reading on the Topic mainly because I felt like my son needed a bit of background on a few of the points mentioned in the Booklet.)
We are big fans of the Oaka Style of learning, it suits visual learners and I find they are brilliant at summarizing the facts. But I am not sure if we have ever used one of their packs as a way of getting us back into our learning again after having a break. It works. It was a great way of easing us back into our structured learning, a way of getting our brains ticking over again but without having to face boring worksheets or long paragraphs that seem to go on and on forever.
Once again the Oaka Topic Pack ticked all the boxes.