I'm dying to brag! This is ds's science unit on ecosystems - he's 9. We are making these things called ecocolums. You put a terrarium in the top -- we planted mustard seed, alfalfa and wheat grass and added some organic matter last week. On Thursday, mosquito fish, duckweed, chara (a fresh water plant), algae and pond snais will arrive to fill the bottom (aquariium) part. We are bummed though, we were going to find pill bugs in the yard to put in the terrarium prat, but we couldn't find any under any rocks anywhere -- I guess it's too cold already. We are going to research if they hibernate? I was thinking Petco might sell live cirickets to put in there...???
He made a food web describing transfer of energy today with a ton of pictures we printed off line. I'd love to take pics of the entire journal he's keeping on the ecocolumn - it's really good! He's included so much info (written full paragraphs!!) and drawings! Plus he's read a Kids Discover magazine on ecosystems and half the chapter on ecosystems from a textbook I bought used. Tomorrow is ecosystems terms/vocabulary look-up.
I have to say, he did nothing in public school. He barely ever completed a worksheet. He said the teachers called him stupid and said he did everything wrong. So far at home, he's totally flourishing at his own pace deciding what he wants to do when.
Also - we are working on handwriting and cursive - hoping to improve in that area so the output looks as smart as he is!
(FYI, the ecocolcum directions can be found on line if you search. I've even found youtube videos of kids' class projects like this one. There is also a teachers manual and student work book available but they are really expensive and I think only sold as part of a $1000 class kit - it's called "Ecosystems Teacher's Guide NSRC STC Grade 4-6" but even used it was really pricey, so we're winging it from my memory. I ordered the fish and duckweed, etc from http://www.carolina.com but you could probably go find stuff in a real pond and bring it indoors or buy stuff at petco.)
edit to add:
Here is the shipment that came today, and what ds set up for the bottom part for the aquarium with gravel, mosquito fish, pond snails, chara, duckweed and algae: