Science and Social Studies

See Also:

Television, Video, DVD - for PBS, Nova, and other Science videos, programs, and series
Science Charts and Lists - for downloadable charts such as The Water Cycle or interactive websites demonstrating the Periodic Table
Science online
Community - Outdoor Education and Science
Community - Academic Activities


Articles and Books about Teaching Science

Berkeley Understanding Science
Read about the important distinction for students between the simplistic Scientific Method (which at least emphasizes testing and finding evidence) and the reality of how “scientists engage in many different activities in many different sequences.”

How Science Works

Teaching Resources

Think Like a Naturalist List of Good Reads for Teachers
Whether you are a classroom teacher or parent teacher, this list will be a good start to understanding the nature of science and developing scientific literacy.

What is a Scientist? by  Barbara Lehn
Children ask simple questions like “Do all pea pods have the same number of peas” or “How tall can we build a tower with these blocks?” and learn about how scientists find answers.

Science Materials, Activities, and More

Acorn Naturalists
With about forty sections to choose from, they offer products for sale (most reasonably priced) for all areas of science study, outdoor and environmental education, and other resources for children through adults.  You can purchase everything from observation equipment to models, puppets, books, teaching materials, nature kits, animal replica sets and models, and much more.

At Home Astronomy
10 Hands-on experiments and models about the for the entire family to do, such as making a rocket and an astrolabe or investigating how craters are made and learning how to measure the sun.

Carolina Supply
Purchase science kits, programs, lab supples and equipment, or organisms for earth science, chemistry, and physics study for all ages.

Cliffs Notes Parent’s Crash Course Elementary School Science Fair Projects
Offers help for parents in guiding their children to an appropriate hands-on science project.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Citizen Science
Offers 7 programs to promote citizen learning about birds, engaging ”thousands of people in recording bird observations—whether in backyards, city streets, or remote forests—to help researchers better understand birds and their responses to environmental change.”  View information about: Project FeederWatch, Celebrate Urban Birds, NestCams, NestWatch, eBird, Great Backyard Bird Count, and YardMap – all programs you can do in and around your home or online and all programs with scientific impact.

Edmund Scientific
Purchase online or by phone – serious science supplies like microscopes and beakers, as well as fun science kits for kids like crystal growing and slime lab.

Electronics for Homeschool (or homestudy enrichment)
Purchase electronics kits and curriculum for home use.

Purchase this set of “3.5″ circular die-cut playing cards and booklet of games, activities, and information for ages 5 up through college level and beyond! Types of games range from simple ones similar to dominoes and Old Maid, to higher level games that include more advanced concepts like ionization and electronegativity.” These are available online for a modest fee and at some Bay Area educational stores.  Watch the online videos to see how to play the game and learn about atoms.

Exploratorium – Books for Children
Popular science books (Way Things Work and others) are offered for sale, as well as see many titles in the ‘Graphic Library’ series, which offers books on scientists and science topics such as Magnetism,  The Scientific Method, and Jane Goodall.

‘Afterschool’ Activities
Do their highlighted activities, using their downloadable instructions and accompanying concept map, then watch the ‘how-to’ video, do the experiment, view the explanatory ‘what’s going on’ video and then ‘go further’ with more suggestions for each of the activities.  You can also go to their ‘Explore’ section with over 500 more things to make or search through their list of 150 websites on all kinds of science topics.

Faces Series (Wildlife Watchers First Guide) by Ron Hirschi
Click here to see these nature guide books: Faces in the Forest and Faces in the Mountains for ages 5-10

FANDEX Guide Books
Great thin pocket guides with nice illustrations that ‘fan’ out to open to different species of the books topic: cats, dogs, birds, bugs, butterflies, dinosaurs, trees, or wildflowers.

GEMS (Great Explorations in Math and Science) by Lawrence Hall of Scienc
Find information and links about the popular program used by school teachers but is adaptable to home educators and small groups.
Read more about GEMS

Order GEMS Activity books at:

Download the FREE Handbook on Science and Math Explorations for Young Children here
Go to the webpage and click on “Download Free Copy”

George’s Secret Key to the Universe, by Lucy and Stephen Hawking
This adventure story, as well as The Big Bang Theory and the Cosmic Treasure Hunt, offer help for children in understanding the physics of space.  Also find links and features on this site for more information about the characters, the authors, and a video of Stephen Hawking talking about the books.

Good Reads Popular Homeschool Science Books
Good list of children’s science books for homeschoolers or anyone wanting enrichment at home; buy from your local bookstore or from their site.

Great Courses – Science
Extensive list of audio and DVD courses, with well-known university professors giving lecture performances on several categories of science. Some sets can be expensive but they have frequent deals on these that can be up to $150 dollar savings.  You may be able to find these at lending libraries as well.

Home Science Tools
Offers science supplies, kits, equipment and labs for 6 Christian homeschool science curriculum programs.

Homeschool Buyers Co-op – Science and Health Curriculum
Take advantage of group sales from their list of textbooks, programs, online magazines and curriculum, and other products on sale.

Homeschool Diner – Science Curriculum Options
Good list of programs to use at home, as well as online curriculum and activities.

How Big is It” Book Series by Ben Hillman
Books for young children about relative size and amount, including: How Big Is It?, How Strong Is It?, How Fast Is It?, and How Weird Is It? Great use of photographic images with superimposed images to make the comparisons.

Insect Lore
Find bug raising kits and other educational bug products and books for purchase, as well as get a FREE mobile app for any device to virtually “raise caterpillars.” Also, find info about visiting the “Bugseum” near Bakersfield, CA.

Jefferson Labs – Hands-On Activities
Find free downloadable activities from the Lab’s “BEAM” Program, where Middle School students can do science and math activities in these areas:A Different Way of Measuring, Cold Stuff, Design and Engineering, Electrostatics, Human Accelerator, and many more projects.  Each activity has a downloadable student page, Teacher Overview and Materials List, state standards, data sheets, and answer keys.

Kids Discover Magazines
Offers science individual issues and sets on: Earth ScienceHealth ScienceHuman BodyInsectsLife ScienceNatural DisasterPhysical SciencePlants and AnimalsSpace Science, and Technology as well as FREE downloadable lesson plans.  Also offers 18 issues for younger or emerging readers on topics such as “Mixing and Not Mixing” and “Weight and Balance.” All issues have nicely illustrated pages and charts.

K’Nex Building Sets
Build with these sets for fun or download their free lessons on amusement park physics, machines, etc.   Purchase sets, connect and share ideas and photos with other builders in the K’Nex club, and hear about news and events.

NASA Education
Lists of all NASA K-12 and Higher Education Projects, Faculty Projects, as well as an Alphabetical list for searching for projects.

NASA Education Teaching Materials:
Check the boxes of the grade level and topic desired to access a long list of lessons or activities.

NASA’s Rockets Educator Guide
Download their Rockets Educators Guide pdf and any of the other rocket topics pdf’s.  You can also view or download lesson plans, activities, experiments, as well as find links to other NASA and related reources.

National Audubon Society First Field Guides
Click on: Amazon list of available guides for nicely photographed kid-friendly books on many nature topics such as shells, trees, insects and more.  Use them to learn about and I.D. specimens.

National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Centre
Offers resources and lesson plans for teachers and tons of FREE videos, pdfs, and presentations for students or for teachers to use in all areas of science – concepts, topics, technology, experiments, projects, news and more.

See sample video on how to make your own wave machine

PBS ‘Search’ List of  NOVA Shows and Series
Search to find titles of shows, watch some online or find them in your local PBS directory, OR  order from your library, online source, or Shop PBS website.

Get the Educators Special with maps of California, USA, World map, and the World Cities at Night map

Science Books for Young Learners, by Stephen Kramer
Read about interesting topics such as caves, tornadoes, lightning, avalanche and others – all with photographs.  Also check out “How to Think Like a Scientist” which explores the scientific method, with questions like “What kind of food does your dog like best?”

Science Buddies Science Fair Projects
Find topics and ideas for science fair projects, use their project guide, read science news, check out careers in science and  get student, parent, and teacher resources for science.

Science Weekly
15 issues a year of science reading and fun activities

TED’s AnneMarie Thomas Video
Explains how to make electrical circuits that even preshoolers can do safely, with playdough!

TOP Science – Science with Simple Things
Offers tens of free samples of hands-on activities in measurement, physics, chemistry, earth and space, and life sciences.  Also offers complete book series with more projects and other products for science learning.

TRY Science
Offers offline experiments to do at home, as well as online activities, polls, and ‘field trips’ which are short videos of places to visit and webcams.

UC College Prep Open Access
Offers FREE college prep and AP college prep courses for high school students in the areas of Biology, College Prep Biology, Physics, Honors Physics, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B and C,  and Web labs for Biology, AP biology, and AP Environmental Science.

Web Weather for Kids Science Activities
Easy to do weather science experiments, using household objects.

The Way Things Work, by David McCaulay
Learn about everything from “levers to lasers, cameras and computers” and more, in this popular 384-page illustrated volume which provides an overview of machines and inventions throughout human history.

Whelmers McRel’s Accessible Science Series
20 hands-on science activities introduced to ‘whelm’ not ‘overwhelm’ students with fun learning, all based on educational standards.

Yard Map by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
“Free, social, interactive, citizen science mapping project about habitat creation and low-impact land use”.  Use cool technology to map your yard, share your data, learn how to attract birds to your yard, and view maps and data from other contributors.

Young Scientists Club
For a relatively low fee, have science kits (each with several experiments that can be done in one or more hours) delivered to your home either once or twice a month, with each set building on previous sets.

Social Studies

See Also:
Social Science in the Online Learning Section

A to Z’s Home’s Cool – History Pages
World Culture and History – find pages of topics and links to websites, Television shows, books, programs, and resources.

American History – Children and Teens

See also: All Social Studies topics on left-hand column in blue

History Books – Ancient, Medieval, World, U.S., Australia, and Science History

American Kids in History – Series

Barnes and Noble – List of Children’s History Books
Search through tons of pages on books for children through teens, with historical fiction and non-fiction selections on historical events, people in history, and other topics in history.

Teen Historical Fiction

Best People, Cultures, and the Making of History
Comprehensive list of links, books, online sites,  activities, and other resources for all aspects of history and cultures, for varying age groups.

Black History Books for Children
Find books for preschoolers through young adult: biographies, events in history, and true stories of Black Americans.

A Book in Time – History Books and Crafts
Social Studies reading lists for World and American History topics, listed chronologically.  Also offers links to crafts and projects for cultures and time periods.

American History Book List by Century

American History Crafts

World History Book List by Era

World History Crafts

D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
Long-time classic book for children on all the gods, goddesses, and creatures of Greek Mythology, with colorful illustrations and “family tree” of all of the gods and goddesses.

Education Place
Downloadable maps (political and physical) of the world, each continent, and the United States, as well has historical maps.

Families of the World
Search your PBS station guide to find these videos on family life from over 30 countries (and more to come) or order online.  Nice selection of countries including Ghana, Panama, Thailand, United Kingdom, and more.  Each video also has text to go along with the narration.  Free educator’s guides available to download online.

Great Courses – History
Extensive list of audio and DVD courses, with well-known university professors giving lecture performances on 7 broad categories of history. Some sets can be expensive but they have frequent deals on these that can be up to $150 dollar savings.  You may be able to find these at lending libraries as well.

Helping Your Child Learn Geography
U.S. DOE site for parents, with basics on teaching geographical concepts to your children,  activities, and resources.

Historical Fiction Books for Teens, compiled by Santa Cruz Public Library
Find selected works of fiction for time periods and cultures from prehistoric through 1900′s, including United States, Europe, and other world cultures.

Historical Fiction for Children and Young Adults
Supplement your history study with books from this list arranged by geographic area and time periods.

Historical Novels – Listed by Time and Place
Over 5,000 novels and 400+ reviews on a huge range of time periods and places, which can be used to augment any social studies program or for those interested in learning history through fiction.

A History of US by Joy Hakim
Read about this series on the author’s website. Check for this book (or matching television series) series at the library, bookstore, homeschool resource centers, or purchase online at Shop PBS.
Watch them as a ‘webisode’ online here
Click here for Teaching Guides by webisode.

History’s Turning Points – by Ambrose Video
Thirteen part series on decisive moments in world history, each with their own re-enacted story.

Homeschool Buyers Coop – History Curriculum
Find a selection of texts, graphic novels, DVD sets, audio books, software, and bundle deals.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt History Textbooks
Offers American and World History, African American History, Geography, Economics, Government, and Social Sciences Textbook Programs for Middle School Through High School students.

The Idea of America – through Homeschool Buyers Coop
Recommended for students in 9-12th grade , this is an interactive, web-based program which includes video and audio interviews and footage, online resource tools, option to connect to student communities and the “virtual republic”, updated current events, teacher notes, and online assessments.

“If you lived…” Series
Popular books for children from all times in U.S., with titles like “If you Lived at the time of Martin Luther King”  or “If you Were There When they Signed the Constitution, and “If you Lived in the Alaska Territory” and about 30 more related titles.

Ken Burns videos (including Ken Burn’s Baseball, The Civil War, World War II, Jazz, America, and many more)

Lies My Teacher Told Me – Everything Your High School History Text got Wrong, by James Loewen
This book (and others by Loewen) might be of interest to those who are looking for an alternative to the average high school textbook.  He is a “sociologist who spent 2 years at the Smithsonian Library surveying 12 leading high school textbooks of American History, only to find bland optimism, blind nationalism, and plain misinformation.”

David MacAulay – Books
Nicely illustrated books on historical architectural topics: Cathedral, Pyramid, Castle, as well as The Way Things Work.

McGraw Hill Social Studies Programs
Offers Textbooks for Middle-Schoolers and High School Students in: Civics & Government, Economics, Geography, Law-Related Education, United States History, World History, Psychology, Sociology, and in AP*/Honors, as well as Previous Editions.

National Geographic ‘Xpeditions’
Find downloadable standards, maps and lesson plans, activities, and interactive Xpedition Hall on this ‘archived’ site.  Links to new NG Education site also.

The Ohlone Way
For those who live in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area or Californians, learn about the people who lived here originally, by reading this book available on the website above, find in your local library or the Santa Cruz History Museum, or purchase from a local bookseller.

Paula’s Archives – Literature to Supplement History
Historical fiction and non-fiction.

Paula’s Archives – Movies to Supplement History
List of fiction videos/DVD’s on historical periods and topics, listed chronologically.  Some items listed on this site are regarding the Old and New Testament.

Pearson Social Studies Series
Social Studies Textbooks and programs for elementary, middle school, and high school students – covering all areas of History and Social Sciences.

Printable and Interactive Maps by ‘Owl and Mouse”
Free!  Move the mouse over the untitled maps for an interactive learning activity or print out the free maps of the world, continents, countries, USA, states, and more.

For interactive map puzzles go to:

Raven Maps and Images
Purchase finely illustrated maps of states, countries, and  the world, as well as landforms and drainage map and the ‘one world’ map without territorial borders.

Reel American History
Titles listed by historical chronology, with lots of information listed along the film title, more for the film student.
Find titles at Netflix, Libraries, Amazon, or other video resources.

David Rubel – History Books for Children
Four must-have children’s American history reference books (19th Century, 20th Century, Encyclopedia of the Presidents, and Atlas of the United States) as well as two stories based on historical events (one illustrated by Jim LaMarch, local Santa Cruz author)

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Educators and members may borrow education kits with artifacts for hands-on learning, as well as exhibits and slideshows on  the natural history of the Monterey Bay region.

Shop PBS – History Videos
Use this site to find suggestions for quality historical videos/DVD’s from all areas of history, which you can then view on your local PBS station, find at your local library or resource center, or purchase online at Shop PBS site or Amazon.

Thinkwell – Homeschool History Courses
Offers online (up to 12 months access) AP American Government Course for High School and a College level class as well.  Price is over $100, with optional CD set and printed notes for additional cost.

Time for Kids
877-747-1055 (to order magazines delivered to your home)

Check out their news stories, kid reporters, around the world, and photos and videos. Subscribe to download their graphic organizers, charts, graphs, and more.

UC College Prep – Open Access
Free online access to high school/college prep social studies courses, with outlines, course objectives, required readings and key words, lessons, discussion questions, and writing assignments.  Some schools may have arranged for credit for these courses. Courses include U.S. History and AP U.S. History, U.S. Government and Politics, and AP U.S. Government and Politics.

Well Trained Mind – Story of the World: History for the Classical Child
Four-volume series of Classical History for children, with a companion curriculum guide.

Wonders of the African World by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Six episodes of African Culture and History – a retelling that includes the contributions of the people of Africa.  Watch on PBS, purchase the DVD or book, or search for them at your local library.

Young People’s History of the United States – by Howard Zinn
For teens and young adults, a reader on U.S. history, from the “viewpoints of workers, people who are enslaved, immigrants, women, Native Americans, and others whose stories, and their impact, are rarely included in books for young people” with an emphasis on workers’ rights, women’s rights, and civil rights, and on those who made history, even though they may not have made it into traditional textbooks.

For Adults: A People’s History of the United States

Youth Leadership Initiative
Teachers or parents can help their student/child participate in this free interactive program (with home/class, online, independent, and community projects) with lessons, powerpoints, optional participation in the ‘e-congress’ and mock elections, and volunteer opportunities.