Science curriculum doesn't have to be expensive. A good portion of what we've used for science over the years has been free resources!
I remember science being incredibly dry and boring in school and I want my children’s science experience to be anything but boring. Because of that, I seek out resources that offer learning through living books and lots and lots of experiments. The more hands-on, the better!
The key to making science interesting, at least in my opinion, is keeping it fun, simple and organized. These free finds fit the bill!
Preschool Science Curriculum
At this age science is really all about discovering, exploring and getting messy! The kids are so curious and fascinated by the things that they discover.
It doesn’t take a lot of planning or stress to complete science at the Preschool level.
This FREE Science Discovery Curriculum for Early Childhood features:
75 core science-related learning experiences with coordinating lesson plans
relevant connections to other curriculum areas
related children's and teacher's books, and websites
resources for supplies and equipment
hundreds of activities, ideas, and successful ways to explore science with young children
We used a few lessons from this free curriculum with Nerdlet. I found them to be thorough, easy to teach and a lot of fun. The author does a great job of suggesting activities that are age appropriate and spark a child’s curiosity.
While not a curriculum, per se, you can easily put together an entire years worth of Preschool science with this site. It is amazing! She doesn’t just toss out a few photos of a project and simple instructions, she goes above and beyond by providing extension activities, extra facts for you to teach and more.
20 Science Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Jackie over at Happy Hooligans has put together a fabulous list of 20 science activities for toddlers and preschoolers. This convenient list will save you loads of time since Jackie has done all of the research for you!
We have done the Ivory Soap experiment, as well as the Dino dig, the giant bubbles, crayon, resist art, homemade butter, and the paper towel art!
Elementary Science Curriculum (K - 5th grade)
During the first few years of school, we have a lot of leeway in what we teach in science as well as how we teach it. When we get to the higher grade levels we’re forced to teach certain subjects, depending on the requirements of our state. But at this level, boy we can have some fun!
Here are some of the free resources that we’ve used over the years.
While Mystery Science is not completely free, they do offer a generous one year trial period which usually ends in June of each year. After that, you can subscribe for a fee.
From the site: “Every lesson begins with a Mystery that hooks your students. I then narrate an unforgettable story told with stunning images and videos and punctuated with opportunities for discussion. Every lesson concludes with simple hands-on activities designed to use supplies you already have (or are easy to get).”
We have used a LOT of these lessons. They are so quick and easy involving very little preparation on my part - some gathering of supplies for experiments and printing of worksheets. The videos are well made and fun to watch and the “extras” are relevant and engaging.
We really enjoy Mystery Science.
I admit that I haven’t used cK-12 books as a complete curriculum, though it certainly can be used that way. I actually used it to help me determine what topics to teach at each grade level by using the table of contents for each book. I then filled in those topics with living books and activities.
If you’re looking for a complete standards-based secular science curriculum, then this is a good option.
Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool
Easy Peasy is a complete comprehensive online curriculum that has gained popularity over the past few years. We used it exclusively for half a year before I realized that Princess Dork just doesn’t do well when all of her learning is online. She’s a very hands-on girl and she needs to move around.
That being said, we have still used individual subjects, or parts of them, to supplement other curriculum or fill in gaps that weren’t covered with other books.
Here are the current offerings in Science:
Biology - https://allinonehomeschool.com/science-year-1/
Course Description: Students will explore two branches of biology: human anatomy and plant life. Students will learn about the body systems and conduct experiments to further their understanding. A study of plants will include their structure, reproduction, and types. Soil, biomes and underwater plants are some of the special topics covered. Students will use textbooks, videos, and online learning materials. Experiments and nature observations will enhance their learning and understanding. Students will have the opportunity to present their experimental findings to an audience.
Zoology - https://allinonehomeschool.com/zoology/
Course Description: Students will study zoology through readings, videos and a variety of online activities. Students will study the main branches of the animal kingdom including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, and fish as well as others. They will study animal habitats, behaviors, diets, and adaptations. Special studies on endangered species, classification, mimicry, and camouflage as well as ecosystems and food webs will be conducted. Students will complete projects and lapbooks and will have many opportunities to present what they have learned before an audience.
Earth Science - https://allinonehomeschool.com/science-earth-science/
Course Description - This course in earth science will engage students with experiments and projects. Students will also learn through text, video and online interactives. Their study of the earth will include learning the rock and water cycles. They will study rocks and the make up of the earth. They will learn about the types and causes of weather as well as how to predict the weather. Students will follow and learn about the numerous types of bodies of water in our world. They will dive into the ocean and discover what’s hidden in its depths. Students will learn about the atmosphere and fly up into space. They will study objects in space and learn the history of space exploration.
Physics / Chemistry - https://allinonehomeschool.com/science-year-4/
Course Description — Students will study chemistry and physics through experimentation, demonstration, readings, videos and a variety of online activities. They will learn about the periodic table and many of the elements, studying their structure and use. Students will model the structure of atoms and molecules and will explore the states of matter, discovering the properties of solids, liquids and gases. They will create and observe different types of chemical reactions and experiment with acids and bases. Physics topics include: light, sound, aerodynamics, forces, the Three Laws of Motion, energy, heat, electricity, magnetism, simple machines and engineering. Students will learn but also apply their learning by building a roller coaster, bridge and dome as well as circuits and solar oven.
Magic School Bus
What kid doesn’t love Magic School Bus. Ms. Frizzle and her class always seem to end up in the greatest adventures.
And finally, you’ll find 11 free lapbooks at Yee Shall Know
I used Magic School Bus for Princess Dork’s second-grade science and it was a BLAST! I paired the lessons with the science kits, read aloud some of the books and of course we watched the videos. We had so much fun that year. I plan to repeat it again for Nerdlet’s second-grade science.
Running a close second to Magic School Bus on the interest meter has to be Wild Kratts. My kids LOVE the Kratt brothers.
You’ll find loads of printable worksheets, extension activities and more to use with all of the Wild Kratt’s episodes, which you can watch for free with your Amazon Prime membership. Don't have Prime? You can get a 30-day FREE trial here.
Here are some other elementary resources that I have looked at extensively but never actually used. They are, from what I can tell, fabulous resources. I just haven’t gotten around to using them!
Elementary Life Science by Mr. Q
A completely free life science book and teacher’s manual.
Guest Hollow’s Science of Seasons
Course Description: Join Abigail, Henry, Grace, and their lively Fox Terrier, Beowulf, as they learn about the seasons and many other science topics! Some of the topics your child will learn: Arctic animals, Animal camouflage, Animal habitats, Animal migration, Butterflies and caterpillars, Earth's magnetic poles, Leaves changing color, Northern lights, Oceans, Plants, Seasons related topics (including the science that causes them), Snow, Sun, Volcanoes, Weather, Whales.
I’m actually considering this for Nerdlet’s 1st-grade year, but I haven’t decided yet. If we do end up using it I will come back and write my full review.
Middle School Science Curriculum (6th - 8th grade)
I haven’t taught middle school science at all (yet). When our older son started homeschool as a 7th grader he took his science classes through a local co-op. I plan to teach Princess Dork and Nerdlet myself and these are some of the courses that I’m looking into.
Georgia Virtual Learning Middle School
Georgia Virtual Learning offers online science courses for 6th through 8th grades.
6th-grade science covers the universe, our solar system, earth, moon and sun, water on earth, weather and climate, plate tectonics, rocks and minerals, weathering, erosion and soil.
7th-grade science covers diversity, cell structure and function, major organ systems, heredity, reproduction, matter and energy, ecosystems, biological evolution and natural selection.
8th-grade science covers topics such as matter and energy, forces, energy, sound and light through studies of sports, food and cooking, and science and toys.
As you can tell from the topic lists this is a secular curriculum that is used in Georgia public schools for virtual learning. If you are looking for Christian based science, this is probably not the best choice, but it is very comprehensive.
Course Description: Why study botany? I think botany is an overlooked topic that gets shoved into a chapter of biology and then forgotten. Plants affect and enrich so many parts of our lives! Our houses and clothes are made of plant materials. We eat plants. We enjoy their beauty. They provide us with medicines, fuel, perfume, dyes, paper and a variety of other products. They are tied to history and even our future. They are an integral part of our lives!
Guest Hollow’s Chemistry
Course Description: Welcome to Otter's Chemistry. This was one of our FAVORITE years of science ever! We both learned a lot! This year really deepened his understanding of the world around him. Even though it's been awhile, Otter still retains much of what he learned thanks to the great variety of books, materials, and activities and he loved this year so much that he can't wait to do chemistry again in high school. I will be working on a high school chemistry schedule in the future!
American Chemical Society’s Middle School Chemistry
Course Description: Investigate the world of atoms and molecules through hands-on inquiry-based activities and molecular model animations.
This is a very comprehensive course that includes a free textbook as well as a year of lesson plans that incorporates videos, experiments, printable worksheets, and other multimedia resources. This really looks like a lot of fun.
Guest Hollow’s Physical Science
Course Description: Otter studied physical science in 7th grade. We used a combination of Apologia's Physical Science and Exploration Education's Physical Science Advanced. I added a bunch of extras like living books, websites, printables and more.
High School Science Curriculum (9th - 12th grade)
Ah, the high school years, when science suddenly has mandatory “labs”…well at least in our state. I’ll admit, labs can seem a little daunting.
When we started homeschooling 10 years ago I began with a 10th-grade high schooler (and 7th grader). I didn’t have time to fret about labs. We just jumped in with both feet. That first year we covered Biology. We dissected a ton of stuff and used a microscope to look at some rather disgusting things, but it was fun!
High school science doesn’t have to be scary.
Disclaimer: As with all things, make sure that you check your state's requirements before choosing a curriculum for your student.
Georgia Virtual Learning
GVL offers numerous online courses in several subjects, including science. You’ll find Anatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, Biology, Earth Systems, Environmental Science, Epidemiology, Forensic Science, Geology and Physical Science. You’ll also find AP options for Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and several different Physics courses.
These are complete courses with online multimedia resources, printable pages, and more. There are also free courses available in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Fine Arts and electives such as Computer Science, Business, Banking, Film, Law and more. GREAT resource for high school.
Guest Hollow’s Biology
Course Description: Guest Hollow’s Biology Curriculum is a FREE Christian homeschool biology curriculum that incorporates a free high-quality textbook, videos, tons of labs to choose from with a multitude of budget and interest options, living books, a free workbook & answer key, incorporated Greek & Latin roots vocabulary, an independent study schedule, and more!
Virtual Homeschool Group
This site is an absolute goldmine. I cannot believe that they offer all that they do for free. Utilizing Apologia’s popular science textbooks, Virtual Homeschool Group offers completely free online classes with video lessons, computer scored quizzes and tests, lab support and more. WHAT?!? People pay hundreds of dollars for these same resources at other places on the web. I wish I had known about it when my older kids were taking these courses, but I will definitely be using it in a year or two when Princess Dork uses these texts.
As a side note, they also offer free courses for IEW, Fix it Grammar, Saxon Math, Spanish, Photography, Mystery of History, Government & Economics, and more!
Khan Academy offers complete courses of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. There are even AP versions of these courses available as well. These courses are computer based and utilize videos as well as computer quizzes and tests. The courses are very thorough.
Here are a couple of other non-traditional courses that I found.
High School Astronomy Course
Course Description: When the Oldest was a senior in high school, he chose to complete Astronomy for his last science class. We found a University of Texas Astronomy book quite inexpensively, and I did some of my own searching online for things to help aid in his study. The result is this syllabus - and we didn't even really need a textbook! I felt it was important to share it with others who also appreciate saving money in their homeschool budget.
Forensic Science Course
Course Description: Forensics Illustrated is a comprehensive collection of all the resources collected, manufactured, and utilized by Brennon Sapp during his nine years of teaching Forensic Science to high school students. This information was published in its entirety in the fall of 2004 by EOA Scientific. Now this information is available to anyone for free.
Do you know of free science curriculum that I've missed? Please share in the comments below.