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Oxford Virtual Academy

Dinosaur Hill is excited to be offering a completely digital experience with Oxford Virtual Academy for the Winter/Spring 2021 Semester!

Exploring the natural sciences, we will take a virtual look at several different aspects of earth-science topics from the comfort of our own homes by exploring a wide range of scientific specialties by observing experiments and field work of their respective fields to learn how to live a day in the life of a scientist! Each week we will take a close look at a specific field of study as our in-house scientist takes the children on wacky and quirky adventures through experiments, field work, and the scientific method. These classes will be prerecorded with inspiration drawn from Bill Nye, Coyote Peterson and other entertaining and educational presenters. Every week will have an at-home experiment to replicate, a short exploration assignment with plenty of supplemental resources and tools to keep children engaged and excited for additional content!

These special web episodes and content are geared specifically towards early elementary students (K-4th grade) and are developed with their developmental milestones in mind. Lectured lessons are short and silly and at-home experiments hands on and engaging with an emphasis on asking questions, exploring ideas and playing scientist.

Our semester is completely free for homeschool students enrolled with the Oxford Virtual Academy with no additional fees.

The fourteen week semester will be completely digital for Winter/Spring 2021 with classes going live every Wednesday beginning on February 3rd, 2021!


Registration is easy! Simply email Joel@DinosaurHill.org with your child's full name (first, middle initial and last) and their OVA grade level and you're set!

Winter/Spring 2021 Syllabus:

Week 01: Introduction to Earth Science

            Welcome to Dinosaur Hill! For our first class we will be exploring just what it means to be a scientist. We will be learning about the scientific method, asking questions, learning how to gather information, discovering what a hypothesis is and running a few experiments. At home we will be learning how to keep a scientific journal and performing a simple experiment after gathering some information on our own!

Week 02: Paleontology, the study of fossils

            It wouldn’t be a fossil day without looking at some dinosaur fossils. We will be exploring some of Dinosaur Hill’s own fossil collection before conducting a demonstration to discover how fossils are formed on Earth. We will run an experiment with dinosaur teeth and learn how to put together our own fossils at home (using a few different methods for science-sake!)

Week 03: Hydrology, the study of water

            With 364 quintillion gallons of water on our planet we have a lot to discuss on this day. We will soak up some knowledge on the water cycle by learning how to produce your own clouds at home before shrinking the entire planet to the size of a basketball and dividing out every source of water we can think of. At home we will continue to expand upon our water knowledge by performing a window-sill experiment with water evaporation!

Week 04: Pollution

            Mankind has given the earth a lot but unfortunately not all of that has been beneficial. In the United States we generate approximately 230 million tons of trash every single year! We will be taking a look at the resources that we gather from the world by engaging in a very special mindcraft themed demonstration as we break apart the world and rebuild it with the raw materials. The consequence of this will be generating pollution and we will perform an experiment to see if we can clean up a dirtied lake with technology. At home we will go on a mission to help clean up our neighborhoods and sort our recyclables.

Week 05: Meteorology, the study of atmosphere and weather

            The weather this time of the year can be totally unpredictable but that just isn’t so. Scientists have become increasingly better at predicting the changes in the weather using special tools. Let’s take a peek at a weather station, learn a little about how the tools work, and make a prediction on what the weather will be! At home we will learn how to keep a weather journal and learn a little about making graphs.

Week 06: Astronomy, the study of space

            We love space here at Dinosaur Hill. We will be taking a look at the planets of our solar system and what makes them each special and unique before learning how to put together our own meteorites at home to hang in our rooms!

Week 07: Geology, the study of rocks and minerals

            We’re really going to rock this topic. We will have a large collection of fossils, minerals and rocks to learn about. We will learn about the properties and differences between many before placing several beneath stereoscopes for better looks at their intricacies. We will conduct a rock hardness test to learn about the Mohs scale and learn how to tumble rocks into stones for making our own jewelry. At home we will be exploring volcanoes and running a classic experiment.

Week 08: Entomology, the study of insects

            We will begin this day by learning about the differences between bugs, insects, and other creepy-crawlies but turning Mr Joel into an insect! Once we know just what it takes to be an insect we will take a few of our in-house critters out for a show. From giant cockroaches and tarantulas to strange dessert beetles we will have our skin crawling from excitement! At home we will don our safari hats, head into the darkest, spookiest places of our homes and perform a population study of our resident bugs!

Week 09: Zoology, behavior and adaptations

            There’s a lot to talk about regarding Zoology at Dinosaur Hill so we’re breaking this massive topic down into three different days. The first we will take a look at animal adaptations. We will learn a little about animal adaptations, specialized behaviors or body parts that help animals collect and fulfill their basic needs of survival. We can’t think of a better opportunity to nerd out over our love for fox squirrels so we’re going to see how much squirrel actions we can squeeze into a day! At home we will practice our information gathering skills by researching an animal of our choice to learn about their adaptations.

Week 10: Zoology, life cycles

            In our second day of zoology we shall explore the ways in which organisms change over time, focusing on our frogs and butterflies but not limiting ourselves to them. We will take a look at our in-house tree frog and learning about metamorphosis! We will even explore animals which change more subtly over time (IE, humans!) to learn about our own life cycles! At home we will be putting together spinning life-cycle dioramas.

Week 11: Zoology, ethically keeping animals

            To conclude zoology we will take a look at all of the animals that call dinosaur hill home. We will take all of our in-house animals out to learn about their behaviors, personalities, habitational requirements and dietary preferences. At home we will research an animal that is available in most pet-stores in order to make a list of their requirements for happiness (and maybe convince a parent or two to take the plunge into responsible pet ownership!)

Week 12: Botany, the study of plants

            With winter on the edge of turning we will spend a bit of some learning about what plants in our region of the world do to get ready for the dormant months by transitioning a tree through the seasons indoors. We will take a look at flowers up close and learn about their parts and how fruits come to be. At home we will be planting a few seeds and experimenting with different light and watering techniques to see if a flower prefers to grow with soda instead of water!

Week 13: Ecology, the study of natural relationships

            It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes an ecosystem to raise a squirrel. Join us for a very special class all about animal interactions. We will investigate the way in which all living things share the forest and benefit from one another while simultaneously competing for resources. Included in this class, we will be taking a look at invasive species and playing a game to uncover the significant damage they can do. At home we will be putting together our own creative ecosystem energy chains to really get an idea of how complex nature can be!

Week 14: Biology, the study of living organisms

            To end off our series about earth science we will look at one final chapter to the world’s story: biology. From viruses, bacteria, fungi, plants and animals we will investigate the many living organisms that call our planet home while spotting differences between the way in which they grow, behave and share the world. We will learn how to spore a mushroom and take a look at bacteria beneath a microscope.

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