Earth & Environment Level 1


REAL Science Odyssey- Earth & Environment Level 1 is a semester-long, secular homeschool science curriculum for elementary grades. Students learn key concepts in astronomy through an incremental series of lessons and hands-on exploration. Pair with Astronomy Level 1 for a full year curriculum.

Pages: 318

Grade level: 1st – 4th grade

Course type: textbook

Author: Blair H. Lee, M.S.


What is Earth & Environment Level 1?

REAL Science Odyssey- Earth & Environment Level is a comprehensive, secular homeschool science curriculum. Students learn the key concepts in earth and environmental science through an incremental series of lessons–from the ground beneath their feet to the highest reaches of the atmosphere. Environmental science is also integrated into the course, giving students insight into how living things, including humans, interact with and change the earth. Age-appropriate math and labs are woven in as well, providing students with many opportunities to apply the scientific method and reinforce their knowledge. The course guides elementary-age learners as they Read, Explore, Absorb, and Learn earth science:
  • Read– Fun, engaging readings introduce big ideas and details for the chapter. The text is designed to be read aloud to students, fostering questions and discussion.
  • Explore–Carefully crafted, hands-on experiments demonstrate how air, water, rocks, and living things interact and give your students practice using the scientific method.
  • Absorb– REAL Science engages visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic learners, to help every student understand and retain key concepts.
  • Learn– with Earth & Environment Level 1, you don’t just learn about how our planet works, you go outside and investigate it yourself, using the scientific method!

It’s also important to understand what REAL Science Odyssey is not. This curriculum is NOT:

  • A random selection of labs. It’s a fully developed, incremental homeschool science curriculum.
  • Lightweight. Children will learn REAL earth and environmental science, from plate tectonics to climate change, and they’ll use the real scientific method.
  • Dry or boring. Night-sky observations, hands-on experiments, puzzles, and poems keep kids engaged and curious.
  • Influenced by religion. All REAL Science Odyssey courses are secular and based on valid, empirical science.


Who can use Earth & Environment Level 1?

We recommend Earth & Environment Level 1 for children in grades 1-4. Labs, readings, and assignments can be adapted easily to students of different ages. Read aloud and transcribe written answers for younger students, and give older students more independence.

Elementary-age students are endlessly curious about the natural world around them. They love to look under logs, dig holes, and collect rocks. RSO Earth & Environment leverages this curiosity. It gets children into the natural world to observe and explore processes at work in shaping our planet.

What’s more, you don’t need to have a science background to use this homeschool science curriculum! All materials are written with the science novice in mind, so you don’t need to do a lot of extra research in advance of the lessons.

You can also use Earth & Environment Level 1 as part of a co-op or with multiple students. If you’re using the curriculum with more than one student, you can purchase extra copies of the consumable student pages separately.

If you need a homeschool science curriculum for a different grade or a different subject, check out the REAL Science Odyssey homepage.


Science Topics Covered

Earth & Environment Level 1 starts with the basics, and each unit builds on the last. Every unit reinforces aspects of the scientific method and critical thinking. Each unit explores a big idea or question in depth through reading, experiments, and conversation.

What Is Earth Science?

What Is Earth Science?

  • The four spheres of Earth and how they interact: geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
  • Environmental science: the relationship between living things and their environment
  • How scientific models are used to examine earth’s systems
  • Geologic time: the age of the earth, and how it has changed over time




  • Earth’s layers
  • Minerals combine to make rocks
  • Minerals make crystals
  • The rock cycle
  • Soil and erosion
  • Earth’s crust is made of giant slabs of rock that move constantly
  • Convection drives plate tectonics
Atmosphere and Hydrosphere

Atmosphere and Hydrosphere

  • Atmosphere is the layer of air around the planet
  • The water cycle
  • Pollution
Weather, Climate, and Erosion

Weather, Climate, and Erosion

  • Measuring different aspects of weather
  • How wind and precipitation form
  • The difference between climate and weather
  • Global warming: the science and what we can do about it
  • How ice, water, wind, and animals cause weathering and erosion
  • Weathering: how rocks break down into smaller pieces


Science Skills Covered

In addition to being a complete, homeschool astronomy curriculum, REAL Science Odyssey will guide your student in learning essential skills that will serve them throughout their education and life, such as:
  • Applying the Scientific method
  • Critical Thinking
  • Observation
  • Presenting scientific data
  • Reading and interpreting informational texts


Lab Experiments

No homeschool science curriculum would be complete without hands-on experiments. Children will get their hands dirty exploring, observing, and modeling the processes and materials that shape our planet. With Earth & Environment Level 1, your child will:
  • Make a timeline that puts Earth’s age–4.54 billion years–into perspective
  • Demonstrate that even though it’s invisible, air has the properties of mass and volume
  • Model the formation of igneous rocks by making a delicious dessert
  • Create a water cycle in a bowl, where they can observe evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in miniature

. . . and much more! Each experiment includes detailed supply lists, step-by-step instructions, and, when needed, safety precautions.

Lab sheets guide your student through implementing the scientific method. Your student will gain experience:

  • Formulating hypotheses based on knowledge gained from the reading
  • Recording observations and results
  • Drawing conclusions based on those results
  • Reinforcing their knowledge by answering questions about the experiment.


Planning and Scheduling

Research shows that science is best learned in deep investigations of a single subject, rather than short hops from one field to another. RSO curricula align with this methodology. Earth & Environment Level 1 is designed to take about 18 weeks to complete. It includes:
  • 18 weeks of material, assuming you teach science twice a week. [Combine with Astronomy Level 1 for a full year or more of science!]
  • Suggested weekly schedule for the entire course
  • Supply list break down for each week
  • Instructor pages that guide you in implementing each lesson and lab
  • Student pages are available if using the curriculum with more than one student


Important Copyright Information: If you choose the eBook version of this course, you are purchasing a license to use the PDF for your own children. You may make copies for your own children, but you may not share (email, download, print and distribute, resell, etc.) this eBook or any portion of this eBook to others.

Licensing is available for group, school, and co-op use. Please contact Pandia Press for details on group licensing (

Most supplies are normal household items that you can find either in your home or at the grocery, craft, or big-box store. You’ll also need a 3-ring binder for lab and notebook pages.

Uncommon Supplies Needed for Course Labs:

Science Thermometer– The liquid in good science thermometer goes down on its own, unlike the liquid in a medical thermometer, which must be shaken down. Some kitchen thermometers will work, but most do not go low enough. You will need a thermometer that will go down to 30° F or 0° C.

Inflatable Globe

RSO Rock and Mineral Kit & Streak Plate- A custom kit is available from Rainbow Resource. If you want to put together your own kit, you will need 1- to 2-inch samples of: Talc, Magnetite, Mica, Pyrite, Feldspar, Quartz Crystal, Granite, Basalt, Snowflake Obsidian, Conglomerate, Sandstone, Shale, Marble, Slate, and Schist. Plus, you need a streak plate to test mineral streak color. An unglazed kitchen tile (or even a sidewalk) can serve as a streak plate.

Please see the Try Before You Buy file for a complete list of the lab supplies needed to complete this course.

EE SP  RSO Astronomy