Why and How to Use Life Science Lapbooks

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Lapbooks are a great interactive teaching resource that you can do at home with your children. The best part about lapbooks is they can be adapted to fit any subject or grade level. So, if you are teaching different ages, you can easily teach the same subject and just vary the difficulty of the lapbook for each child.

Today, I’m going to share some free printable lapbooks I’ve made for my kids that cover life science topics. (They are at the end of the post.) We are still studying life science, so as I create more lapbooks, I will add them to this post.

But, first, a little background on lapbooks.

What is a Lapbook?

Simply put, a lapbook is a collection of minibooks, foldables, drawings, and other interactive items where students record information about a particular topic.

life science lapbook platypus
Here is an example of a Platypus lapbook that my first grade completed.

Lapbooks can also be as simple or complex as you want, depending on your student’s needs. In the example above, I was making a lapbook for my first grader and it was the first one she had ever done, so I kept it simple. As we did more, I have added more complex features like more foldables, etc.

If you are going to make lapbooks, either by creating your own or using ones you download from the web, you will most likely need: manilla folders, crayons or colored pencils, glue, stickers, anything else to decorate the folder for the given subject.

Why Should I Use Lapbooks?

Basically, you should consider using lapbooks because they are a pretty easy way to inject some fun and enthusiasm into your homeschool.

Plus, we all know student engagement and retention increases when a lesson is hands-on and interactive. Lapbooks are perfect for this. Lapbooks are fully customizable, if you make your own. You can create areas for your child to create an illustration about the topic or write about his or her favorite things on a particular subject.

There are also tons of free lapbooks available on the web, so don’t feel like you have to make your own to be able to have amazing creations to incorporate into your homeschool.

Lapbooks are great for satisfying different learning styles, too. It can be just enough worksheet for kids who like those, but it is totally interactive and hands-on for your children who thrive with those types of assignments.

Lapbooks are also great for Summertime. When you want to keep learning, but want the learning to be more fun or relaxed.

By deciding what types of information will go in the lapbook, you can also help students focus on certain aspects of a particular subject.

For example, my first grader is studying life science and I wanted her to get more comfortable with different classifications of animals. So, in my life science lapbooks, I have them color in a chart to show the classification for the animal covered in each lapbook. You can see an example below.

life science lapbook cover

Even More Benefits to Lapbooks

Another aspect that I love about lapbooks is how excited my girls get to show off what they’ve created! If they have a new lapbook, it is one of the first things they show Daddy when he comes home in the afternoon. Or, when we FaceTime with grandparents, I have to hold the phone over the lapbook as my oldest explains each piece and tells the lucky recipient all about Platypuses or Bumblebees.

That excitement about learning – isn’t that what we are all after as homeschool moms?

When my daughter is showing off her lapbook, she’s practicing another important skill – narration.

We always hear how public speaking and presentation skills are so important – and it all starts with narration practice as a young child. Presenting their life science lapbooks gets my girls comfortable giving a presentation and recalling information.

Ready to make a lapbook? Great!

How to Create a Lapbook

Diving into a new project can be intimidating, but lapbooks are pretty simple, so don’t let the newness stop you.

When I create new lapbooks, here are the steps I take:

1) Decide on a topic.

2) Research the topic. (We watch documentaries and read books.)

3) Design or download a lapbook template.

4) Open the manilla folder and fold the edges to meet at the middle. This creates the “book”. Have your child fill-in, color, cut, fold, and glue the pieces into their lapbook. Here is a great tutorial if you are confused.

Depending on the age of your child, you may have to help with some of the cutting or arranging. For my four year old, I write the information in highlighter and she wrote over it.

5) We keep a notebook in our homeschool and my children write about different topics we cover. I wanted them to be able to keep their lapbooks, too, so I 3-hole punched them and they fit in their binders perfectly.

Need some lapbooks to get started? Here are the life science lapbooks I have created so far: (Just click the name of the lapbook you want and the download will open in a new window.)

platypus lapbook

Horses lapbook

Ladybug Lapbook

Have you tried lapbooks in your homeschool? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below! Not studying life science yet? Pin this post to save it for when you cover life science in your homeschool or classroom.

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