Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Review: Christian Kids Explore Biology
Some families love anything and everything that has to do with science. Their children eat up science curriculum and beg for more science information and activities. Other families, like mine, try to make sure that science isn't completely forgotten in the midst of a stack of other materials and a calendar packed with activities.
I reviewed Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space last year and found that it worked perfectly for a family that doesn't necessarily want daily science lessons. (You can read my review of that book here.) For the past few weeks, Brennan and I have been using Christian Kids Explore Biology, and once again I'm thrilled with the way it's filling a science need for our family.
Christian Kids Explore Biology contains 35 lessons, divided among eight units. Those units include: Biology Basics, Plants in God's World, Birds of the Earth, Mammals in the Wild, The Human Factor, Reptiles All Around, Insects High and Low, and Water Creatures.
Each lesson is divided into Teaching Time and Hands-On Time. The Teaching Time section is roughly 2-3 pages long. Sometimes I read the section to Brennan, but other times he works through it on his own. These short sections have a heavy focus on science vocabulary. For me, that's perfect for an elementary science curriculum. I'm not particularly concerned about Brennan remembering lots of science facts. I'm happy knowing that he's familiar with the words and concepts he'll use in his upper level science classes.
After discussing the lesson on one day of the week, we work on the the Hands-on materials a different day. Sometimes it suggests a project such as building a 3D cell model, but it might also be unit wrap-up questions or research suggestions.
For our family, the twice weekly science lessons are sufficient. The Christian Kids Explore Science series includes plenty of extra materials for families that want to add more science in their days. The last 100 pages of the biology book is full of extra resources: memory lists for each unit, scripture memory suggestions with reminder cards, suggestions and clip art to create an ABC animal kingdom book over the course of the year, additional coloring pages, extra activity suggestions, and a full answer key. It also has an impressive 30 page list of books, movies, and field trips that would be appropriate additions to the curriculum. I think there's plenty of materials to use four or five days per week for an entire school year.
Christian Kids Explore Biology is available from Bright Ideas Press for $34.95. The companion activity CD is currently on sale for $7.95 (reduced from $12.95). The CD is not necessary, but it makes it easy to print the reproducible pages from the book instead of having to make photocopies. It has all of the activity sheets, review-its, wrap-ups, coloring pages, and experiment records.
The Christian Kids Explore Science series also includes books covering Earth and Space, Chemistry, and Physics. The biology and earth science books are intended for third through sixth graders; the physics and chemistry materials are for slightly older elementary students (fourth through eighth graders).
If you'd like to hear what the other members of the review crew thought about the Christian Kids Explore Science series, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.