Sunday, November 10, 2013

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

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It's no big secret that our family loves the homeschool science curriculum from Apologia Educational Ministries. Addison, our high schooler, is using her fifth Apologia science course this year (Advanced Biology: The Human Body). Last winter, Brennan and I used Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. (You can see that review here.) A few months ago, Apologia announced the release of a new elementary homeschool science program -- Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.

I was so excited to hear about the Chemistry and Physics program that I immediately downloaded the sample chapter and started studying with Brennan. When I found out that we would be able to review the program, we added Lauren into the mix. We received the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics textbook, a Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal, and a Junior Notebooking Journal to use for our homeschool science studies.

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is one of Apologia's elementary science curriculum options and is intended for Kindergarten through Sixth graders. I primarily used the materials with Brennan, our seventh grader, but Lauren, or second grader, joined us for many of the lessons.

Apologia science materials excel in providing hands-on learning experiences that correspond with the written lessons. Each chapter of our textbook included many opportunities to either build a model or perform a simple experiment. Thankfully, none of the activities required us to find obscure materials or to clean up a huge mess. More importantly, we didn't have any problems getting the experiments to turn out the way they were supposed to.

The two notebooking journals allowed Brennan and Lauren to record their newly acquired knowledge in creative ways. Each chapter of the journals offered places for the student to record interesting facts, to practice their vocabulary, to copy scriptures relating to the topic at hand, and to explore the concepts with additional projects. I often used Brennan's notebooking journal as a way of checking to make sure he was grasping the information in the textbook. Lauren enjoyed doing the coloring pages and the scripture copywork. With help, she was able to complete the vocabulary activities.

I found that this book introduced a lot of science vocabulary. Lauren sometimes struggled when too many new words and concepts were introduced in a single sitting so we divided the lessons into shorter segments than what was on the suggested schedule in the notebooking journals.

As I used these materials with Brennan and Lauren, I found them fairly easy to modify to fit each child's abilities. Lesson 3 is a thorough introduction to atoms and molecules. Lauren now understands that everything is made up of atoms and that atoms are too tiny to see unless you have a high-powered microscope in a professional science lab. She also knows that atoms are made up of smaller particles. After grasping those concepts, I allowed her to wander off and color a page in her junior notebooking journal. Brennan, on the other hand, now knows all the particles in an atom, understands the way the periodic table is organized, and can explain the difference between covalent and ionic bonds between atoms.

Brennan is developing a solid foundation of basic chemistry and physics concepts that will be needed as he moves into Apologia's high school science courses.I'd recommend these science materials for older elementary students (at least fourth grade) and even middle school students (seventh or eighth graders).  Younger students, such as Lauren, are exposed to concepts that can be explored in greater depth as they grow older. 

The Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics textbook costs $39, and the two notebooking journals each cost $24. If you are a military family, you will be interested in knowing about Apologia's generous military discount.


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