For years I have trusted Apologia with our family science curriculum and have been blessed with children that love science. However, I knew that as my son entered eighth grade this year I wanted him to start being more independent with his science in preparation for high school. This review of the new Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition by Apologia came at the perfect time and I couldn’t wait to give it a try.
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I received the Textbook, Student Notebook, and Solutions and Test book for this curriculum. The curriculum was designed for junior high students and recommended for seventh grade. However, we are choosing to use it as an eighth-grade course and I think it works well for either grade. The course begins with an overview of the history of science and various scientist. It moves on to learning about the scientific method and documenting results as well as scientific analysis and history. After that overview it begins to teach about specific areas of science including astronomy, geology and paleontology, meteorology and oceanography, chemistry, life science, and more. I felt like it was a great overview course to help prepare for the more specific high school level courses.
I was a little concerned about how the transition to independence would go with my son because he was so accustomed to doing science together and his ADHD can make organization a bit of a struggle. However, I was very pleased to see how well they laid out this program and the features that were put into place to help students transition to independent learning. While we had a bit of a learning curve the first couple of days from him not wanting to take the time to read the directions, with-in the first week he had gotten the hang of the lay-out and was completing his lessons independently.
The front pages of the student notebook are written to the parent and give grading suggestions and experiment rubrics. Next comes a schedule that lays out what a student should be doing each day in order to complete the course in 33 four-day weeks. While we will probably adjust that schedule somewhat to fit our needs, I really appreciated having it all laid out and easy for my son to follow. At the beginning of each day’s work in the notebook there is a checklist of the activities to complete for that day. For a student that can get sidetracked or forget about multiple steps this can be really helpful in keeping them on track.
The notebook is very well set up and designed to help a student learn how to take good notes, use graphic organizers, learn related vocabulary and prepare for the end of module tests. There is a study guide at the end of each module for the student to complete and use as they study for the end of module test. In the back of the notebook, there are lab report forms for each lab that is included in the text book. These forms help walk the student through the entire process and then help them learn to write more formal lab reports to prepare for high school.
The test book includes a test for each module (except the last module on modern day scientists which does not include a test). The first two tests are designed to be open book tests and get the students accustomed to the testing process. The later tests are designed to be done without the assistance of the book after studying the chapter and review materials. The tests are reasonably short, ranging from 6-13 questions, and mostly multiple choice or matching questions.
Our experience with this program has been wonderful. I loved how easy it was to get my son started and help transition him to independence. He loved the variety of experiments that are included in every module (and I appreciated that they were simple enough that he could use mostly items from around our home to complete them). We finished up the first two modules of this program and are looking forward to finishing the curriculum during this upcoming school year. I think this program will prepare him well for his high school level sciences.
I encourage you to check out Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition., if you are looking for a creation based general science for your middle grades student. If you are not yet to the middle grades years you can check out my review of one of their elementary programs from last year. Don’t forget to click on the banner below and read the reviews from other Crew Members.
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