Perpetual Calendars

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There certainly is a tendency to water down scientific concepts for the elementary student until there isn't much of interest left! Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way. This science series, geared towards elementary-aged children, focuses on science from a biblical viewpoint, is flexible enough to be used with children of slightly different age levels and learning styles, is open-ended, and best of all, has lots of fun hands-on activities that are sure to impress the kids. In the beginning of each book is a helpful orientation to gear you up for teaching science. The authors are very sensitive to the needs of children of different learning styles such as auditory, visual, kinesthetic, relational, and analytical. They have made a significant effort to include a range of activities and ways of presenting material that will appeal to students with varying learning styles. In fact, they even mark activities with small icons to indicate which learning style the activity is best suited to. Following the initial orientation is a very helpful section on how to teach from a solid creationist viewpoint, and how to answer questions posed by evolutionists, which you will inevitably come across in supplemental science texts and books. The authors clearly lay out several common "takes" on the origins of life, and explain why they believe the literal biblical account of creation. Several pieces of evidence to counteract common evolutionary myths are also presented to help you along. Now that you're firmly grounded and ready to jump into science with the kids, it's time to dive in!

Now, which branch of science would you like to begin with? Four series in this terrific program are available now, including God's Design for Life, God's Design for Heaven and Earth, God's Design for Chemistry, and God's Design for the Physical World. God's Design for Life and God's Design for the Physical World are useable with grades 1-6, while the Chemistry and Physical World series are intended for grades 3-7. The grade span was intended to be fairly open so homeschooling families could use the same program with children at slightly different levels, with little adjustment. Each 3-book series can be completed in a year if 3 science lessons are done each week. The books in each series are similar in format, so you don't have to worry about re-orienting yourself every time you jump into a new topic. The lessons themselves are relatively short, a couple pages at a time, and a short list of the necessary around-the-house supplies needed for the lesson is found at the beginning. There are a few items (usually optional) which you may want to purchase from a science supply store, or pick up at your local discount store (different types of seeds, plaster of Paris, compass, copper wire, etc.). At times, supplemental books are recommended, which you may want to obtain in advance from your library.

Lessons begin with a textual portion, which you may opt to have children read on their own, or read aloud as a group. A simple follow-up activity is then included for students to play with the concept, and "see it in action." Some of these include creating your own "cell" out of a small zip-top bag, yellow gelatin, and small edible objects poked into the gelatin to represent different organelles (from God's Design for Life). Or the activity on tectonic plates, where students moisten a few sheets of newspaper, and pushing from each side, create mountains (from God's Design for Heaven and Earth). Or the one where kids compare the viscosity of five different liquids by testing them and touching them (from God's Design for Chemistry). All the activities demonstrate well the concept that has just been read about, and are sure to make a good connection to the topic. Activities range from simple, hands-on activities or demonstrations to slightly more detailed activities which include charts and "lab worksheets" to be completed during the activity. I'm very impressed with the small amount of preparation time needed, the lack of "fancy" materials needed, and the overall "fun factor" that's sure to draw the kids in. After the project has died out, the lesson is wrapped up with several "What did we learn?" review questions, suggestions for exploring the topic further, and a fun fact about the topic. Each book also includes a sprinkling of page-length "Special Features" which showcase an important person, discovery, or just an interesting facet of science. Quizzes are placed periodically following related lessons, and feature short answer questions in different formats. Each book also includes a unit test at the end. Appendices to the books include answers to the test and quizzes, a resource guide, master supply list, and a list of the reproducible pages in the book. The format of the lessons is loose enough to allow you to insert your own supplemental readings and activities as well. Overall, the authors have done a great job creating a quality, consistent, and all-in-one-book science curriculum, and in presenting the material in a way that most kids will find appealing and interesting. I have a small suspicion that Mom may in fact, come to enjoy science as much as the kids! - Jess

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