Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crew Review: Christian Kids Explore Biology

We've had a great time this year looking at a lot of different types of science programs this year -- and it has been great to touch on a few different topics and subjects (I'm blessed with flexible kids!).  Not only has it added variety, but it has helped me to assess the sorts of curriculum I want to use with my middle and youngest boys.

A month or so ago, we received Christian Kids Explore Biology from Bright Ideas Press.  They have a whole multi-aged elementary/ middle school science program including:

Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space
Christian Kids Explore Physics
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry

The Biology program I received is recommended for grades 3-6.  It is available for $34.95. It was very easy to include my 6 year old in the reading and activities.  He is one who does not like to be left out.

For $7.95 (currently on sale as of the date of this post) you can purchase a CD of  all the student pages to save you the time of photocopying the coloring pages, fill-in reviews and activities in the book.

There are 35 lessons in eight units:

  1. Biology Basics (creation, cells, taxonomy, biosphere, food webs)
  2. Plants
  3. Birds
  4. Mammals
  5. Humans
  6. Reptiles
  7. Insects
  8. Water Creatures
There are many homeschool friendly features:
  • Vocabulary lists at the beginning of each unit
  • Materials needed for each unit
  • A unit coloring page 
  • Appendices full of reproducible maps, memorization lists (including scripture), coloring pages and supplemental activities and resources.
  • It is unabashedly Christian.  I appreciate that scripture and the awe of God's creation is included.
I appreciate how the lessons are simply crafted:  a TEACHING TIME, which is a reading section that you can complete in just a few minutes.  The next section is called the HANDS ON TIME.  This is a craft or activity or even a mini-Bible study that corresponds with the topic.

Here's pictures from one of our hands-on times when the boys made cells out of candy and jello:

I'd have to say that the boys really liked it because they love being read to and learning science stuff.  I, on the other hand, felt that it was a little "light" in comparison to some of the other science programs we've used in the past.  The entire human anatomy and physiology is in one lesson (except reproduction, which is in it's own optional lesson).  In another example, the boys were super excited to make the cells, but after gathering the materials, I realized that the book hadn't really described all the organelles that we wanted to include in our jello/ fruit roll-up cells. After a few internet searches, I found elementary-level friendly explanations of the various cell structure functions, which satisfied my need to expose the boys to higher level information.  I guess I just assumed that this one book would have enough information in it that I wouldn't have to supplement with outside resources. So for our family, we can use this program, but I just have to remember to do my homework ahead of time and gather any additional library books, videos and websites to beef it up.

Since I mentioned that this book does have a lesson in reproduction, I'm sure you'd like to know what it involves.  The TEACHING TIME draws a parallel between flower fertilization and human fertilization of the egg by sperm (but doesn't get into specifics about how that happens).  Vocabulary terms include uterus, womb, placenta, umbilical cord, sperm, ova, faternal twins and identical twins.  It is very basic.  

I really appreciate that the CD of student pages was created; It is hard to get quality copies from a nearly 300 page book on my printer.  I do wish the PDF pages were more aesthetically designed.  The pages are exact copies from the text book, but with all the text removed except the review/ student activity questions.  Here's an example:

page in the book
from the CD
If you'd like to learn what others thought of the biology and other science courses, please read more Crew Reviews:


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

1 comment:

Kate said...

This was well done! I love the detail and the photos and all the explanation.

Thanks so much!

Your blog is lovely.