Purposeful Design Jr. High Science (Gr. 6-9)

Purposeful Design (ACSI) has now published science curriculum for the junior high/middle school grade levels - Life Science, and Earth & Space Science, and Physical Science. If you like using Purposeful Design materials for your elementary grades and want to continue with the familiar and easy-to-use format, you can now continue through the junior high years. Just like the 4th through 6th grades of the curriculum, there are 3 components - teacher manual, student text, and lab manual.

The Teacher Manual is an important part of the curriculum, including a lot of additional information not found in the student text. The front pages offer an overview of the course and each component; how to prepare a lesson; and an explanation of the scientific method, measurements, and lab safety. You will then find instruction for each chapter and each lesson. For each chapter, a list of key ideas and vocabulary; summary; and lesson background are given. As you begin each lesson (numbered: i.e. 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3), there are objectives, lesson-specific vocabulary, materials needed for the lesson (not the lab), an introduction, discussion questions, activities, and answers to the lesson review. Small format student pages are shown for each lesson. The lesson shows when it is time for a lab, along with the supplies needed. Small format lab manual pages are included with suggested answers written in red. “Try This” boxes are found throughout the lessons for additional opportunities to learn. Online resources (accessed through a link featured in the introduction to the book) includes PDFs of blackline masters, transparency masters, chapter tests, and answer keys.

The Student Text is hardcover and is divided into units. Seven units cover life; viruses/bacteria/archaea/fungi/protists; plants; animals; human body; genetics and heredity; and ecology. Units are then divided into chapters and lessons. Before jumping into the chapters, there is an explanation of the scientific method, measurements, and lab safety. A glossary can be found at the back of the text for easy reference.

The Lab Manual offers activity pages for every lab with numbered lessons. These pages are non-reproducible and are perforated for easy removal. When applicable, the consumable work pages are set up following the scientific method - question, hypothesis, experiment, analysis, and conclusion. A supply list and step-by-step instructions are offered. Although there is a supply list in the teacher manual, the lab manual is the only place that the instructions for the lab are found. Many of the labs and experiments can be done with items from around your home or which are easily accessible. In some cases, you may be asked to provide hand lenses, thermometers, meter sticks, spring scales, eyedroppers, microscope slides, or a triple beam balance. If you can’t obtain some of these items, just skip that lab. Since plenty of labs are included, skipping a few for which you don’t have supplies shouldn’t affect learning the content.

If you are familiar with Purposeful Design, you know that their curriculum is written for classroom use. This course is no exception. Most activities and group suggestions can be adapted for a homeschool environment. The content is solid and would be comparable for those doing Bob Jones or Abeka materials. This is a great addition to the Purposeful Design line of products, and I can’t wait to see what the new Earth & Space curriculum looks like. ~ Donna

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