Because of multiple requests, we have now picked up Singapore Math's science curriculum, My Pals Are Here Science. Each grade level consists of two parts, an A and a B set. Rather than chopping up the different branches of science into different grade levels and books, a thematic approach is taken, where concepts from different areas of science, including life science, physical science, chemistry and physical science are all linked together under the theme. This approach is meant to help children think about the relationships between different science concepts to lead to a better, more complete understanding of our world. One or more themes are presented in each text, with different science topics featured within each theme unit. The texts themselves are designed to be highly engaging, and feature lines of informative, factual text at an age-appropriate level, surrounded by an abundance of great full-color, well-labeled photos, fun drawings, and diagrams. The text is sprinkled throughout with little "Bits 'n Bites," which feature unique and interesting facts and "Group & Share" questions designed for discussion. Each chapter wraps up with a series of objectives that have been learned, as well as a list of related websites or activities to check out to extend the chapter. The corresponding workbook contains activities directly related to the text pages, with the topic being studied clearly printed at the top of the pages. The worksheets test student's knowledge of information from the text as well as their critical thinking skills, are intended to guide the student through each concept through a wide variety of activities such as classification, matching, labeling, listing, answering thinking questions, filling in graphic organizers, fill-in-the-blanks sentences, crossword puzzles, true/false questions, and many more. The activity book takes the concept a bit further than straight recollection and features pencil-and-paper as well as more hands-on activities that challenge the student to use their critical thinking skills and understanding of the scientific concepts to study the relationships between things. The use of graphic organizers as worksheets, more open-ended thinking questions, and observation are all used more frequently here than in the workbook. The teacher's edition for the activity book includes all the activities in the student book, with the answers in red. I haven't seen the teacher's edition of the textbook, but according to Singapore Math's website, the teacher's edition of the text contains the student text with teaching hints and tips. I would guess that if you feel fairly confident teaching science at this level and with these topics, that it may not be necessary. There is no teaching component to the workbook, although a separate answer sheet is included. Altogether, this looks like a very solid, complete, enjoyable program for elementary grades, and one that even science-haters may come to regard as fun.
Test books are also available for MPH science. Test books contain chapter summaries for review, tests, continual assessments, and semestral assessments. Five to eight tests are included in each test book, with two continual assessments and a couple semestral assessments scattered throughout for more testing. Test questions vary in format and include multiple-choice, short-answer, true/false, and matching. Higher-order thinking questions are marked with an asterisk. Answers to all tests are found at the end of each book. The tests are not reproducible, so you will need a test book for each child.
Note: This is not an Americanized edition, and although this is really not an issue through most of the books, a few places, foods, and animals from the Singapore regions may be occasionally mentioned, and several spellings are different, but these "variations" are few and far between - and hey, it's science - being introduced to these items might add a cool dimension. - Jess
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