Science in the Age of Reason is the fourth book in a hands-on, multilevel elementary science series that introduces scientific concepts using history as its guide. It covers the scientific works of natural philosophers from the early 1600s to the early 1800s. Because the course covers science as it was developed, it discusses a wide range of topics including astronomy, medicine, botany, zoology, chemistry, geology, human physiology, electricity, conservation laws, and weather. Students learn not only the science that was being discovered at the time, but also the beliefs of the natural philosophers who were discovering it. As a result, students can see how a person's worldview affects his or her scientific conclusions.
Because of its unique design, the course can be used by all elementary-age students. Each lesson contains an interesting hands-on activity that helps illustrate the scientific concept that is being discussed, and it concludes with three different levels of review exercises. Students do whatever review exercise matches their specific level of understanding.
After much speculation and anticipation, Dr. Jay Wiles new elementary science curriculum is now available, and dare I say, it has been worth the wait! For those unaware, Dr. Jay Wile is the author of the Jr. and Sr. High Apologia Science curriculum which was specifically designed for homeschool family use, and he continues in the same vein with his newest courses.
Designed to be used every other day, each of the curriculum courses provides one year’s worth of science instruction. Each book is divided into six sections that include twelve foundational lessons and three challenge lessons, for a total of 90 lessons. While the challenge lessons may be considered optional if you have a science-resistant child, you will find they add depth and enjoyment to the subject being studied and provide excellent extension activities for older or gifted students.
Designed with the belief that children of elementary age can learn together, each lesson includes a hands-on activity or experiment (parental supervision required), approximately three pages of reading, and review questions at three levels of difficulty. The hands-on activities or experiments primarily use commonly found household items, although lab kits are available. Supply lists by unit are conveniently located in the front of the textbooks, making it easy to secure items ahead of time.
While the hardcover Text contains all of the instruction, the author has provided parents with a “Helps & Hints” softcover book which offers experiment and activity notes, answers to all three levels of questions, and optional tests/answers for those who want to incorporate assessments (reproducible for family use). The author recommends students keep notebooks of activities/experiments and lesson questions to evaluate learning. Some reproducible activity templates are included to facilitate this.
The first course, Science in the Beginning, teaches science topics as they relate to the six days of creation. Here is an example of the questions and how the level of difficulty increases. From Lesson 9, Day 1 of Creation:
“Younger Students: Where does your eye’s lens focus the light that passes through it? What do the rods and the cones do in the eye? Older Students: Make your own drawing of the eye, based on the one you see on pg. 25. Label the cornea, lens, retina, and optic nerve. Make a note that the rods and cones can be found on the retina. Also, point out in the drawing where the blind spot is, and explain why it is a blind spot. Oldest Students: Do what the older students are doing. In addition, I want you to predict what would happen if I changed the instructions in the experiment. Suppose I asked you to hold the book so the red squares are just to the left of your nose. Then, suppose I told you to close your right eye and look at the red and blue circles with your left eye. Then, suppose I asked you to bring the book closer and closer to your face. Can you predict what you would eventually see? Write down your predication and then see if it was correct by actually doing the experiment that way.”
At this point, you may wonder how this compares to the Elementary Apologia curriculum. At first glance, the main difference is with the scope of topics. Dr. Jay’s new series provides students with exposure to multiple branches of science within the course of a year. Elementary Apologia takes one topic and studies it in-depth over the course of one year. Parents who have used the Jr. and Sr. High Apologia texts will find this new series is similar to the upper level Apologia texts, with lessons written in a friendly conversational tone, step-by-step experiment instructions and lesson reviews. Full-color graphics are plentiful but not as bountiful as in the Apologia elementary books. Also noteworthy is that each lesson in this book contains three pages of textual reading, which is less than the average daily readings in the elementary Apologia courses. Dr. Jay Wile’s excellent elementary series could ease the transition to the Apologia Jr. High Curriculum for a middle school student who is using a different program.
Texts are available separately as are the Helps & Hints. Sets include both the hardcover Textbook and Helps & Hints softcover book. Dr. Jay anticipates the release of other books in this series. Check our website or call to check availability or upcoming titles. ~ Deanne
Items listed in this section tend to be complete science programs with a teacher and student component, requiring few supplements besides science supplies.