Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia 4th Edition

Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia 4th Edition

# 010198

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Item #: 010198
ISBN: 9780753473849
Grades: 4-8

Product Description:

Looking for a handy reference book for science? If you can ignore the seemingly requisite homage to evolution in the first few pages and the evolutionary dating system mentioned here and there throughout the natural science sections, this could be a good choice. Chapters cover geology, living things, human biology, chemistry and the elements, materials and technology, light and energy, forces and movement, electricity and electronics, space and time, and the environment. Text is large, explanations are clear, and colorful photographs and illustrations abound. Each chapter ends with a helpful "Facts and Figures" page with key dates and definitions. Lots of useful information is packed into this 496-pg volume. hc.

Publisher Description:

Science is vital for every inhabitant of today's world, and being scientifically informed and literate is a crucial part of any child's education. Science can seem daunting - - especially as scientific knowledge advances so quickly - - and this volume is the perfect purchase for any family. It will bear repeated use by all the family from 10+ through the teenage years.

Fully updated for this new 4th edition with the very latest facts and data; clear text and more than 1000 photos and illustrations will inform and amaze.

Category Description for Human Body Unit (choose one):
Category Description for Biology for the Grammar Stage Resources:
Category Description for Biology for the Grammar Stage (Gr. 1-2):

Although we have added several new science programs over the past two years, Elemental Science offers some very unique features and will likely appeal to both Classical and Charlotte Mason home educators. The main difference? The program basically provides a framework of study and lesson plans while your science "text" and experiments are found in a selection of excellent, high-interest resources including DK, Usborne, and Kingfisher

Category Description for Elemental Science:

If you prefer your science "outside the textbook" then you'll want to look at Elemental Science. Designed as a Classical science program "loosely based on the ideas for classical science education that are laid out in The Well-Trained Mind," this one may also appeal to Charlotte Mason home educators. The program itself provides a framework of science study while your science "text" and experiments are found in a selection of quality resource books including DK, Usborne, Kingfisher and Janice VanCleave titles. Your child will explore science through excellent reading material, experiments and hands-on projects, notebooking, and memorization. Written to be religiously neutral, the origins of life and earth are not studied in depth, although several reading selections from secular resource books will contain phrases such as “millions of years ago,” or references to the Big Bang Theory. Currently Preschool, Kindergarten, Grammar Stage, Logic Stage and High School or Rhetoric Stage.

Grammar Stage programs have been updated with expanded Teacher Guides, and an improved page layout. Updated versions feature more teaching information with each weekly lesson plan, expanded (optional) topical book lists, a shift from science “experiments” to teacher-led “demonstrations,” more detailed explanations of narration (notebooking) assignments, and optional lapbooking assignments (will require purchase of the lapbooking e-book from Elemental Science). Quizzes are no longer included in the updated Teacher Guides, but are available as ebooks from the publisher.

Each level of the program is made up of two books: a Teacher’s Guide and a Student Workbook. The Teacher’s Guide holds everything you need to know to teach the course including lesson plans, materials lists, suggested book lists, forms, quizzes and quiz answers. The Student Workbook provides all of the worksheet pages the student will fill in through the course, including narration/summary/journal pages, experiment pages, ongoing projects, and pictures for narration. Every course is divided up into 36 weeks of study. In many of the courses, you will spend a “chunk” of weeks focusing on one topic, then the next several weeks studying another. In Biology for the Grammar Stage, students spend 20 weeks on animals, ten on the human body, and six weeks on plants.

If you appreciate organization with built-in flexibility, you will love how the Teacher’s Guide is laid out. Each guide opens with an explanation of the components, the activities that the student will be completing, and recommendations for including an older student. In Biology for the Logic Stage, this introductory teaching material is more extensive and includes suggestions for including a younger student. After the teaching information, you’ll find the list of text resources and experiment books you’ll need for the program, and a topical index broken down by week. At this point, the Teacher’s Guide is segmented by topic, each one beginning with an overview of what will be studied, a comprehensive list of supplies needed by week, and memory work. Now we arrive at the “meat” of the Teacher’s Guide – the lesson plans. For each week, you’ll find not one but two complete lesson plans. One plan presents a 5-day science schedule while the other plan is a 2-day schedule. Depending on how the rest of your subjects are scheduled, one of these options will probably work better for you. Each suggested schedule is provided in grid form, with a list of assignments for each day. The 5-day schedule incorporates a mix into every day, while the 2-day schedule breaks it down into readings, activities, and other assignments. The rest of the information provided on these pages is virtually identical between the 5- and 2-day schedules and includes a supply list for the week, vocabulary with definitions, short summaries of the experiments to be completed and additional project/activity information. Updated versions actually combine the teaching information, then feature both schedules on one page. After the lesson plans, you’ll find a short appendix with additional teacher helps and templates for several of the forms given in the student book.

The Student Workbook holds the workbook pages for each type of activity. All of the forms for ongoing projects (especially observation) are found at the beginning of the book, followed by narration pages, experiment pages and pictures for the narrations. The pages are clean and form-like, with crisp printing and lines for writing. In Biology and Earth Science/Astronomy for the Grammar Stage, students will do frequent narration. The Student Workbook includes all the pages needed for the unit projects, narrations, lab reports, and a glossary. (In Biology, blackline pictures are provided in the back of the Student Workbook, which students paste into the box on the page, then write several lines about what they learned. Or, as an alternative, students can draw their own pictures.) The pictures are really my only quibble with the workbooks; they are all illustrated by the author and scanned, so they are very simple, somewhat fuzzy and off-black. In Chemistry for the Grammar Stage, narration pages are replaced by Definition and Summary pages. Definition pages are formatted like Narration pages with an empty box and several lines for writing. Students create their own dictionary of chemical terms by pasting the picture of the item in the box and write a definition. Summary pages are very much like narration pages, where the student writes what they have learned about the topic. At the Physics for the Grammar Stage level, narration pages are called Journal pages, and these feature more space for the student to write more extensively on the topic they learned about, and define new terms at the bottom of the page. At all grammar stage levels, students write about experiments completed, including materials, procedure, results and observations.

I’ve spent the bulk of the description talking about the grammar stage programs, but as mentioned previously, there are two programs for younger learners: Intro to Science for K-1 and Exploring Science for PK-K or K4/K5. These are structured similarly to the grammar stage programs, but simplified for younger learners. At this level, the program emphasizes observation, hands-on activities, nature studies, read-alouds from resource and library books – and lots of coloring (although I have already noted some concerns about the graphics with the upper levels, you may want to locate alternative coloring pages especially at this level, as young students may not be particularly eager to color some of these rough sketches). These are also 36-week courses, with weekly assignments provided in a bullet-point-like format and two scheduling options (2- and 5-day) provided. In Intro to Science, you’ll spend six weeks each on chemistry, physics, geology, meteorology, botany and zoology. Exploring Science spends four weeks each on “the world around me,” water, air, weather, plants, Earth, chemistry, sound, and motion. Recommended library books are listed for each week, and there are just a few primary resources you’ll use all year long. For Intro to Science, these are More Mudpies to Magnets, Handbook of Nature Study, and Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia. Exploring Science uses only Science Play as a basis for experiments (reading selections are found in other resources). Student pages at this level provide very simple experiment record forms, coloring pages and blank pages to paste results from activities.

At the logic stage, you still have the two different scheduling options, but the student’s work is somewhat more intense. Each week focuses on one topic and typically includes an experiment, vocabulary and memory work, a sketching assignment, a writing assignment, and important dates to enter on a date sheet. Several different writing options are suggested in the Teacher’s Guide, including having the student write an outline based on the spine text, writing a narrative summary based on the spine text or writing both. At this level, the student is given all of their assignments in their Student Guide, and these are duplicated in the Teacher’s Guide as well. The Teacher’s Guide also holds the suggested schedules, notes on the experiment and expected results, comprehension questions to ask the student (with answers), examples of finished sketches with labels, and additional activity suggestions. Like the lower levels, an appendix is also included for the teacher with examples of student work (including sample outlines and narrative summaries), copies of forms that the student will use, and more. Unit tests and answers are also included in the Teacher’s Guide. The Student Guide will also feel familiar if you have used a grammar stage level. All “Ongoing Project” forms are found in the front, followed by the group of forms and worksheets the student will use that week (including the main assignment list for the week). Ongoing Projects at this level include keeping track of important dates on four date sheets (Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern and Modern Times) and working on a science fair project for the year. The author highly recommends completing a science fair project for the year, and a series of project worksheets help guide the student through the process.

If your young student already loves to pore over science books, I would anticipate that they would enjoy this program. The supporting resources are quality books, and there is a nice balance of activities and reading. Because the student generates so much of the content in the Student Workbook, these really become a complete, personalized record of student work. Some other “pluses” to this program are the ease of use (the lesson plans are already laid out for you!) and the price, which is reasonable. The cost will vary depending on which resources you already own and which you decide to purchase, but on the whole I would expect it to be comparable or lower than many other programs in this section. I also appreciate that the topics are leveled by stage, which makes it easy to know where to jump in, and also that you’ll be covering life science, astronomy, chemistry and physics at each stage, following the classical cycle. Because the program is religiously neutral, you will not find much “editing” necessary either way and may choose to supplement with your own resources to explain origins if you and your child want to study that further. Although the content is straightforward, the author is available to provide support via email, and there is a Yahoo group as well.


Items listed in this section tend to be complete science programs with a teacher and student component, requiring few supplements besides science supplies.

Primary Subject
Grade Start
Grade End
Professor Charles Taylor
Brand Name
Larousse, Kingfisher
4.8 (lbs.)
11.0" x 9.0" x 2.0"
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Browse 3 questions Browse 3 questions and 38 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rainbow Resource Center Store
recommended in curriculum
Christina T on Jul 12, 2021
Using in conjunction with our classical homeschool community science program.
Carrie E on Jul 14, 2020
recommended in curriculum
Christina T on Jul 12, 2021
To use with Elemental Science Earth Science & Astronomy Logic Stage curriculum.
KAMERON C on Feb 10, 2021
Using in conjunction with our classical homeschool community science program.
Carrie E on Jul 14, 2020
Required for Elemental Science
User on Jun 27, 2020
Recommended by Well Trained Mind.
Bridgitte O on May 22, 2020
It is the recommended text for our Science curriculum.
Ashley C on Dec 27, 2019
Lots of pictures, enough information to be used for several years.
Marie N on Oct 21, 2019
The Well Trained Mind describes this as "The most detailed and useful of the encyclopedias" which they suggest for use as a spine to learning science in the Grammar Stage.
Joseph C on Aug 27, 2019
It's the required book in our science co-op
User on Aug 5, 2019
Better price than Amazon
Belem G on Jul 30, 2019
Part of the Earth Science and Astronomy reading requirement
Laura D on Jul 5, 2019
To go with Elemental Science
User on Jun 29, 2019
Needed for Elemental Science.
Cindy S on Feb 13, 2019
A great resource for classical science education.
Rebecca H on Jan 3, 2019
I needed a good reference for teaching science to our child.
Christine A on Sep 4, 2018
The Well Trained Mind recommends this!
Dana M on Sep 2, 2018
My grandaughter has an older edition of this book and i would like to get the latest edition for my grandkids.
Barry B on May 30, 2018
We homeschool- our boys are grades 6th, 7th & 9th. I wanted to have two general reference books on hand in conjunction with our sciences for the next couple of years (which span physical science, biology, and chemistry). This book came highly recommended by several sources. (The other volume I chose was the Usborne Illustrated Science Dictionary, which is excellent.)
Sarah S on Apr 6, 2018
Wanted an updated version of this book. I love it.
Mijanou S. on Oct 30, 2017
Required by my homeschool science curriculum. I have ordered it 2 other places and they are not able to deliver it, and cancel the order after I was due to receive it.
Dawn G on Oct 23, 2017
bargain book for a co-op class Elemental Science Biology
Monica W on Apr 28, 2017
science spine
User on Oct 24, 2016
Looking for an illustrated, all-encompassing book that touches on many topics of science.
Nick F on Sep 22, 2016
Requested by biology teacher in co-op.
Tracy S on Aug 18, 2016
It was one of the required books for Classiquest Science. It's a very nice book, great color pictures, tons of information, etc.
Kelly W on Jul 9, 2016
to use with elemental science curriculum
Patrycja B on Jul 1, 2016
Using as part of my 5th grade science for homeschool.
Heather on Jun 15, 2016
Support for science spine
Leslie H on May 23, 2016
To use with Elemental Science Earth Science & Astronomy Logic Stage curriculum.
KAMERON C on Feb 10, 2021
Required for Elemental Science
User on Jun 27, 2020
Do you have an idea when this item will be in stock?
A shopper on Nov 4, 2020
BEST ANSWER: At this time, we do not. The publisher is in the process of reprinting/revising this volume and has not yet given us an availability date.
Is this a hardcover or paperback edition?
A shopper on Jul 25, 2019
BEST ANSWER: It is hardback... a great reference book to have on hand
5.0 / 5.0
4 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Rated 5 out of 5
A wonderful resource.
August 16, 2020
1 year ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Extensive Encyclopedia
I finally bought this after checking it out from the library for the full amount of time (including two renewals!) and then finding that I needed to check it out again.

It's so thorough and covers a wide range of topics. My 6th and 7th grader mainly use it with their Elemental Science assignments, but my younger ones like to browse it too. It seems like it's been a good investment.
March 5, 2020
1 year ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Excellent Spine
I purchased this as a science spine for home schooling my son. It strikes a nice balance of text and pictures. I would put the depth of knowledge at most of elementary and middle school as well. It strikes a nice balance of covering general knowledge, while just starting to go a little more in-depth than very basic children's books, and in so doing, raises knew questions for us to explore together.
I'm very happy with this purchase.
September 27, 2019
over 2 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
I bought this to have on hand as a reference for my three boys who are 5th, 6th and 8th grade currently, and I think it serves that purpose wonderfully for these ages.
May 6, 2018
over 3 years ago

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