Biology Matters Practical Book

Biology Matters Practical Book

# 012406

Our Price: $14.90
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Item #: 012406
ISBN: 9789810117320
Grades: 9-12

Category Description for Biology Matters:
Category Description for Science Matters (Gr. 9-11):

Science Matters comes from Marshall Cavendish Education and is intended for the high school crowd. This series covers three branches of science: biology, chemistry, and physics. Like other products from this publisher, there are several different components.

The Teacher Planning Guide contains an overview of the curriculum and an outline of the resources and activities available. Lesson plans are offered for each chapter with a suggested number of periods for covering each one. Each lesson lists learning outcomes, prior expected knowledge, and concepts for those lessons. This is written for classroom use, so some adaptation might be necessary. Full solutions to the textbook questions are also included (this portion is also available as a separate booklet).

The softcover Textbook for each subject is in full color. Books are divided into themes or topics and then divided into 22 chapters (24 in chemistry). Each chapter begins with several questions and wraps up with real life application of the chapter content, key ideas, quiz questions and review questions. Along with textual information, the text includes instructions for hands-on investigations, example problems with detailed solutions and notes for where to insert workbook assignments and prompts to try to answer the opening questions.

The Workbook complements the textual information by providing worksheets that include multiple-choice, structured, and free-response questions. Questions are at different difficulty levels. The Workbook Teacher Edition includes the student pages with answers filled in.

The Practical Book is the lab manual for each course and contains all of the experiments to enhance the lessons of the program. Practicals (or experiments) are designed to help students develop good lab skills and scientific methodology. This book is designed for a school setting and uses some lab equipment that may not be readily available to homeschool families. It is even suggested that some of the labs be carried out only in a science laboratory setting. Homeschool families and smaller schools with limited budgets can still use this book but will need to adapt or omit some of the labs. The course is completely doable without using this book. The Practical Teacher Edition includes the same pages as the student Practical Book with answers filled in.

There are no test books specifically written for this series, so parents will need to choose alternative assessment options or use material from either the Perfect Guides or Structured Questions books. Perfect Guides were designed for students in Singapore taking the "O" level exams for these courses, so they function as a sort of a study guide. Perfect Guides contain study notes, learning objectives, common errors, glossaries, questions with solutions and explanations, and tests with both structured and multiple-choice questions. There are four review tests and two final exam trial tests (with answers in the back). Topics are the same as the corresponding textbook but the order varies a bit between the Perfect Guide and the text. Structured Questions are another source of assessment material, with fill-in-the-blank, matching, short answer, and challenge questions for each text. Answers are provided at the back. Biology and Physics Structured questions guides correspond with the texts. Chemistry shows different chapter headings although the sequence of actual topics is the same.

If you like the science courses for younger grades from this publisher like My Pals Are Here or Interactive Science this could be a good choice for your high school students. The information is clearly written and easy to understand, and all measure is metric.

Category Description for Singapore Science:

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
Brand Name
Marshall Cavendish
1.0 (lbs.)
10.75" x 8.5" x 0.38"
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2.5 / 5.0
2 Reviews
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1 Star
Rated 1 out of 5
Too many labs we can't do
I feel you need a fully equipped laboratory to do this. Maybe it improves, but early in the school year we've already skipped several labs and demonstrations. This is unfortunate because questions in the text and workbook assume you have conducted these experiments.

As an example, Chapter 4 is about Nutrients. For the first lab for this chapter (Experiment 3.1 ... also confusing that the experiment numbers and chapters don't match), these materials are required: beaker, bunsen burner, glass rod, mortar and pestle, scalpel, test tubes and holders, tripod stand, white tile, wire guaze (I'm actually OK with most of these things so far, but also...), 1%copper sulfate solution, 1% starch solution, 10% glucose solution, alcohol, Benedict's solution, dilute iodine solution, dilute sodium hydroxide solution, distilled water, egg white solution, peanut, vegetable oil, Biuret solution. Then when I look at the next chapter's lab, I find out among other things I need a pH sensor and a computer with data logging interface. This is all wonderful science, but I am overwhelmed. It would be different if there were a list somewhere in the teacher's guide (I have both the guide for the Practical book and the teacher's planning guide) that gave overall materials needed for the course so that I know if I buy Biuret solution whether I'll just need it once or be able to make use of it again. I know I can make my own list, but why isn't that included? It also seems experiments could be designed to teach the same concepts in a home-friendly way with more readily available (and affordable) materials. I think this is a solid curriculum but I wouldn't purchase it again because it is difficult to use at home.
October 18, 2017
over 4 years ago
Rated 4 out of 5
Interesting experiments for any biology course
The Practical Book coordinates closely with the textbook. It contains more detailed instructions, more application questions, and provides a place for proper documentation of experiments. A few experiments are included that are not in the textbook. The material lists are more helpful for the chemicals than the equipment; many times simpler equipment can be used. Some labs have an A and a B experiment. Often the B lab requires a data logger, but both the A and B experiments demonstrate the same thing.

Ten or eleven of the experiments require a light microscope. A few prepared slides are required as well. I substituted prepared slides of similar organisms that were more readily available here. We have only done the plant experiments so far, but I do not think you need a high-end microscope for these labs. While a fine adjustment knob would be nice, the My First Lab Duo-Scope or other sub-$100 microscope would work fine as long as it has the 4x, 10x, and 40x objectives. We have an ancient microscope with an incandescent light bulb—note that the tadpole viewing is not a good idea with this setup. I think it is more important for students to learn how to use a microscope than to learn whatever the experiment is teaching, but if a microscope is out of budget for you, you will be able to find images on the internet that are usable.

Two experiments are dissection demonstrations. One requires a cow's eye; the other requires a sheep's kidney. If dissection turns you or your student off, you can either skip or do a web search for a video. Flowers are also dissected, which offers a bit of practice with a scalpel.

This brings up another point—fifteen of the experiments are actually demonstrations. Many of these involve more specialized equipment, and if you have the time to search for videos of the experiments, there would be no need to actually perform them yourself as the student isn't getting hands-on work anyway. On the other hand, there is something miraculous about seeing things in person that videos don't capture. Also, a motivated science student could do the demonstrations themselves.

While I really like the parallel treatment of plants and humans, we live in a winter wonderland. Because of this, we completed the plant experiments this summer with plans to review them in the winter. This was also a price issue—woody plants and freshwater plants are freely available, and seeds easily grow into potted plants in the summer. We had to review a few pages of the text in order to do that, and several times the kids asked further questions that I said we would cover later in the book. It looks like it works better to do the plant labs before the biology year rather than after.

I like the selection of experiments, and of the plant ones we have done, only one didn't work out right on the first try. This is much higher a success rate than I have ever previously had with plant labs. One drawback of this program is that instructions for setting up the mystery samples are not given, although the answer key in the Teacher's Edition and an internet search will give you the idea. Also, some of the chemicals are commonly called something else in the US, and some of the plants need local substitution. So this program is not open-and-go. For those who hate science labs but want one year of lab science in high school, I recommend doing that with a physics program, especially if you would be doing it multiple times in different years. Physics labs work well and use very few consumable materials. They are less messy, too. But if you love science this will be a valuable addition to Biology Matters. I would also definitely consider using this Practical Book with a more traditional US biology course.
July 24, 2016
over 5 years ago

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