Biology for the Grammar Stage Teacher's Guide

Biology for the Grammar Stage Teacher's Guide

# 032118

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Item #: 032118
ISBN: 9781935614302
Grades: 1-2

Publisher Description:

Biology for the Grammar Stage provides a first look at biology for the classical student. This homeschool science program includes a virtual buffet of options from which you can choose!

Have the tools you need to teach biology at your fingertips! Our Biology for the Grammar Stage Teacher Guide lays out a twenty-week study of animals, a ten-week study of the human body, and a six-week study of plants using visually appealing encyclopedias. It includes weekly scientific demonstrations, reading assignments, notebooking assignments, additional activities, memory work, and more!

Harness the power of notebooking with our student workbooks! The Biology for the Grammar Stage Student Workbook includes all the notebooking pages you need for the unit projects, narrations, lab reports, and student glossary. We also offer coordinating coloring pages and lapbooking templates to use with your student.

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
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Softcover Book
Brand Name
Elemental Science
0.8 (lbs.)
10.0" x 8.0" x 0.5"
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Why did you choose this?
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Meets our needs for a science program with flexibility.
Eliana V on Jun 17, 2020
need it for co-op
Elsa L on Aug 16, 2018
Meets our needs for a science program with flexibility.
Eliana V on Jun 17, 2020
We needed to find a science program that would allow both of my sons, who will be in fourth grade and first grade, to work on similar materials so that our school days aren't just endless. Having reviewed multiple programs for elementary-level science, I chose this one because it provides the most solid foundation for future understanding. Whether my sons become scientists or artists, business owners or teachers, it is important that we understand the world in which we live.
User on Dec 21, 2018
need it for co-op
Elsa L on Aug 16, 2018
its classical and simple
Anna H on May 20, 2017
I want to follow what is suggested in The Well-Trained Mind for science in first grade, but I don't have the time to organize those materials on my own. This book seems to do a lot of the work for me, so I'm giving it a try.
Molaika B on Aug 15, 2016
We needed to find a science program that would allow both of my sons, who will be in fourth grade and first grade, to work on similar materials so that our school days aren't just endless. Having reviewed multiple programs for elementary-level science, I chose this one because it provides the most solid foundation for future understanding. Whether my sons become scientists or artists, business owners or teachers, it is important that we understand the world in which we live.
User on Dec 21, 2018
its classical and simple
Anna H on May 20, 2017
Can someone give me a list of the required supplemental books that are needed to teach this curriculum?
A shopper on Sep 5, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Resources (choose one per unit)

029186 First Encyclopedia of Animals (Gr. K-2)
014569 DK Encyclopedia of Animals (Gr. 2-4)

Human Body:
026760 First Human Body Encyclopedia (Gr. 1-3)
010198 Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia (Gr. 4-6)

000980 Usborne Science Encyclopedia (rec. for Gr. 3-5)

Science Demonstrations:
027250 Science Around the World
012845 Biology for Every Kid
I was wondering if this science curriculumn teaches a 6-day creation and do they teach 'intelligent design'?
A shopper on Mar 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: It doesn't teach either. It sticks to "here's what we have today" and doesn't touch the "how it came to be in its present day form".
5.0 / 5.0
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Rated 5 out of 5
<p><em>Editor's note: typos and graphics have since been updated for this program</em></p><p>I bought Elemental Science with great hopes largely because it follows the science topic recommendations of Well-Trained Mind: Biology in Grade 1 Earth Science in Grade 2 etcHowever despite tremendous excitement about the program I have to admit that I was disappointed with what I got First of all there were typos in the book: the covers are beautiful but the inside did not seem professionally produced The art was hand-drawn by the author and some of it like the pictures of the human body and the plant diagrams are seriously lacking in artistic merit And the poems intended to be used by kids to memorize characteristics of various plants and animals are pretty amateur - I actually wrote my own instead I admit that as a writer and copy editor I'm probably more fussy than many parents!I found that the program itself was more like a set of disjointed readings than a true "living book" study (where you stay in one book over an extended period of time) I like the animals encyclopedia very much but the Janice Van Cleave books are inexcusably dry for a first-grader given how many excellent science books are out there The author provides no original text; what people love about the program - and it has MANY fans - are the schedules and activities which do seem quite organized and well-thought-outHowever I quickly realized that I wanted LESS of a schedule and something much more lie Story of the World history where we sit down together and just READ followed by narration and an activity I ended up purchasing Apologia Zoology 1 (Flying Creatures) which is much more like Story of the World We read a section of the book do a narration and sometimes an experiment or activity It's not perfect but at least the text is all in one book and it's reasonably well-written (and proofread)For a program that schedules readings over a year and follows the Well-Trained Mind guidelines I highly recommend Living Learning Books Science (Life Science Rainbow Item #018469) which we used last year I don't know why this program doesn't get more attention; the fiction and non-fiction selections are all fascinating The author ofElemental Science has deliberately not provided library lists because library selection varies greatly but I found the LLB Science system of library lists and easy experiments/activities far more family-with-kids-friendly and less rigidI may well have just talked myself into going back to it for second grade next year! As for elemental Science all told I ended up buying a Teacher's Guide Student Guide and the Lapbook Supplement not to mention the encyclopedia and two experiment books I have regretted very few curriculum decisions but honestly I can't see our family ever using and enjoying this program</p>
November 1, 2011

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