R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey: Earth and Space Level 1
This is quite an impressive science program! If you're using the classical approach and you've had trouble finding a good science program, this could be the end of your search. R.E.A.L. stands for Read, Explore, Absorb and Learn. Every lesson includes a short portion to be read with information to be absorbed by the student. Labs allow students to explore new concepts, and all of this lends itself to learning in the early grades.
This program is written to be used 2 to 3 times a week for a complete and rigorous one-year science study. Life Science is divided into 28 units, and students will learn about the human body, plants, and animals. Earth and Space Science (revised in July '09) is divided into only 12 units, including the earth, weather, rocks, and the solar system. Chemistry includes 7 units on atoms, the periodic table, specific elements, molecules, states of matter and reactions. The program is designed for the non-science parent, so the entire program is included in one book. If you are a squeamish person, R.E.A.L. Science may not be for you. You'll get dirty, handle bugs and worms, and learn through hands-on experimentation. The lessons in the book are intended to be done in order from start to finish, each lesson building upon the previous lessons. Vocabulary is presented and then repeated throughout subsequent lessons. Words will be heard over and over, so students will remember them without drilling. The authors suggest that 'real life' review is the best way to reinforce vocabulary and concepts taught. Learn from the events in your life and from the world around you. A unique feature in this program is the labeling of "big idea" and "small stuff" within each lesson. The "big idea" of each lesson is the main idea to be learned. The "small stuff" is all the details that go along with each concept. For example the "big idea" in the lesson on the five kingdoms is that "living things are grouped based on their characteristics." The "small stuff" in this lesson would be, "There are five kingdoms or groups of living things. Two are the plant and animal kingdoms. Every living thing has a scientific name which tells us its species." If you are using the classical approach, you will cover every subject 3 times. In this case, don't worry about getting all the facts and details the first time through. All of that will come at a later level. There is an outline at the front of the book to help you know which are the main ideas and which are the small things. This will help parents know where to put the emphasis in each lesson. One final note about the lesson content - the publisher has made a concentrated effort to be "neutral" with regard to topics like evolution and ecology, focusing instead on science facts that can be observed and experienced in level 1 of the curriculum. So, while you won't find lessons on evolutionary theory, you also will not find arguments that defend a creationist viewpoint.
Notebook pages are included for every lesson, and for each lesson students will do one or more labs with a corresponding notebook page. Labs reinforce the concepts in the reading and teach new material, so it is important to try to do all of them. The first notebook page in the lesson is the story page, which contains basic information about the concept being taught. New vocabulary words are underlined, and previously introduced vocabulary will be in italics. An instruction page is included for every lab. This is for the parent/teacher and has a prompt to read aloud to the child, a list of materials, the procedure, discussion questions, possible answers, and extensions for the lab. The page following is the lab sheet for the student. This will be filled out as the child works through the lab. All pages are perforated for easy removal. You can punch holes in the pages and put them in a 3-ring binder as the student does them. At the end of the academic year, students will have a wonderful, fact-filled notebook of their own work. You can copy notebook pages for your family if you're working with more than one child. If you don't want to copy, you purchase just the student pages separately.
Instructions on how to use R.E.A.L. Science are found in the front of the book. Journaling ideas are included in Life Science and Earth & Space Science to help students develop the skill of keeping a science notebook. A website list is included so you can research topics as your child shows interest. A book list is also included for additional reading, should it be desired. An glossary of vocabulary words is included at the back of the book.
A materials list for lessons is printed at the front of each book, so you can plan what you need in advance. Most materials are easily accessible, but a few special items are recommended. For Life Science, you will need field guides, a gram scale or triple beam balance, butterfly habitat, thermometer, glass eyedropper, binoculars, garden snails, earthworms, butterfly larvae, spiders, and pill bugs. For Earth and Space Science you will need a thermometer, inflatable globe, R.E.A.L. Science rock and mineral kit (we offer two possibilities), triple beam balance or gram scale, and binoculars. For Chemistry, you will need a gram scale, a science or kitchen thermometer, insulated copper wires, and a stopwatch.
Level 2 of the Science Odyssey curriculum is now being developed. Biology is the first to hit the market and consists of two required books - student book, and teacher guide. Printed in black and white, this 750+ page Student Book is divided into 7 units - organisms, cells, genetics, anatomy & physiology, evolution (pro-evolution), ecology, and classification. Appendices include tests, essay worksheet, "How to use Punnett Squares," and attribution of sources. An extensive glossary offers definitions for the vocabulary found in the lessons. Labs are abundant in this course - general labs and optional microscope labs offer hands-on application of concepts.
The Teacher Guide offers weekly schedules, learning goals, resource lists, math concepts related to each lab, lesson review using some information not found in the Student Book, and answer keys. Guidelines for grading and detailed materials lists for each lab are also printed.
As I said previously, this is an impressive program. Although written to be used with the Classical Approach, this is an excellent program for any hands-on learner. It covers the right topics, in the right way, at the right time. If you want a science program that you can sink your hands into, give R.E.A.L. Science a try. - Donna
Items listed in this section tend to be complete science programs with a teacher and student component, requiring few supplements besides science supplies.
Overall, I highly recommend this program to any family that wants a hands science program that incorporates really fun activities to teach science!
over 3 years ago
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