Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Earth – Its Structure & Its Changes

A few weeks ago, on one of my posts for The Homeschool Mother’s Journal, I confessed to my weakness in teaching science.  I’ve never been a fan of science – as a matter of fact, I don’t remember ever enjoying a science class in school.  If we run out of time during our school days, it’s always science that gets put on hold (and sometimes we never get to it – and I don’t even care!). 

earth-structure-changes I don’t think my friend Jennifer, from New Leaf Publishing, had any idea that I was this much of a science failure when she decided to send me The Earth – Its Structures & Its Changes by Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves.  I’m thinking it was definitely a God-thing, because who better to review a science curriculum than a person who has issues teaching science?! 

Here is what the New Leaf website has to say about this book:

The Earth: Its Structure & Its Changes is a study of the fascinating world of geology. With explanations of how our Earth was shaped, this elementary science curriculum gives evidence to the Genesis Flood, accompanying earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other powerful processes. Students will explore 20 “investigations” through experiments and a very specific learning progression.

The Investigate the Possibilities learning progression:
Engage - Students make a note of what they know or have experienced about the topic.
Investigate - Students will follow the instructions and make observations of what happens.
Explain - Students will begin to understand the science behind what they observed in the investigation.
Apply - Here, the understanding of the investigation is related to other situations and ideas.
Expand -Each investigation also includes a few “Dig Deeper” projects to further understanding.
Assess - Students explain what they have learned.

Students will examine natural occurrences such as mountains, volcanoes, rocks, minerals, crystals, water, and dirt (just to name a few). By using household items such as hard boiled eggs, oranges, measuring cups, maps, clay and markers, these scientific truths will come to life.

This title contains a full circle view of geology, creation, and history. All three of these topics are combined to create the big picture for your student and develop a stronger root in their faith. Also available is the combined teacher’s guide and student journal.

While geology is at the heart of this newest book in the Investigate the Possibilities series, other titles within this series include: Forces & Motion, Matter, and Energy. These are perfect for elementary education, grades 3rd-6th.

Authors Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves are committed biblical creationists with a combined 60 years teaching science. Both are excellent at helping students experience science concepts in the world around them.

Here are the things that I like about this book:

  • It’s Biblical and God-honoring
  • Each lesson (called an “Investigation”) is short and broken up into smaller segments – this makes this curriculum easy to schedule – you can do a few segments each day, or do the entire Investigation all in one day – whatever works best for you and/or your child
  • The Think About This section is personal – the stories get the child involved in the lesson and wanting to learn more
  • The Procedure & Observation section is very well laid out – the steps are simple to follow.  The items needed to perform the experiments are almost all items you probably already have laying around your house – and they are  broken out in such a way that you don’t have to go searching for them within the text.
  • The Science Stuff portions are very informative without sounding too “textbooky”.
  • I love the Making Connections section (tying the learning together with life) and the Dig Deeper ideas (these would be great for getting older kids involved as well). 
  • The What Did You Learn? section is a great way to wind up each lesson and will help the homeschool parent determine what the child is retaining and where more study may need to be done.  These can be done orally or on paper, and could actually be used as quizzes, if desired.
  • The Teacher’s Guide contains the full text of the book (love that!) In addition, it contains objectives for each lesson, extra notes, and answers to the What Did You Learn? questions. It also includes some ideas for further study and resources that are available from the publisher for those who want to learn more.
  • The back of the Teacher’s Guide contains reproducible Student Journal forms.  I love these!  There is one for each lesson. They contain the Procedure and Observation activities and places to record your experience with it, as well as a place to illustrate what you’ve learned.  The What Did you Learn? questions are also on these forms. 

Gracie and I have done the first several investigations contained within this study.  They are quick and painless and – dare I say it? – even FUN!  I would definitely be interested in adding the rest of the books from this series to our homeschool.  If you have a science-minded child, these would make great personal reading as well!

You can learn more about The Earth – Its Structure & Its Changes at Inspire4Less.  The price is very affordable, at only $10.40 for the paperback student book and $5.39 for the accompanying Teacher’s Guide and Student Journal.


The Tuckers Take Tennessee

On February 22nd, at 8pm (CST), we will be having a Twitter party to discuss this  book and several other new resources from New Leaf Publishing.  We’d love to have YOU participate with us!  (I’m totally new to Twitter parties, so this will be an interesting experience for me!)

Hashtag for the party is #masterbooks.

If you would like to check out the other books that will be discussed, you can do so by visiting the links below:

Case of the Missing Mountain by Kim Jones  - My Home in the Smokies

Passport to the World by Craig Froman – Mama Hall

Dragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaur by Master Books – Daze of Adventure

Hope to see you at the party!

NOTE: I received a free copy of the above-mentioned curriculum in order to use it in my homeschool and share my honest opinion of it. I have not been compensated in any other way.


Our Village is a Little Different said...

This looks fun. The boys would probably love it. I'm glad you found something that's working for you.

Joy said...

Wow. thanks for the awesome review. I can't wait to go through this book with my kids. I also ordered this book from them to review. Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

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