Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition by Apologia Review

Many of you know that we are involved in a once a week homeschool CoOp during the regular school year.  It offers a variety of options of classes for students.  I'm super excited for this upcoming year because both B (8th grade) and C (7th grade) will be taking a class using Exploring Creation with General Science by Apologia.

So when I was given the opportunity to review Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition I jumped on it.  A already completed this course with the previous addition so I was specifically interested in seeing how this newer edition compares.  This course is recommended for 7th grade (can work well for 6th-8th).

I was generously provided with the Textbook, Student Notebook, and Solutions and Tests.

Here is the 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition side-by-side

Seeing as how we own the 2nd edition of this course, I really wanted to see what the differences were between the 2nd edition and the 3rd edition and focus on that.  The covers are completely different which I really appreciate because it is very easy to distinguish between the two.  The 2nd edition is mostly black, while the newer, 3rd edition is mostly white.

Student Notebook

While the 2nd edition had a student notebook, it was seen as a companion notebook, not a requirement.  This has changed for the 3rd edition.  The Student Notebook is consumable and is also a requirement for this course (not optional).  This Student Notebook interacts with the student and helps teach proper note-taking skills.  It is specifically designed to help students transition from elementary to middle school science while preparing them for high school.  Since it is consumable, you will need a Student Notebook for each student taking this course.

Page 1 of the Course Schedule

A huge asset of the Student Notebook is the schedule included in it.  This schedule splits this course over a full school year.  The planning leg work is done for you!  This schedule has students working on lessons four days a week for ~ 1 hour each day for a total of 33 weeks.  The Student Notebook not only has daily lesson plans, but it also includes pages with prompts for students to take notes (as mentioned above), places for them to record answers to module questions as well as a place to write hands-on activity results.  I really like this notebook and I'm glad that it is a requirement as I think it adds a lot to this course and definitely helps transition to more independent learning.  I also want to note that there are not answers provided for the questions and prompts in the Student Notebook on purpose.  Apologia believes note taking is a learned skill and aims to help students learn this skill.  There is not just one way to take notes and all students notes will not and should not look the same.

I also want to note, if you are familiar with Apologia then you probably know that this curriculum has a Christian worldview.  It teaches the beauty of creation and God's handiwork throughout science.  I like that the text includes information about great scientists in history who were passionate and eager to learn about science because they wanted to know about God more.  The text is written in a conversational style as the author talks directly to the students making this program great for independent study and in CoOp situations.  Both editions have this conversational style even though the author has changed.  The 2nd edition was written by Dr. Jay L Wile while the updated 3rd edition is written by Sherri Seligson.

3rd Edition book is less thick than the 2nd Edition

Another big change is the length of the course.  While the 2nd edition was divided into 16 modules, the updated 3rd edition has 14 modules and is a slightly shorter course; therefore, the book is not as thick.  The chapters are slightly shorter.  There are exams for the first 13 modules while in the final module, students will build a project by creating a Rube-Goldberg machine in lieu of an exam.  They will use principles they have learned throughout the year.

Change In Table of Contents

Another change is the content and what topics are covered in this General Science course.  The 2nd edition had numerous modules devoted to Anatomy and the human body.  The 3rd edition covers a broader variety of sciences like astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, earth study, geology, paleontology, general chemistry, general physics, and environmental science.

Solutions and Tests

As before, the Solutions and Tests manual contains tests, test solutions, answers to study guide questions and module summaries.  How are tests different?  I think the updated tests are easier than previous ones.  There are more multiple choice options, fill in the blanks and the tests are shorter.  In our CoOp, these tests were given open book.  I think the updated tests would be easier for students to do well on without having to be an open book test.

There are more hands-on activities in this edition as well.  There are the standard required formal experiments (29 of them) but there are also optional Explore More sections (47 activities) designed  to be quick and easy and help students really comprehend the material they are learning.  One formal lab report is required every module.

Now, a look at activities.  In Module 1 there are two experiments and 4 explore more activities.  Below, you see us performing one of the experiments.

 Module 1, Experiment 1.2

Materials needed for Experiment 1.2 (we had everything on hand)

Pennies halfway inside the lemon

 Experiment said to leave pennies inside the lemon for at least 10 minutes.  We left them in for 20 minutes.  Here you can see the difference between the sides of the pennies that were inside the lemon and the sides that were left outside.

 The same pennies with salt and water on them.

You can see that the pennies are starting to tarnish again.

I like that the experiments are simple, often use materials already on hand, and really emphasize a concept and the material being taught.  Can I give an example of one of the explore more activities?  Yes!  Below is one of the explore more activities from Module 1.

Explore More Activity 1 from Module 1

Again, we had everything we needed on hand.

Doing Activity

Remember when I told you that the Student Notebook has a place to write hands-on activity results.  Here is C's Student Notebook for this activity.

I already thought this was a great homeschool science for middle school students.  I actually really like the changes.  Now, we have not completed the updated version in it's entirety but I'm looking forward to digging deeper into this edition with my kids.

Another big thing to be aware of is that the 2nd and 3rd editions are different enough that the text and notebooks are not interchangeable - meaning you cannot use the 2nd edition textbook with a 3rd edition student notebook and vice versa.

You can also purchase a video instruction thumb drive for this course which contains module-by-module instructional videos.  These videos feature Apologia author and marine biologist, Sherri Seligson.  Sherri includes on-location videos, animations, explanations, experiments and more.  Check out the sample video below from Module 2 on Scientific Inquiry and the Scientific Method to get a feel for what I mean.  While pricey, this is an awesome option!  I'm really hoping to obtain this in the future.

You can also check out the video about this course from author Sherri Seligson.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition.

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. {Apologia Reviews}

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Homework and Horseplay said...

I love when a curriculum includes a student schedule! It is so much easier to stay on track when everything is written out clearly and the student can check things off as they complete them.

Kristen of A Mom's Quest to Teach said...

This sounds fantastic. We just started using the Astronomy book this year with our first grader and I love that there are options to continue through the different grade levels. Thank you for comparing and contrasting the two editions as well. That was great.

Youth Pastor's Wife said...

I think I used the first edition back when I was in 7th grade, lol. I love this newer edition! I am excited to use Apologia in a few years with my son.

Gina @ Oaxacaborn said...

it's always exciting when Apologia updates one of their books -- the new editions are so attractive and user-friendly!

MaryAnne said...

That schedule looks super helpful!

Karla Cook @ Roads to Everywhere said...

We used the 2nd edition so it was interesting to see the changes to the 3rd edition. Thanks for sharing!

Desert Safari Dubai said...

I think it could be more general if you get a football sports activity Pak affairs fpsc past mcqs

Anonymous said...

Helpful review. Thank you!