Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition from Apologia: A TOS Crew Review

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition from Apologia

I am so excited to introduce you to the Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition from Apologia!  We have been using the Textbook, Student Notebook, and Solutions and Test Packet.

First, I have to say, I absolutely LOVE the General Science course.  I've even taught it for several years at our Co-op.  I think it's the perfect transition from elementary science into higher level sciences, and my children all look forward to getting to do it. It's designed for students in 7th grade, I've had my students take it anywhere from 6th-8th grade, depending on their reading ability.   I was excited to see a new edition, but found myself wondering, "Is it worth it to buy another edition...I only have 2 more students to use it"  Let me answer that -YES!

I want to explain why.  First, starting with the Textbook.  This textbook is beautiful!  The course is written by Sherri Seligson (author of Apologia's Marine Biology).  The visual appeal of this textbook is vastly improved from the 2nd edition.  Full color, many more images, the text is even slightly larger.  All this to say, I really like the design improvements. 

The content is also significantly upgraded.  The 3rd edition has 14 modules (instead of 16).  I thought you may like to see a side-by-side comparison of what topics are included:

2nd Edition:
  1. Brief History of Science
  2. Scientific Inquiry
  3. How to Analyze and Interpret Experiments
  4. Science, Applied Science and Technology
  5. The History of Life – Archaeology, Geology, and Paleontology
  6. Foundations of Geology
  7. The Fossil Record
  8. Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism
  9. What is Life?
  10. Classifying Life
  11. The Human Body: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Bones, Muscles, Skin
  12. Energy and Life
  13. The Human Digestive System
  14. The Human Respiratory and Circulatory Systems
  15. The Human Lymphatic, Endocrine and Urinary Systems
  16. The Human Nervous System

3rd Edition:

  1. A History of Science – Search for the Truth
  2. Scientific Inquiry and the Scientific Method
  3. Documenting and Interpreting Experimental Results
  4. Scientific Analysis and History
  5. Earth Science – Astronomy
  6. Earth Science – Geology and Paleontology
  7. Earth Science – Meteorology and Oceanography
  8. General Chemistry
  9. General Physics
  10. Life Science
  11. General Biology
  12. Marine Science
  13. Environmental Science
  14. Science and Creation 
The Text features several key components to encourage active reading.  First, the On Your Own questions.  These are highlighted, and the student stops to answer these questions.  They are not designed to be graded, but are comprehension checks as they read.  

 The text also included Explore More sections.  This is a new feature in this edition.  These sections included a quick and easy hands-on demonstration for the student to do that illustrated what they are reading and learning.

Think about this sections offer extra insight and challenge the student to make connections.  All the definitions are highlighted in bold and a different color, helping students identify them quickly as they read.

Experiments are included for every module.  The experiments use readily accessible supplies, and are written so the student can complete them independently. But, they are so much fun - you will want to join in.

The experiments are varied from the 2nd edition as well.  I like that I saw familiar, effective experiments from the older version.  But, they have also added new, better experiments too.  Experiment 1.1 - Density in Nature is a great example of how Apologia has improved this course.  2nd edition had a much more complicated experiment for this topic - requiring more supplies, and time to complete (and honestly, it made a mess)  3rd edition's experiment was much simpler, but demonstrated the topic perfectly. Plus, it only needed a few, non-messy supplies!

Every module contains a Study Guide to help your student prepare for the module test.  The Student Notebook contains these as well.  More about the notebook in a minute.

The Textbook also includes a handy appendix with a Supply List for every module.  You can prep this during the summer, and be ready with everything you need.

The Student Notebook:

This is a must-have, in my opinion!  Everything your student needs to complete this course is included.  The Introduction contains valuable parent notes that will help you understand how to grade experiments and a complete daily schedule for your student to follow.

The Student Notebook contains instructions and plenty of space for the student to write.  All of the On Your Own questions, Explore More sections, vocabulary and terms and graphic organizers to help them organize the information they are learning.

Learning to take notes is a vital component in upper level science courses and this new edition of General Science does a great job teaching this skill!

Every Experiment is included in the Student Notebook.  I love that students can work independently, and keep all their data well organized.  Detailed instructions for writing formal lab reports are included as well.

Solutions and Tests:

I firmly believe that science courses need tests.  Especially at this level.  General Science has been designed to help your children perform well on the ACT and SAT tests, so don't skip this part of the course.  

I really like the upgrades to the tests as well.  One thing I noticed right away, the vocabulary sections are matching instead of writing out the definition word-for-word.  My children actually cheered about this change :-)

I am extremely impressed with  Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition!  It's a great way to get your students excited about learning science and seeing God's hand at work. 

I found this in the final module as I was looking ahead,  I think it sums it up perfectly:

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

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

Our first stop... Arkansas!

We love getting to come back to this beautiful state and our beautiful people. We lived there for 5 years, such sweet memories.

It filled our hearts, spending time with people we love like family!

These women!  I call them my "Steel Magnolias".  They are soft, sweet, and fierce.  I do NOT know how I would have survived the past few months without them.  They have surrounded me, prayed for me, lifted my arms, and barely a day goes by without a text, call, or email from one of them.  We may be miles apart, but we are never far in our hearts!

And, I praise God - my daughters have a bouquet of their very own magnolias themselves!

Friday, July 19, 2019

USA Activity Bundle Pack from Crafty Classroom: A TOS Crew Review

USA Activity Bundle Pack from Crafty Classroom 

Ready for a road trip this summer?  You will want to check out the USA Activity Bundle Pack from Crafty Classroom!  We have been using this handy resource to keep learning while we travel.

The USA Activity Bundle is a downloadable PDF set containing 3 of their best-selling activity books:
  • U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook
  • U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards
  • U.S.A. 50 State Mazes
Let me tell you about each of them:

U.S.A. Activity Pack - has a page for all 50 states. Activities for each state include coloring the flag, flower, bird, and location in the USA. In addition, students look up the state abbreviation, number, nickname and other fun facts and notes. A suggested accompaniment book is included, but facts can be found in the library or online.

I appreciated that each of my testers - 4th and 5th graders, could work on these independently. This is a great resource for multiple levels. They truly enjoyed looking up the information, and coloring, and the active process really helped them remember the information so much better than just reading it. We decided to do a page for each of the main states we were visiting (and lived in) this summer.

We are also using this resource in our USA geography study this upcoming year.  The pages are really nicely done, with plenty of space for writing and coloring.

This pack also has a couple of games you can print out and create - USA Bingo & Roll Across America. My testers loved them! 

U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards  features a full color picture and fact card for each of the state birds (27 in all since some state share the same bird).   The page also has a blank picture students can color themselves.  This could be a fun way to keep track of backyard birds.

U.S.A. 50 State Mazes - my testers loved these! This is a set of a state-shaped maze for each state. The recommended age is Prek-3, but my testers had fun with them too. We printed one for each state that we traveled through, they had fun looking forward to the next state on our trip!  It would be fun to laminate these and keep them in the car.

I love that these products are so easy-to-use, no prep for me!

Be sure to check out other great products from Crafty Classroom :

Find on Crafty Classroom Social Media:
Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}


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Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}
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On the Road Again

We braved it... the long road trip to MN.  I was majorly intimidated to drive all that way, with 7 of my kiddos, all alone.  But, we did it!

I will be updating you on our trip over the next several posts.

Here's my first Bentz Bunch Travel Tip:

 *Rent a travel car!  My van is nearing 250,000 miles and I was not certain I could rely on it for a cross-country trip.  I got a deal from my sweet aunt, who works for Enterprise, and it was the BEST money ever spent!

Apparently, passenger vans are a hot rental commodity, and they couldn't deliver what I had ordered.  Instead, I got to drive a 2019 Yukon XL - which the girls nicknamed "Yukon Cornelius".  It had only 2,500 miles on it.  WOW!  It's been about 20 years since I've gotten to drive that new of a vehicle.

It may have been a bit tighter for the passengers, but I was in comfort all the way!  With all the fun features and did I survive with out seat coolers?

We made it all the way there and back - and I drove every mile!!  I even parallel parked it in downtown Kansas City, MO (on the first try...thank you backup camera, and teenage son directions being yelled at me...)

I'm spoiled.  But, I'm great at Tetris, and packing!

And, coming back to my real vehicle was a bit of a disappointment!

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Heart Changer from Jarm Del Boccio, Author: A TOS Crew Review

The Heart Changer

Looking for a summer read?  Check out The Heart Changer - This is the debut book from a teacher and world traveler- Jarm Del Boccio, Author.

I love historical fiction, especially stories set in Bible times.  This 112 page book tells the story of Naaman (the Syrian Commander with leprosy from 2 Kings) - from the viewpoint of the young, captive slave girl.  Author, Jarm Del Boccio gives her the name of Miriam (she isn't named directly in the Bible).  The book is available in digital or print versions.

The book is targeted for your middle grade readers, ages 7-12, but I read it myself and enjoyed it!  The story begins with Miriam's capture and introduction into slavery.  We are able to hear her heart, and see her struggles.  This is why I love Biblical historical fiction, it makes the Bible come alive.

Miriam struggles to accept and forgive her captors, and fellow slaves in her new home.  Despite her initial feelings, Miriam grows to appreciate her new mistress, the wife of Naaman. She learns the power of relying on God, and the true power of forgiveness.  She points her master to Elisha, the prophet,  for healing.  And you know the rest... if you don't - check out 2 Kings 5.  It's a great story about obedience, forgiveness and trusting in God's plan, even if we have limited understanding.

The story fleshes out the biblical story.  The book is well-written, with attention to details that make the story come alive.

In addition, Jarm Del Boccio offers a free - 12 page, downloadable Study Guide for the book.  This is a handy tool you can use to round out your reading with recipes, background information and discussion questions.

This was a great, easy read, perfect for some summer reading with an encouraging message. I loved this poem included in the beginning.  So appropriate for my life right now...

 I highly recommend this book!  Be sure to check out the book trailer:

The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}
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The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}

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