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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition, Review

We have used Apologia for our science curriculum since Bobby started homeschooling. Throughout the last fourteen years (! - How is that possible??), we have used almost all of their science books, beginning with their elementary sciences and then moving to general science and into the high school lab sciences. My older children all had a struggle when they had to transition from the elementary science books to general science. So I was extremely excited to hear that Apologia had produced a new edition for general science. I was even more thrilled when we were given the opportunity to review Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition.

For this review, we received
Britt left no doubt as to whose notebook this is.
  • Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition textbook - This is a 434-page, hard cover book.
  • Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition student notebook - This is a 552-page, spiral bound consumable book.
  • Solutions and Tests for Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition - This is an 83-page, soft cover book, as well as an additional student test book of 31 pages.
I mentioned that all of my older children struggled when they transitioned from the elementary science books to general science. There was a leap between the difficulty levels that took a few modules for them to overcome before they began to feel successful in general science. Brittany is my last child who needed to make this leap. I heard Apologia was coming out with a new edition for general science, so I wanted to see if there would be any significant changes or if I should just stick with the previous edition that we already owned. The first sentence in their description for this 3rd edition made my decision very easy:
"Apologia’s newest curriculum, Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition, has been rewritten to truly walk each student through middle school’s transition time from the elementary years to the high school sciences."
 That was all I needed to know; they were redesigning it to make the transition easier! The information and concepts haven't changed, but the layout of the modules as well as the introduction of the student notebook have helped bridge the gap of that transition from elementary to middle school science.

Another significant change is in the tests. The tests we had for the previous edition were hard; while I want my children to be challenged, it was sometimes too much of a challenge for them. This 3rd edition is designed for the tests for modules 1 and 2. In the instructions for the Module 1 test in the student test booklet, tips are given for how to prepare for the test - what things to review, highlight, and memorize.

While this edition is designed to help transition students to the middle school and high school sciences, it still is quite rigorous in its content. The modules of study include
  • The History of Science
  • Scientific Inquiry and the Scientific Method
  • Documenting and Interpreting Experimental Results
  • Scientific Analysis and History
  • Earth Science - Astronomy
  • Earth Science - Geology and Paleontology
  • Earth Science - Meteorology and Oceanography
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics
  • Life Science
  • General Biology
  • Marine Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Science and Creation
Each module contains On Your Own questions for students to answer as they read through the text; Experiments with detailed sections for purpose, materials, question, hypothesis, procedure, and conclusion; Explore More with ideas for how to go more in depth with the topic; a Study Guide at the end of the module to review what they've read; and many beautiful full-color figures to illustrate the concepts being presented. Module 1 also includes several What To Do sections that give tips for how to take notes, complete the On Your Own questions, create a timeline, complete an experiment (like reading through all of the instructions before beginning), creating a lab report, and preparing for the test.

My favorite part of the 3rd edition is the addition of the student notebook. It begins with a section for the parent that covers the layout of the modules and the notebook, tips on creating a lab box so that all lab supplies will be on hand, tips on grading including an experiment grading rubric and how to weight the various parts of the course, and a suggested schedule for the year which has the student working on science 4 days a week. Depending on the student, each day's assignments would take between 30 minutes and an hour. I love that the schedule is in the student notebook; Brittany simply goes to the schedule, sees what she's supposed to do, and checks off that day when she has completed the assignment. 

The notebook is divided into modules that correspond to the modules in the text. In each notebook module, there are the daily assignments again, so that Britt can check off each item as she completes it. There are also places to write the vocabulary definitions, take notes, answer the On Your Own questions, and answer the study guide questions. There is also a lab section at the back of the notebook where Britt can record the introduction, hypothesis, materials, procedure, data and results, and write her conclusions - basically an entire lab report write-up which will help her transition to having to do them on her own.

So far Brittany has completed a few of the experiments as well as some of the Explore More activities. One of our favorites was exploring what happens when food coloring is dropped into hot water and into cold water. It was interesting to see the difference in how the temperature of the water affected how the color was dispersed. The top picture is her completed notebook page. I love how it has a place for her fill in her observations. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get pictures of the water as it was dispersing, so I only have the two fully dispersed cups of water.

Another experiment we enjoyed was examining the surface tension of water by adding drops of water to a dry penny compared to a soapy penny.

I can't say enough about how much I love this 3rd Edition of Exploring Creation with General Science. I'm confident that this will help Brittany transition more easily from the elementary sciences to middle school and high school science. 

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Are you interested in what other reviewers have to say about Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

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

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