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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Apologia Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics

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Apologia Educational Ministries is a company that is well known in the homeschooling community for their Books and Resources  for parents and of course their homeschool science curriculum.  Throughout my years on the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I have been so blessed to review several different products from Apologia, and this time I was very excited to have an opportunity to review Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics.  I received Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics text, Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal, and Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal for this review.

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Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics is the newest book in their Young Explorers  Elementary Science series.  This series of books was designed for children in grades K-6th grade.  This hardcover, colorful text ($39) will give students an introduction into the world of chemistry and physics showing young students how God made everything in the universe.  In addition to the conversational text, students will have an opportunity to do many hands on experiments that will show them what they have just learned.  Students will be able to repeat back what they have learned through narration and will also keep a notebook storing everything they have learned in one place.

The text has 14 chapters with each chapter taking around 2 weeks to complete.  Chapters include:

Chemistry and Physics Matter
Moving Matter
Building Blocks of Creation
Compound Chemistry
Multitude of Mixtures
Mechanics in Motion
Dynamics of Motion
Work in the World
Sound of Energy
Light of the World
Thermal Energy
Electrifying Our World
Mysterious Magnetism
Simple Machines

Some of the hands on projects include: making a bouncy ball, formulating a smoke bomb, building a solar oven, constructing a working periscope, fashioning a a miniature motor, creating a lava lamp, and many, many more.

If you visit this page you can download a sample chapter, view the table of contents, and see the supply list for the course.

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As a companion to the course, Apologia offers to different types of notebooking journals.  The regular notebooking journal ($24) is for the upper elementary ages.  It is a spiral bound bound that provides a place for the student to keep all of their project work for Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics.  In it you will find: a suggested schedule to follow, full color mini books, notebooking assignments, projects, activities, narration questions, vocabulary crosswords, fascinating facts pages, project pages, field trip sheets, Scripture copywork, and "Test it Out" sections with further experiments, activities, living books, audio and video resources.  The answers to the crosswords and final review are also included.  If you go to this page, you can download the journal Table of Contents and a sample of the journal.

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The Junior Notebooking Journal ($24) is for younger elementary students.  It too is spiral bound and provides a place for your student to keep all of their work in one place.  In this notebook you will find: suggested schedule, coloring pages, notebooking assignment, activities, projects, full color mini books, copywork, project pages, field trip sheets, and "Test It Out" sections with additional experiments, activities, living books, and audio and video resources.  The answers to the crosswords are also included.  On this page you can download a sample and Table of Contents.

I used this course mainly with my 11 and 9 year olds with my 8,6,4, and 2 year olds tagging along for the experiments.  My 11 year old used the regular notebooking journal and my 9 year old (who is not a strong reader or writer) used the junior notebooking journal.  We followed the suggested schedule in the journals working two days per week completing a chapter in two weeks.  I read the text aloud to the children, they worked on their notebooks independently and we did the experiments altogether.

I think that Chemistry and Physics was a wonderful topic for the newest book in the Young Explorers series, especially after just tackling High School Chemistry with my oldest daughter.  I think that if the foundation and the interest would've been laid in at a younger level, she wouldn't have struggled so much with it.  Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics is another outstanding book in this series.  The first thing that caught my eye is that it is very bright and colorful.  It is written from a Biblical perspective and gives glory to God in all things.  The tone of the book is conversational and written to the student making it easy for older elementary students to complete independently if you choose.  Although we chose to follow the suggested schedule the program is very flexible allowing you to go at your own pace.  The only advanced teacher prep is to gather the necessary objects to do the hands on activities.

But quite honestly, the best part of the book are the "Try This" activities and experiments.  Reading about something is great, but doing it yourself is even better.  This book is packed full of hands on activities!  And they are fun!  Most everything you need is something you have laying around the house, or can be easily found at Walmart.  It didn't take long for my younger children to figure out either.  My 6 year old asked me if it was a science day.  When I said yes he went running to get his brother saying, " Anthony it is a science day.  We get to do something cool today!"

Some pictures of a few of the hands on activities:

Density Activities

Lava Lamp Project

Amorphous Solid

I think the notebooking journals are a great way to keep everything your child has learned together in one colorful, convenient place.  We love the notebooking journals!  We have used Apologia Science for several years, but this was the first opportunity I have had to see the Junior Notebooking Journal.  In the past, we have shared journals because my 9 year old was just not able to complete the Regular Journal on his own.  I was very impressed with the activities in the notebooking journals.  The junior is similar to the regular, but the activities are more appropriate for the younger ages, or those who are not strong readers and writers.  I love the variety of activities and the colorful mini books that are included in the journal.  I also liked that in the junior journal they included both print and cursive, but the lines are a bit wider with the dashed middle line for younger writers.

Here are some photos of the journals:

Regular Journal

Junior Journal

Junior Journal

Regular Journal

Junior Journal

If there was one thing that I could think of to make it even better, I wish that there were mini lab sheets made up for all of the experiments in the notebook.  There are project pages to record your project and what you did, but if I were to have everything I wanted in the notebooking journal it would be to have the pages made up already for the projects listed in the book.

We have had a great time with Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics!

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.

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