As our Homeschool Crew Reviews were coming to an end for this year, I was super excited to see The 101 Series as our last vendor. I had heard such wonderful things about this series and was anxious to have an opportunity to check it out. Over the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review Biology 101.
Westfield Studios was founded in 2004 when Tammy Olson was looking for a biology curriculum to help her teenage sons and could not find what she was looking for, Her husband, Wes, with a love of science and 15 years of film experience decided to make what she was looking for, and Biology 101 was made, followed by Chemistry 101, and Physics 101. General Science 101 will be the next course in the series. The goal of the 101 Series is to provide understandable, easy to use, visual, high school level curriculum.
Biology 101 is a high school level, creation based biology course. It was designed for ages 15 and up but is appropriate for all ages to watch. The course teaches biology by following the days of creation. There are 4 discs which contain the video segments ( 4 hours and 37 minutes total)to watch and you will also find on disc four PDF's of a guidebook and accreditation booklet.
Disc 1: Introduction: Defining Life and Life Classification
Disc 2: Aquatic Creatures
Disc 3: Land Animals Part 1
Land Animals Part 2
Mankind Part 1
Mankind Part 2
Disc 4: Genetics: A Brief History of Biology, Cells, and Genetics
Guidebook and Accreditation Booklet (PDFs)
The Accreditation Booklet is a 12 page PDF explaining how to turn the DVDs into a high school credit by completing a variety of activities including: watching the DVDs, using the guidebook, making a notebook to record your work, research and lab reports, discussion questions, labs, field trips, and reading additional books of choice. A chart is included with the suggested activities and the approximate amount of time that should be spent completing them. The Biology 101 Course Accreditation takes around 135 hours to complete plus 20 hours of lab work. If you complete one segment per week, it will take around 7 months to complete the course working approximately 5 hours per week.
The Guidebook is a 118 page PDF. This book is a companion to the DVD that your student can read through. It contains information form the film, interesting trivia, stories and commentary, footnotes, and quizzes.
I have been through one homeschool high school biology course with my oldest daughter. It was very challenging and we did not enjoy it. It was a struggle to get through the course. I really wanted to find something different to use with my son who just entered 9th grade. I was thrilled to have a chance to review Biology 101 because I thought the visual aspect (watching the DVDs) would make the study of biology more interesting. I decided we would watch the DVDs this year and then have Nick complete the Accreditation Course for his biology credit next year. We have been watching one portion of the DVD per week. The DVDs are stunning! The graphics are beautiful. The information is presented in an interesting and understandable way. I love that the study follows the days of creation. Even though it is geared for high school ages, the DVD can be viewed by the entire family. All of my children ages 5 and up have watched and enjoyed the DVDs.
What I didn't know until we received the product was how much I would like the course as a whole. The activities to turn this into a high school credit are fantastic! I love the combination of watching the DVDs, hands on activities, research activities, reading, writing, and field trips. Students are encouraged to read 3-5 juvenile books on each subject from the library. You do not have to buy or find specific books, just anything on the subject that they find interesting that they want to read more about. The lab work is not just dissection, instead there are a variety of activities. I was VERY excited about that. There is one lab assignment to catch a fish and as you prepare it identify the parts but there is also an option to buy a goldfish, observe it and identify it's outer parts. I love the field trip suggestions. Some of the field trips include: visiting a pond, lake, or ocean and observe and identify creatures, visit a local nursery and identify plants, go out to eat and classify items at the table, visit a park, aviary or bird sanctuary, visit a pet store, and visit a lab to look at a blood cell. I love the inclusion of the Bible activities as well.
I am so impressed with Biology 101! High School level science courses can be so difficult for the student and the teacher. Biology 101 is interesting, easy to understand, and easy on the teacher. The course is also affordable. There is no special or expensive equipment or add on items needed. I am definitely planning on purchasing Chemistry 101 and Physics 101!
Members of The Crew reviewed all three of the DVDs in The 101 Series. To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!