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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Fascinating Biology

Fascinating Education

Fascinating Education is an online science curriculum that uses a step by step audio visual technique to teach science.  Instead of using text as the main part of the lesson, Dr. Margulies uses colorful illustrations that flash across the screen as a narrator explains them.  This approach targets the right hemisphere of the brain that will process the images more effectively then simply reading from a text.  We have had an opportunity to review Fascinating Biology over the last several weeks.

Fascinating  Physics

Fascinating Biology was designed to cover what you would find in a high school biology course, but it has been used successfully with middle school students as well.  It is recommended that the student takes chemistry before taking biology.  If the student has not taken chemistry first, they offer a subset of the Fascinating Chemistry course that can be used to ready the student for biology for an add on fee of $20.  A one year subscription to Fascinating Biology is $79.

There are 18 lessons in Fascinating Biology:

What is Life?
Chemistry Review
The Cell Membrane
Take in Nutrients
Take in Energy-Part 1
Take in Energy -Part 2
Take in Energy -Part 3
Taken in Energy-Part 4
Reproduce-Part 1
Reproduce-Part 2
Reproduce-Part 3
Homeostasis-Part 1
Homeostasis-Part 2
Adapt- Part 1
Adapt- Part 2
Prokaryotes, Protists, Animals, Fungi

Each lesson has a series of visual slides with an audio explanation.  The video for each lesson varies in length but are less then 45 minutes long.  You can stop in the middle of the lesson and when you click on the lesson the next time you log in, it will give you an option to continue where you left off.  You do have to remember what lesson you are on, the program does not keep track of that. At the end of each lesson there is a review of what was covered in that lesson.  There is an option to print out the text for each lesson if your child wants to read along or review the text when the lesson is over.  There are also multiple choice tests for each lesson.

We have been completing 1-2 lessons of Fascinating Biology per week. When you log into the course, the lessons are listed in a table format.

Choose the lesson you are on and click on lesson.

That takes you straight to the video slides.  The program moves through the slides automatically.  You are able to pause and stop if you need to.

 If you would like to read along with the lesson, click on script and you can print out a PDF of the lesson.

At the end of each lesson there is a review covering what was taught in the lesson.

At the end of each quiz, it tells you how many points you earned and what a passing score is.  You also have options to review the quiz, print the results, and retry the quiz.  When you review the quiz it shows what your answer was and the correct response. Grades are not stored in the program and you can retake the quiz as many times as you need to.

I love the visual aspect of Fascinating Biology.  The slides are colorful and clearly demonstrate what is being explained in the video.  The information is split up into digestible chunks making it easy to understand.  For some students, it may be easier to split the lesson up into two or more days, and this is very easy to do with Fascinating Biology.  I love the ability to print out the text for review, or to read along with the lesson.  I love the What You Know So Far review at the end of each lesson.

The course website states that after finishing Fascinating Biology the student should earn a high school credit based on the information the course covers.  But, there are no labs in this course and only 18 lessons at a little less then an hour each.  For those who have to track hours for counting credits you may have to add in some outside resources to have enough hours to count as a credit.  Although the course can be used completely independently by the student, parents will have to keep track of the grades as the program does not store those for you. Also, in the FAQ, there is a question of whether creation vs evolution is taught in Fascinating Education courses. The response is ,"Religious views and scientific views differ, and Dr. Margulies does not see his role with these curricula to argue in favor of one or the other. His role is to describe the forces in the universe and how they play out in our everyday lives without addressing how those forces came into being or whether forces are being manipulated by God in some way." Fascinating Biology does come from an old earth perspective and has several mentions of millions of years.

Members of the Crew reviewed Fascinating Biology, Fascinating Physics, and Fascinating Chemistry.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

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