4/12/12

TOS Review: Christian Kids Explore Chemistry

Tailorbear has recently expressed interest in all things science.  She is especially excited about chemistry.  Bright Ideas Press publishes a series of science books entitled Christian Kids Explore Science.  As a member of the TOS Crew we had the chance to review the Chemistry book.

We received a PDF copy of the 2nd Edition Christian Kids Explore Chemistry book. At the time of this review this resource is only available for sale as a physical product.  It retails for $39.95  In addition to the PDF file of the book, we received a PDF version of the Resource CD. This CD is included when you purchase from Bright Ideas Press. (If you already own the book, you can purchase the CD for $12.95 ~ on sale for $9.95)

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry (CKEC) targets 4th to 8th graders so my 7th grader, Tailorbear, fits solidly in that range.  I choose to use the hints in the “how to use this book” section geared for advanced students.   This means that Tailorbear read the material to herself and used this resource more of a self-teaching course.  

You can view a table of contents and a sample lesson on the website.

CKEC recommends one lesson per week.  The Lesson Plans, included on the Resource CD, break each lesson into two days of work.

Each CKEC lesson is divided into four parts:

  • Teaching Time ~  This is the heart of the lesson.  This is the material that an older or advanced reader would read to herself or the parent/teacher could read it aloud to younger students.  There is even a suggestion that for much younger children or children who might have trouble grasping the concepts, the parent can read this material ahead of time and then explain to the students.
  • Review It! ~ These are questions that follow the reading material.   These questions are fill in the blank or labeling questions.  I am using these as independent work that I can check and see how my daughter is doing.  I would use these questions as discussion questions if I were reading aloud the teaching time section.
  • Hands On Activity ~ First I love that they are not called experiments.  Some of the activities are experiments where the student is asked to provide a hypothesis and test it but many are just great hands on activities to help make the concepts concrete.  A list of the materials required are included at the beginning of every unit.   So far all the items I have needed are items we have here but I have purchased many science kits over the years.  I recommend reading through the materials list ahead of time to have enough planning time if you need to purchase or find something such as fine sand.
  • Think About It! ~ I love this section.  According to the “How to Use this Book” section, the “Think About It” sections are intended for the older students.  The questions get the student thinking deeper about the hands on activity.  They bring the Hands on Activity to a middle school/junior high level more appropriate for the 7th to 8th graders.

Appendix B is a Resource List.  Some general resources are listed first and then there are suggested resources to go with each lesson.

I love love love love the Resource File.  Why? Because it includes a Lesson Plan,  Reproducibles, Supply List, a Catalog, Contact info for Bright Ideas Press and (cue drum roll music) a literature guide.  I especially love the Reproducibles.  These are aligned for easy printing and I can print as many copies as I need and I only have to print what we’ll use.  This also makes it easier for Tailorbear so that she can just fill in the blanks rather than writing in a notebook (an activity she detests but she still has to write out the vocabulary words). Remember this resource is included when you purchase the 2nd Edition Christian Kids Explore Chemistry book.

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Thoughts from Tailorbear (age 13, 7th grade): “It is useful because of the way they do it. The lessons are in bite-sized bits. Such as one lesson is about chemical bonds. Then another lesson would continue on that subject with a little more depth. The experiments are amazing! Some were a little boring. Such as the salt sand one. Otherwise they are really fun! I really really like it. I like doing it independently but having mom around to help is nice.  I don’t need her to teach me, but sometimes I have questions and sometimes it’s fun to just have another voice.  I’ve been able to do the experiments on my own which is nice considering I can tell Supergirl to leave me alone because I’m doing a very important experiment..”

My Bottom Line: I like this product.  Tailorbear enjoys the lessons and I can use the appendix to find suggestions to add supplemental material to go deeper.  If I were purchasing this product I would choose the physical book over the PDF (which is not currently available for sale) because I prefer NOT to read on the computer.  With a physical book, I would be more likely to be more involved with the learning process.  That being said Tailorbear has had no issues with using the PDF file of the textbook.  I think she likes being allowed to use the computer.

Click on the banner below to read what my fellow crew mates had to say about the different Christian Kids Explore Science  booksPhotobucketAll information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. I am required to write a review but I am not required to write a positive review. This review contains my and/or my daughters’ honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I/ we liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

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