Review of “Energy” by Cindy Downes

October 27, 2009

[The following review is from, posted Sep. 30, 2009, by Cynthia E. Downes.]

Energy: Its Forms, Changes, & Functions (Investigate the Possibilities Series) is part of a Christian-based science curriculum written by Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves. The other sets in the series, which are published by Master Books, are Matter and Forces and Motion. Each set contains three, paperback booklets with color illustrations.

Energy includes 20 hands-on science lessons that cover such topics as energy, light, heat, magnets, electricity, and solar, wind, water and nuclear energy. Each lesson contains an introduction to the topic, lab instructions, an explanation of the results of the experiment, connections to other ideas related to that topic, an opportunity for students to expand on what they learned, andan assessment to determine what your child learned.

Supplies will have to be gathered ahead of time and include such items as dry cells, sandpaper, marbles, pipe foam insulation, convex lenses, insulated wire, battery holders, knife switch and thermometer. In other words, these are items that are not impossible to find, but you will need to purchase them ahead of time. Equipment can be ordered from places such as Home Science Tools. By purchasing your equipment a little at a time using books like this, it’s a good way to create your science supply kit for K-12th grade.

The teacher’s guide includes objectives, notes and answers to the assessment questions.

The student journal is where students write observations about the investigation and answers to the assessment questions.

Each three-book set is only $[...], well worth the price. I recommend Energy for children in 1-8th grade, depending upon the student’s science aptitude. For younger students, this could be part of a complete science curriculum. Add some library books and you have everything you need for lab science. For students in 6th grade and up, this could be used as enrichment to complement a science textbook. I would also use this for special education purposes for older students.

Review of “Matter” by Isabelle Lussier

October 27, 2009

This book is part of the Investigate the Possibilities series [by Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves] and is geared toward students from grade 3 to 6. Its content is about elementary chemistry and the book is packed with tons of activities. Learning is fun when you have the possibility of applying it yourself.

The book is bright in colors and includes many images to attract the eye of the child. There is information to make you think as well as observation to be made while experimenting. In total there are 20 investigations to be made by the kids while going through this book. They will discover more about chemicals, bubbles, colors, water, acids, salt, metals, electricity and much more. The teaching deals also with the faith in God. The experiments use household items and teach the why and how things work, what they are made of and where they come from. The students will also get introduce to the periodic table.

Each chapter has various sections in it going from engaging the students to explain, apply, expand and assess the information. In each lesson the student will learn to think about an aspect of chemistry and he/she will also read about the science aspect of it as well as making connection with the methods, instruments and so on. At the end of the lesson, there are questions to make sure the student has understood the information he read and learned during the lesson.

Also available are the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Journal. The Teacher’s Guide contains information on how to plan and teach the lesson as well as guidance for the teacher. It also provides the answers to the questions the students have to answer. Each page also has a copy of the page from the book so that it’s easy to know which lesson the information refers to. The Student Journal is mostly a book where the student can write down the observations made during the experiments as well as answering the questions for comprehension. There is a section called Dig Deeper where the student can jolt down some answers to the questions/challenge offered in the Dig Deeper section of the book. For example, in lesson 1 the student need to find the name of one charity whose mission is to provide clean water to people who don’t have clean water to drink. Obviously, some research is needed to find the answer.

I was a little bit anxious on how I would introduce chemistry to my kids eventually. I think this book is an answer to prayer. You see chemistry was not my strong subject when I was in high school neither when I was in cégep which is why I gave up on being a vet and went into administration to eventually go into information technology. But deep down, I always loved medicine and so on. So when I got this book and saw how fun the book has been made for children, I was very happy to have had the opportunity to review it. I look forward to do some lessons with my 3rd grader this year when we start school. This book is well taught and contains relevant information as well. I like the fact that it gives the creation perspective of things. I’m very pleased to have discovered a chemistry book that doesn’t put God aside to teach the children. The experiments look very fun to do. I am particularly looking forward to do the one in lesson 2 which requires diapers.

I strongly recommend this book to every homeschooler who are teaching 3rd to 6th grades. You won’t be disappointed for sure.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]

Review of “Forces and Motion” by Kerri Tettleton

October 27, 2009

Finally a science book that completely integrates a Christan worldview with scientific facts. You will not have any concerns about what your students are learning when they are reading the text sectons on their own. In addition, the “Dig Deeper” sections provide a variety of reinforcing learning options for the student. You can do 1 or several and they address all learning styles. Homeschoolers could not find a more user friendly science curriculum that also reinforces the Biblical ideas and views they want to give their children.