{Crew Review} ~ Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics

If you read my Monday Musings you would know that in our homeschooling co-op this year we are having our older students go through a high school chemistry course. It is definitely meant for high school students which left our younger students with nothing to do during science time. So when this elementary homeschool science course came up from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was thrilled.

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What It Is:

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is a brand new addition to Apologia's Young Explorer Series. This easy to use, year-long curriculum is meant for grades K-6th. The course begins with matter and then moves onto atoms, mixtures, motion, energy, light, electricity, magnetism, and simple machines. The text book is broken up into 14 Lessons which are between 15 and 19 pages long. Words that are to be learned are in bold, with the definition plainly stated. Written by Jeannie Fulbright, the text is easy to read and is at a 4th-6th grade reading level.

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Throughout the lesson are Try This! boxes. These are fun experiments to do that help to understand the material being taught. Some of these are as simple as blowing on glass to see condensation, or using force to stick a piece of paper to a window. Others are more involved and include freezing different liquids in the freezer, substance testing with litmus paper, or creating a simple circuit.

There are beautiful color illustrations throughout the textbook that are very helpful in teaching the concepts. Almost all of the experiments in the book also have a photo to help explain the process.

At the end of each lesson is a short section with questions titled, "What Do You Remember?". These are a great way to verbally review with your child what they have learned. There are also suggested notebooking activities and a final experiment. These last experiments are more involved that the others listed and include making your own flashlight, building a periscope, and making a magnetic race track. There is a convenient supply list in the back of the textbook. The textbook is available on the Apologia website for $39.00

While the text can be used on its own, Apologia also provides Notebooking Journals in two levels.

The Chemistry & Physics Notebooking Journal is meant for upper elementary students. Inside the pages you will find vocabulary crossword puzzles, lined pages to fill up with facts, and scripture copy work pages to fill in. There are mini book/flap books to make for each lesson, the What Do You Remember? questions, and other experiments and book suggestions for further study. The notebooks are available for $24.00 on the website.

Apologia also offers the Chemistry & Physics Junior Notebooking Journal. These are meant for the lower elementary students who have limited writing skills and include  appropriate coloring pages, places to draw illustrations, copywork pages, simple vocabulary crosswords, mini books, and ideas for further study. These notebooks are also available on the website for $24.00 each.

How I Used This:

At the beginning of both the textbook and the notebooks is a few pages on how to use the book. These were extremely helpful in helping me decide how to teach this to our co-op students. Another planning feature is a suggested Daily Schedule in the notebooks. This assumes that you will study science 2 days a week and take 2 weeks for each lesson. The book will then be completed in twenty-eight weeks.

The books makes it clear that you do not need to assign every activity listed. Even the number of days a week that you do the material is flexible and allows you, as the teacher, to decide what is best for your family.

Each week I would assign a reading assignment from the text and one or two pages from the Notebooks. We gather weekly for co-op and while the older kids were doing high school chemistry, we would do our work. I planned out in advance what we would do each week. We did experiments, the What Do You Remember? page, and the mini-books for each lesson. And we had a blast. So much so that the older kids asked to come in and watch our experiments.

One day we made our very own lava lamps, as we learned about density

Another experiment about carbon dioxide bubbles was a favorite....that also might have been because there was candy involved.

Before adding Rock Pops.....

...and after.

And then there was this experiment on density. The older kids were even impressed.

First I had 8 liquids that were of different densities.

Next, following the instructions in the book, we added them into a vase in a specified order.

So pretty!

Next, we dropped different objects into the vase and watched where they became suspended.

Each of the objects sank until it had found a level that had more density.

You can see the ping pong ball floating on the top, a straw in the next layer, and the dice on the bottom.

Every lesson has its own crafty element which is usually a flap or layered book. This was the book they made after learning about matter:

I really liked it that the flap books were identical in both Junior and Upper Elementary Notebooks; that made it much easier on the teacher.

I really loved this curriculum. I never took chemistry in high school or college and have been scared of teaching this science. Jeannie Fulbright has not only made it fun with all of the creative experiments, but has done an excellent job in making the text of the course easy to understand. I am even learning things each week as I read aloud to the kids and am impressed with what my kids have learned. Yesterday when we went to read the book, and I was asking some questions, Nutsy was able to tell me the three forms of matter (liquid, solid, and gas). Both of the younger girls eagerly got out their notebooks each time we did science and loved filling the pages with facts, drawings, and answering questions.

This was the perfect fit for us. Not so intense that it was over their heads, but yet meaty enough for upper elementary students. And there are plenty of hands-on activities to satisfy those younger children, and their need for tangible learning. The book is unabashedly from a Christian perspective with references to God's power, His amazing creation, and the wisdom that He has given to humans. As we go through our co-op year we plan to complete the book and explore more about the fascinating world of chemistry and physics.

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