22 July 2019

Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition Review

Apologia has updated their Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition.  Apologia has generously sent me the Textbook, Student Notebook, and Solutions and Test.

Recommended age is 7th and 8th grade. I love that I’m giving my son a Biblical Worldview with homeschool science for middle school.

Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition Text 

Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition is the newest updated and fully revised that will teach your student many scientific concepts. This is still an in-depth science curriculum to help transition students from elementary science to middle school science and teaching the skills to transition into high school science. Topics cover a wide range in the modules from the history of science from Egypt, Dark Ages & Modern Science, scientific method, documenting and interpreting experimental results, astronomy, geology, paleontology, meteorology, oceanography, earth study, and much more.

The book is broken up into fourteen modules. Within each module there are several topics covered. Each module is around 2 1/2 weeks with a 4 day schedule. The estimated time is 45 minutes to an hour. If you follow the schedule you can plan for 33 weeks to complete the course. The 33 weeks gives you a lot of wiggle room for those busy weeks to extend if needed. Regardless of how you schedule your homeschool it is flexible enough to adjust the schedule to fit your homeschool. You have the complete schedule in your Student Notebook.

Each module starts out with a “Quaestio” which is basically means question in Latin. It gives you something to think about as you enter into the new module.

Text words are in blue boldface that your student needs to memorize the definition. If you see black boldface it means that these words are important terms to comprehend.

The modules are easy to locate as they are marked clearly in the upper right corner on each page.

With the first few Modules you will have several “What To Do” instructions that start out each assignment from notetaking, experiments, and to filling out your lab reports. This should help your student get acquainted with using the curriculum. This is in each module of the Student Notebook to help you out.

There are several exercises like “On Your Own” questions to see if you are understanding and retaining the information. If you’re unsure of the answer at the end of each module the answers are available. If you get them wrong you need to go back over the concept and study it more.

There are 2 types of activities : “Experiments” and “Explore More” For the experiments they recommend that you do them the day you read the text. You also have a lab report in your Student Notebook for each one. The experiments are concise and walk you through them. You choose only 1 experiment to write up a short report which the space is provided in your Student Notebook.

The “Explore More” are quick hands on activities to help your student understand the concepts you’re learning. The activities are in a box and clearly marked on the page. Example of one is having someone taste a cookie and not letting them see it or taking a poll and creating a graph of favorite ice creams.

Most experiments require things that you already have or you can obtain easily at your local grocery, pharmacy, or hardware store. A complete list of supplies is broken down by module and experiment in the back of the text book and in the Student Notebook.

At the end of the each module you have a study guide which will help you study for each of the modules test.

There are several opportunities to read and create graphs tables, and infographics. You will find these activities in the “On Your Own,” study guide, and test questions.

I was curious to see what the difference between the 2nd edition and the newest 3rd edition. I asked a friend if she would bring her 2nd edition for me to look over when we had a play date for our kids.

This particular friend has taught most of the Apologia Science courses at a co-op and is very familiar with the curriculum.

The first thing we noticed was that the book itself is more colorful. There are different photos and graphics throughout the text. The photos are more scientific lab photos-gone are the end of the chapter cartoons. The photos are much better and more modern.
Module 2, Own Your Own, 2nd Edition

Module 2, Own Your Own, 3rd Edition

“Own Your Own” or “Explore More” sections stands out more. It makes it more appealing and you know it’s important and action is required.

The paragraphs are shorter and broken down more so than the 2nd edition. It looks like most of the content is the same  and even easier to read for someone who doesn’t have a scientific mind. I think the way it has been re-worded and shortened isn’t as dry but more interesting.  
The 2nd Edition is on the top and the 3rd Edition is on the bottom. You can see the page difference
The chapters are shorter so for Module 1 there are 4 less pages. The 2nd edition had 491 pages while the 3rd edition is 433 pages.

2nd Edition Experiment from Module 3, experiment 3.2
3rd Edition Experiment from Module 3, experiment 3.2

Another big difference is the experiments as they seem more modern to today’s generation. I noticed that in the 2nd edition many of the experiments are common ones that we have done several times throughout the many lower elementary curriculum's out on the market. I found this very refreshing. Some of the experiments are the same but there are much more newer experiments. The experiment pages are also more colorful within the text and I think they have better instructions.
Study Guide for Module 3, 2nd Edition
Study Guide for Module 3, 2nd Edition

Both of the above pictures are from the the same module. The 2nd Edition has 2 pages and 15 questions. The 3rd Edition is 1 page and 5 questions.

Student Notebook 

Like all of Apologia Student Notebooks this is a spiral bound notebook that includes an introduction, 14 module activities, and lab reports. This is a consumable workbook and you will need a book for each student and to get the most of this science it really is essential. 

The introduction has pages for both the parent and student with valuable information. For the parent there is information about the note taking pages and the importance of your student having this skill. For the student it gives them an overview on note taking with a science text and the importance of why taking notes is beneficial.   

The supplies needed for the experiments are listed on the lab reports both non-perishable and perishable. The introduction section has a suggestion on how to make sure you have the supplies for the experiments.

Another feature is a grading rubric for the experiments and lab reports, and exams.

Everything is broken down for grading with step-by-step instructions. 
Help blank Grade Recording Chart

There is also a blank Grade Recording Chart for all 14 modules that has several key areas like experiment, test grades, character and average.

The schedule is easy to know what you need to do each day

The suggested schedule is laid out with easy to follow instructions and the modules are different colors which I love seeing that as it makes it real easy for me not getting lost in a page full of white squares! It tells you what pages to read in the text, what pages to do in the Student Notebook, and the corresponding experiments. There is even a box you can check it off when you complete your assignment.

At the beginning of each lesson you have box called, “What To Do.” Within the colored box you have all the information needed to complete that day’s lesson.

If I look at a lesson in Module 2  it first reminds me above the box about Notetaking. In the box it says that the lesson is week 3, day 3. I read pages 33-36 in the text, and it recommends that you keep the notebook pages up so you can complete the task and check off the checklist when you finish each step.There are 2 experiments in this lesson, and "Take Notes" in this lesson. 

Within each module you have two areas for notetaking. It is recommended that this not be graded. Within the pages you will see tables and infographics to help assist your students to direct them where to find the information. Each module concludes with “Creation Connections” this section is your students way to express their thoughts on how they view the world with what they just learned in the text and how it applies to their everyday life. Your student can write a poem, draw a picture, or record their thoughts in this section.

Student Notebook pages are laid out to help transition from elementary to upper science. It will contain prompts and tips for the daily reading to help build good habits for the skills needed for upper science.

Solutions and Test and Test Books 

Each module has a test for it, except for module 14. The Solutions and Test has a blank copy of the test along with the solution for each test.  The first two module tests suggest that you let your student use an open-book test and have access to the text book and Student Notebook. The reason is that students learn the layout of this course and to improve the skill of taking a test.   

The Student Test book doesn’t have the answers in it. You have a variety of multiply choice and written questions for each module. There are a variety of graphs, tables, and charts for you to answer questions with. I would recommend a notebook for writing out your answers to the questions if you have a student who has large handwriting.

I also looked at the 2nd edition Solutions and Test books. A few things that I really like is “What To Do” section. It’s boxed in gray and tells you literally what to do! The test pages aren’t just a white page with questions on it. It’s just more appealing to the eyes in the grayscale color theme.
2 Edition Test 2 pages above and below pictures are the same module test

3rd Edition Test same module as the 2nd Edition test
There are more multi-choice questions, fill in the blank questions, but it still has questions that you need to write out. Most of the graphs and tables are done for you now and you are just answering the questions. There are a few that you need to complete just not as many.  The 2nd edition I noticed you had to create or fill in the information yourself to answer the questions. There are not as many questions in the modules either.  The questions don’t seem as hard as the previous 2nd edition.

Another feature is the Book Extras which has extra material using links to other websites that are related to the course.  The links are arranged by modules. 

Some Thoughts on the Changes: 

My friend and I both loved that the layout is easier and it has more relevant pictures for today’s generation. It really does flow much better. There are several new experiments   and are explained much easier in our opinion.

My friend was disappointed that the text and test are shorter. She thought the questions were good in the 3rd Edition but felt cutting down the number of questions and that many but not all the questions are easier than what was in the 2nd Edition. Keep in mind that she has been teaching science for a long time and is passionate about it. I wish we didn’t live almost an hour away or I would have my kids signed up for her classes! 

My thoughts are: My family loves science but, I wouldn’t say this is a strong subject for us. I’m grateful for the changes as it more user friendly for my family and I suspect most families. I like the multiply choice and fill in the blank questions.

Overall, I prefer the 3rd edition much better. It is more suited for my home science. It makes me feel more confident teaching an upper science course.

How did I use Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition in my homeschool? 

My son is now in the 8th grade it’s a time of transition for him with building independent learning, thinking through topics independently, and even be more accountable for his school work.

We have had a few crazy busy weeks with the kid’s 4-H projects and preparing for the county fair and other things. The plan was to go on schedule according to the laid out schedule in the Student Notebook as much as we could. For the most part it has worked out for us with some weeks we couldn’t complete 4 days.

My son and I took turns reading the textbook out loud. Mostly because of the review so I could get a feel of the curriculum. When he starts up again when our school is in full swing he will work on this independently except for experiments and when he needs my help.

He pulled out his Student Notebook and kept track of the schedule himself. I had him direct me with what needed to be done as my intention is for him to be more independent with science. Since the experiments so far have been items we have already available. He looked the week before to make sure we had everything for the following week. 

We followed the schedule with reading the text and stopping and working on the experiments immediately and he would also work on the majority of the explore more activities. He would work on the Student Notebook independently. After each day I would go over his Student Notebook grade it and if needed talk to him about note taking or his answers if I felt it needed some improvement.
This  experiment is from Module 1, Experiment 1.2. You have to determine what happens with a chemical reaction when certain chemicals are used. In this case it was a lemon, salt, and water.
We have never done much with note taking and lab reports to this degree.  I’m glad that this is emphasized and it is a skill he will need to succeed in high school and in college. My son understands how important it is if he wants to be prepared for science in high school and was a trooper through it all.

I'm very happy with what I am seeing so far and it makes me and my son feel pretty good going forward in upper science. 
Lab report from the lemon/ penny experiment Module 1, Experiment 1.2
This is the 2nd page of my son's lab report from
Module 1, Experiment 1.2
An Explore More activity from Module 2. My son is learning how science is misused and sometimes you cannot see a phenomena.

Also available in other sets is the MP3 Audio CD, and or the Video Instruction Thumb Drive to go with Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. 

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld/

39 other reviewers have been working through Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition also. Click on the graphic below to find out what they think?


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