Monday, May 2, 2016

Encouraging Curiosity with By Design Science

I received this curriculum for free in order to provide you with my review of it.  I was compensated for my time.  All opinions are my own.
By Design Science Textbook Review
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Classical education is what I love.  I used to think that in order to teach classically, I needed to use certain, classical curriculum.  While curriculum that has been designed to facilitate a classical education can be helpful, I have been learning that it isn't so much what curriculum you use, but how you use it.

When I first was given the opportunity to review By Design Science, I wasn't sure how I would like it since it isn't written specifically for classical homeschoolers.  In fact, it is the most textbook type book I have ever used with my children (other than for math).

I thought I should give it an honest look before making my decision, so I browsed the sample pages. What I found was engaging, Christian, curiosity inducing content.

By Design 2nd Grade Textbook

Each school morning since we received this curriculum my children and I have sat down together and learned about life science.  We have included this as a part of our spring trimester morning time and it fits perfectly!  I chose the 2nd grade text and started with the first unit, which is life science.  Each grade level (1st - 8th) of By Design Science is broken down into four units: life science, human body, earth and space science, and physical science.

By Design Student Journals
Student Journals For Each Unit

I am notorious for expecting my children to do more than is reasonable for their ages.  This curriculum was great for me because it gave me developmentally appropriate material to enjoy with them, and guess what?  They are loving it!

Even though By Design is a textbook, I found it to be delightfully conversational!  Basically, I would sit across from my children at the kitchen table, I would look at my teachers guide and they would look at the student text, and we would discover new things together.

First I would just have them look at the pictures on the page and try to notice all that they could about them.  Just this exercise of observing led to so many great conversations!  Then we would read through the few paragraphs out loud.  The paragraphs would share a bit of new information, but also would ask questions.  I love how this would get my children thinking and discussing, digging deep into the subject matter.  It really is an inquiry approach to science.

This curriculum (at this grade level) is not filled with facts to memorize and words that are difficult to pronounce, but instead guides children toward wonder and curiosity at the world that God has created.   

Engaging Your Children with By Design Science

By Design Teacher Manual

After we are done with our initial conversation about the material, I look around the boarder of my teacher's edition for other ideas of ways to engage my children with the material.  There are always great ideas to further their inquiry and knowledge.  There are more ideas to discuss, background knowledge to acquire, and experiments to discover.  Sometimes I mistakenly think "Come on kids, lets move on to the next thing now." But then I realize how silly that thought is, because this kind of engagement is exactly what I want!

During one of the lessons we were talking about what kinds of things animals need to survive. A suggested activity had to do with doing an experiment about the shape of bird's nests. This was perfect for us because we have been reading, watching, and nature journaling about birds this spring!  Here is my daughter having a fun time figuring out what shaped nest would best keep eggs from rolling out:

By Design Nest Shape Experiment

By Design Nest Shape Experiment

By Design Nest Shape Experiemnt

She made a hypothesis, worked hard testing the nest shapes, and excitedly came to a conclusion!  My son is the 2nd grader (the age this level is designed for), so I had him fill out the student journal page.  He recorded our hypothesis, our observations, and our conclusion.

By Design Student Journal

A Christian Science Curriculum

I believe that if we want to learn truth, it is impossible to leave God out of the story.  Some say that we need to do this for a subject like science, but I believe that we need to give glory to God especially in a subject like science.  How could we ever attempt to learn about ourselves and our world without first turning to the One who created us and this world.

By Design Science is a faith-based curriculum that acknowledges and gives glory to God throughout the book.  The text reminds us that God is the creator of all the things we are learning about and that he designed everything for a purpose!  Often in the book it asks us to look up a passage in the Bible or reminds us of a passage within the book.

I want to let you know that By Design Science is created by a Seventh Day Adventist group.  I am not Seventh Day Adventist, so I was on the look out for anything that would go against what my family believes.  The teachers guide does have quite a bit of info at the beginning about how this curriculum will reinforce the Adventist beliefs, but the student textbook does not include this information (which I was thankful for).  The student text is filled with references to God and the Bible, but I did not find anything at all that was contrary to my beliefs, in fact, I thought that the way it incorporated those topics was perfect!

Get sample pages from By Design grades 1 through 8

If you are looking for a science curriculum for next year, or want to lead your children into a curiosity driven exploration of the world this summer, I highly recommend that you check out By Design Science!  Don't forget that you can view sample pages from each grade level to help you learn even more!

Want to learn more about the publisher?  Visit Kendall Hunt Publishing Company and Kendall Hunt Religious Publishing.  

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1 comment:

  1. By Design sounds like it worked wonderfully for your son and daughter. I love curricula which create spin off conversations. It's always fun to hear what the kids have to say!


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