Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Science for High School: Physical Science Review

 photo banner-main6_zps0658d9fa.png

Science for High School is a different sort of science program.  Whereas the traditional science program requires the student to read text, remember facts, and be tested on those facts, Science for High School questions the student, requires them to research the answers, and then be quizzed on the information they've learned.  

We received High School Physical Science in your Home to review.  When I opened it, I was taken aback.  I had never seen a science curriculum like it.  I thought about how my middle school son would respond to it, and I didn't think it would go over very well.  We received a teacher guide that comes with the answers to all of the questions and a quiz/exam answer key, as well as the instructions for the labs.  There is a packet of quizzes and final exams and a student manual.  Each page in the manual is simply a list of questions which the student has to research.

One of the things that I have enjoyed as my kids have gotten older is the idea that they are self-directed in their learning.  I am always available to further explain an idea, and I will often follow along so that I know what they are learning; but I don't feel like I have to sit on top of them while they are learning.  This program made me feel like I had to go back to that.  I had to be sure every answer was correct.  As he did the work, he would often come out complaining that he couldn't find the answer.  Of course, then I'd sit with him and search the internet or books in our house for the answers.  After Nate was done with a unit, I would read the answer key to myself and then ask him to tell me what he found out.  I wanted to see if his answer was the same.  Often I'd then read out loud the answer found in the teacher's guide because the guide was so wordy in some places, and the information found in Nate's resource was slightly different.  I wanted to be sure he got the "whole" answer.  I felt like I was still directing so he'd get the right answer. 

Many of the questions had more than one part to them, and Nate would overlook some of it.  For instance, "Research the meaning of prevailing winds, also, the doldrums, trade winds, westerlies, and polar easterlies."  Nate only researched prevailing winds.  Now, I agree that it was Nate's responsibility to completely read the question.  However, he does better if it is laid out in a format like the one pictured above where each part of the question is listed.  He is less likely to miss a part if it is separate from the whole.  Perhaps a revision of the student manual could have all of the questions be written in the same format.

We conducted some of the experiments at the end of each unit.  I had the instructions, and Nate was to rewrite the experiment on his lab sheet.  Again, I felt I had to be too involved and he wasn't given enough independence.  When I asked Nate how he liked the program, he said it was boring and that there weren't enough activities.  There were also a lot of supplies needed for the experiments, things I didn't keep on hand in my house.  Science for High School has a partial answer for that, though.

The cost of the products I received - the Student Manual, Teacher Guide, and Quizzes/Final Exams - is $79.99.  A lab kit is available individually for $45.00.  If you know that you want to purchase both, they are available as a set for $110.00.  The lab kit still does not have a lot of items you will need to conduct the experiments like batteries, an old computer (for obvious reasons, but who has an old one of these sitting around), dry ice (where do you even buy this?), a hot air popcorn machine, a Slinky, etc.  There will be a lot of experiments you either don't do or find an alternate one online somewhere for the same topic.

The curriculum sold by Science for High School - High School Chemistry, ...Physical Science, ...Biology - state they are for high school, but they can easily be done by a middle schooler.  A high schooler may have be able to research more efficiently than a middle schooler, but the concepts presented are not too difficult for a student who may be in 7th or 8th grade.

Perhaps I am too much a product of tradition.  I like textbooks for science, at least a textbook-like presentation (it could be on the computer).  I want my child to be taught, not left on his own to try to figure it out.  Yes, we go over the answers, but I know he likes to have a direction, to have a guide.  He will learn just as much, if not more, by being taught a concept and then performing hands-on experiments to reinforce that concept.  I suppose, though, it will depend on the learning style of your child as to whether or not this type of curriculum will work for you.  It didn't work for us, unfortunately.


 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

No comments:

Post a Comment