Exploring Creation with Marine Biology ($85 as a set with the Solutions and Tests Guide) continues Apologia's excellent series of science textbooks for high school students. It was written by Sherri Seligson, a marine biologist with a love of the ocean and "a very motivated heart for teaching students the importance of studying God's creation and equipping them to give an answer for their faith." She also happens to be a homeschooling mom with much experience in the field of marine biology. Students who have completed a high school biology course can explore the depths of the ocean, including the incredible diversity of life found there, the many habitats, life cycles, and man's relationship with the sea. The course is written in the same conversational, easy-to-understand, but very thorough style that has made Apologia's materials so popular with homeschooling families. Exploring Creation with Marine Biology can be completed independently by the student, who has access to assistance from Apologia by phone, Internet, mail, email, or fax to answer any questions about the material.
So what can your child expect to learn from this course? The materials are broken down into 16 modules, expected to take approximately two weeks each to complete. The following topics are covered:
Each module has several types of problems to solve, such as "On Your Own" problems (with the answers in the textbook) and a Study Guide and a Module Summary (with the answers in the Solutions and Test Manual). There are also four quarterly tests and a module test for each module in the Solutions and Test Manual. The textbook includes many labs, which fall into three categories. Household labs can be done with common household objects and should be done by all students. The optional microscope labs require a microscope as well as the slide kit (not part of this review but available from Nature's Workshop Plus through the Apologia website). Dissection labs require the kit available through Apologia (not part of this review) and are also optional. I believe all three types of labs would provide a greater depth of understanding for this interesting topic, but each family needs to evaluate the needs of their particular situation and children.
- The Oceans of Our Planet
- Life in the Sea
- The First Four Kingdoms
- Marine Invertebrates (two modules)
- Marine Vertebrates (two modules)
- Marine Ecology
- The Intertidal Zone
- Estuary Communities
- Coral Reefs
- Continental Shelf Communities
- The Epipelagic Zone
- The Deep Ocean
- Ocean Resources
- Effects of Humans on the Sea
With all of this in mind, what did we think of the course? We all found the topic fascinating, the materials understandable and interesting, and the organization helpful. In my opinion, the materials are not necessarily more advanced than a typical high school biology course, making the class accessible to students who do not necessarily want to study science in college but do want to learn more about marine biology. The depth of material seemed very appropriate for the topic and level. Students would likely walk away with not only much important knowledge about marine biology but also, because of the Christian focus, a deeper appreciation for God's handiwork. We loved the bright, colorful diagrams and pictures, which helped to bring the text to life. The entire course is available on CD or in textbook format, but the CD (not reviewed) also includes pronunciations of difficult words and videos of many of the sea creatures discussed and labs that would be difficult to replicate at home. There is also a supplemental CD available (not reviewed) that does not contain the text, but does have the pronunciations and videos.
What a joy that Apologia has produced such excellent materials, designed specifically for homeschoolers, that can be done independently and that consistently point students back to the Creator!