The Good Science--Process Skills of Science curriculum for kindergarten through 3rd grade consists of two 8½" x 11" spiral-bound books: a Teacher's Guide (499 pages) and a Student Workbook/Manual (198 pages). Interestingly, although the exterior of the books state they are for K-3rd grade, the inside front cover states it is appropriate for Pre-School to 3rd grade. General household items are used for simple experiments, and a Materials List is included in the back of the Teacher's Guide. Most items will likely be in the home, but a few may be harder to come by, particularly by third grade. Things like algae water, culture of daphnia, and a lizard may take some planning to obtain beforehand, hence the inclusion of a list to aid in shopping plans. There is also a list of supply houses at the back of the book. The Teacher's Guide and Student Workbook are the only tools necessary besides regular school supplies and the items for experiments. Each student will need his own Student Workbook, as permission to copy is not included in the program. The course is a good blend of a bit of textbook with hands-on experiments and completion of worksheets to record information.
Good Science is designed to develop "process skills of science" in a format that is easy for both student and teacher to follow. Users will learn to distinguish between good science and faulty science while also learning about the attributes of God. The Student Workbook is divided by level--Preschool to Kindergarten, Level A, Level B, and Level C for physical science and life science. The preschool/kindergarten portions of the workbook include a great little cartoon man, "Little Newton," to provide instructions. The fill-in-the-blanks are generally similar in size, allowing enough room for kids of different ages and writing ability to use the workbook. By using observation, discrimination, and description skills, students will see the attributes of God in creation. A list of attributes with Scripture references is included.
The Teacher's Guide has flexibility built in, as the parent-teacher chooses what objects to use in activities and how far to encourage questions. The instructions are thorough, with helpful photos and objectives clearly listed for each activity. Every section coincides with a section of the same letter in the Student Workbook. In each section of the Teacher's Guide, first objectives are listed clearly in a box. Then a materials list is given, followed by guidelines for the teacher, and then the activities. The teacher guidelines provide details and tips specific to the section and include great ways to expand the learning opportunities. Many experiments are flexible, allowing the parent to choose between blocks or beads (when learning about colors), color cubes or construction paper, or various scents for an odor experiment. This degree of choice is wonderful, particularly for children with special needs or families with a range of ages. As age increases, so does the level of involvement in the activities. The broad age range worked very well for our family, as even our preschooler enjoyed getting into the activities and increasing his vocabulary along the way. Although some families may frown on the use of worksheets, we found the Student Workbook to be a phenomenal way to record observational information. By using the same workbook over the years and working through the different levels within the course, students learn to properly record information when making scientific discovery, and they have the advantage of being able to look back at information previously gathered. We also like the added benefit of being able to compare improvements in printing ability and neatness over the years!
Parental involvement is required, as the student book includes some tasks that are dangerous, such as collecting exhaust fumes from a vehicle. Although the book includes the warning "(HAVE AN ADULT DO THIS!)" it may not be enough for some inquisitive children if left to their own use of the book. We would have greatly preferred that this type of information be in the Teacher's Guide only, not in a workbook used by children. The thoroughness of the course here was a negative, as they even include a picture of the balloon over the exhaust pipe of a car!
The grade levels are divided by letter designation: Preschool/Kindergarten, Level A--first grade, Level B--second grade, and Level C--third grade. We love this kind of division, as children are not consistently bombarded in the Student Workbook with a particular grade level. A 10-year-old special-needs student working at Level A can simply use the course without feeling "special" or "stupid." However, the activities use letter designations as well. Your student could be working Level B, activity D, which we found to be frustrating. I would have preferred a different designation for the activities.
At $55 for the Teacher's Guide and $18 for the Student Workbook, the curriculum is reasonably priced. If you use it over three or four years, the cost would be far less than $25 per year. Because the price drops slightly when you buy additional workbooks, the cost would be even less when using the course for multiple children! Our family felt the price was very reasonable, particularly for science coursework that included a Biblical foundation.
The amount of things to be observed in the world is phenomenal and will excite you and your children for science. The Good
Science curriculum is a beautiful way to teach science to elementary aged children. It presents God's wonderful creation in connection with the attributes of God, and it clearly demonstrates why "God saw that it was good."