(Although I was compensated for my time on this post, my opinions here are honest- whether positive or not. I always strive for honesty and I’m never required nor coerced into posting a positive review.)
I was introduced to By Design Science for grades 1-8 and was pleased to have the opportunity to try their science materials. We love science experiments, kits, and books we pull off the shelves of our local library to support us in learning as much as we can, but it’s nice to see a package already put together for parents. Because this was a faith based inquiry science approach, I just had to take a look, review it, and share my findings with you all.
A new faith-based approach to science
The very first thing I noticed about Kendall Hunt Religious Publishers’ materials is their obviously biblical-centered approach to teaching kids science. It’s basically “the study of science through the lens of the bible”, as quoted from their website. I personally prefer a faith-based view of science for my younger kid especially, so this was a plus for me and I definitely wanted to give it a try.
If you’ve been looking for a faith-based science curriculum for younger kids, you might want to take a look at By Design Science for grades 1-8. (I also have to disclose that the curriculum promotes a Seventh Day Adventist worldview, but I also didn’t see any issue in integrating this material into our homeschool though we are not Adventist. In other words, the general biblical view overshadowed any denominational tendencies within the curriculum and we were able to fit it quite well into our daily studies without a problem.)
One of the key benefits of this particular science curriculum that Kendall Hunt Religious Publishers claims is that it helps kids explore the wonderment of God’s creation. Again, if you are looking for a systematic science approach that is particularly faith-based, it may be worth your time to look into this.
There are several things about By Design Science for grades 1-8 that perked my interest, one of which has to do with the approach to science. A lot of what we’ve done in our homeschool recently has been “science in a kit” experiments: explosions, slime, and the like. Lovely, fun stuff which we definitely have a lifelong commitment to. But I wanted to try something a bit more systematic that allows for inquiry approach.
An inquiry approach to science
An inquiry approach means that students have an opportunity to ask open-ended questions, investigate problems and creatively discover ideas and solutions based on their observations and questions. In By Design Science for grades 1-8, a five-step instructional model is used which I really think can be quite helpful for busy homeschool moms looking for ways to further deepen our kids’ knowledge of the sciences.
In this inquiry approach, lessons will help students and parents to engage, discover, explain, extend, and reflect. Engaging my daughter is a crucial step since I always find it helpful to know at which point my my student is starting from so that I can capture her interest and build upon it. Then I help her to discover through hands on activities, making good use of the scientific method. Plenty of opportunity for discovery of the sciences is available for each lesson.
I also like it when my daughter interacts with me by wrestling through a topic. I gauge her understanding of content based on her ability to explain the processes and the information to me using her own words. One thing this curriculum offers that I appreciate is the extension into other subject areas. Science tends to dip into other subject content areas quite naturally such as health and social studies, geography, and even history.
Reflecting upon what was learned is the ultimate test. I feel that if a student can show me or tell me what she’s learned in her own words, she’s learned. This curriculum allows students to complete an activity for evaluation of comprehension of the content. I honestly prefer the “tell me what you learned” approach rather than tests, but they are available in the curriculum package if needed.
Excellent teacher resources
As a parent-teacher I always love resources that make the teaching process smoother for me. Some benefits I see for parents looking for great teacher resources included in a faith-based science program are the following:
- Several science topics (not just one or two) are covered in Kendall Hunt Religious Publishers’ curriculum, including: life science, the human body, earth and space science, and physical science.
- Student workbooks are designed to accompany the text and give your student a chance to engage with what they’ve just learned.
- Icons throughout the textbook help students to navigate different highlighted sections such as: scripture spotlight (reflecting a biblical world view), focus on health, called to serve (missions), and faith connection.
- There are online teacher resources available in addition to lesson support.
- Kits are also available to complete inquiry labs.
Want to go digital? For parents who like online and digital resources, the By Design Science for grades 1-8 also includes an interactive ebook. Included in the ebook are:
- Interactive tools. There are places to type and highlight your notes, bookmark important content, and a search tool to find phrases or words in the text.
- Internet-linked content. The digital material connects to bible resources online such as Bible gateway, an interactive glossary, and even Encyclopedia Brittanica.
- Additional digital resources. Also included are downloadable blacklines of chapter skill builders, chapter tests, lesson support, and pdf files for scoring rubrics.
Other Products by Kendall Hunt Religious Publishers
By Design Science for grades 1-8 isn’t the only product line they produce. You might also want to check out the following:
and you might want to check out their products developed in collaboration with the CFGE (Center for Gifted Education) College of William and Mary in subject areas such as language arts, social studies, and science.