Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Looking for Elementary Science {A Big Bible Science Overview}

If you are looking for a slim, colorful, and faith-focused science curriculum for learners ages 5-11, take a peak at the Big Bible Science by Christian Focus - a resource that can be used as a supplement to other curriculum or as the basis of a full semester or year of elementary-level science.

What is Big Bible Science?

Big Bible Science is a 96-page softcover that seeks to help children explore the world around them through a focus on science and how it connects to God's Word. 

It is 
designed for both homeschoolers and classroom teachers and begins with introductory pages that:

  • explain how to make the most of every lesson,
  • describe what components are included in each chapter,
  • offer some safety notes,
  • detail how to keep a science notebook,
  • and list which activities can be done alone, which need one or more partners, and which should only be completed under the supervision of an adult.

After that, are 21 different units which focus on such concepts as:

  • Gravity,
  • Laws of Motion,
  • Friction,
  • Acids and Bases,
  • the Water Cycle,
  • Animal Classification,
  • and, the Human Body.

Within each of these units, there are clearly written objectives, a list of needed materials (all of which you likely already have or can easily obtain), an explanation of a "Big Idea" that ties into a Biblical perspective, various activity ideas (demonstrations, games, and experiments), ideas for how to find examples of the lesson in the world, and "Go Beyond" ideas for challenging advanced students to think and experiment further.

At the end of the book, there are several pages which include mini-biographies of famous scientists, such as Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, and Leonardo DaVinca.

How We Used Big Bible Science

You know that old saying, "Life is what happens when you are making other plans." It seems to be the theme for the season of life I am in. Thus, instead of using Big Bible Science as I imagined I would, by diving into it with my kids at home on a regular basis, I ended up slipping the slim book into our "out-and-about" bag and reading, discussing, and doing some of the activities from the book when waiting for appointments, hanging out before scheduled clubs, classes, and programs, and utilizing time between homeschool commitments and work commitments.

My younger two and I also dipped into the book on our front lawn and in our living room when we were actually at home and able to focus there.

Of course, this is on-the-go and in-between way of use 
Big Bible Science is not the ideal as it does not allow for doing all the experiments and activities in the book, but it is what worked for us right now, and I am glad it did.

We were able to read about and discuss a variety of science topics, try out some of the simplest activities, recall other activities we'd done in previous clubs, classes, and curricula that were similar to ones in 
Big Bible Science (such as dropping balls of different sizes to see which would land first, charging up a balloon with static electricity, creating "lunar craters" by dropping balls in flour, and creating a water cycle model), and review and extend other learning we have done.

In fact, since we've been studying proteins with a group of friends in a twice-a-month large group study, we decided that the human body themed lessons in 
Big Bible Science were perfect to place focus on right now.  So, after appeasing my youngest by reading first about the Urinary System, we backed up and read, discussed, and did select activities in the Nervous System, Muscles, Bones, Respiratory System, Circulatory System, and Digestive System chapters.  

As we did so, I kept thinking how this book would be great for a co-op class and works well with just family, too.

What We Thought

When I asked my children for their thoughts for this review, my 8-year-old said:

I liked the book, because it has lots of activities you could do with movement instead of just writing and reading and doing that type of stuff. 

Part of Experiment 16

Some of what I learned was about blood, muscles, and the urinary system.

The urinary system was the first thing I asked to learn about, because I am weird. I learned that it takes out all the stuff the proteins and our bodies are not using and washes it down tubes where it comes out.

I would not like to read the book on my own, because it has such large print, but I like when Mommy reads it.  I like looking at the illustrations.

I would recommend it to Christian homeschoolers with 6-12 year old kids.

My 11-year-old said:

I enjoyed the Big Bible Science curriculum, because you are not just sitting and doing workbooks. It has activities you can do with someone else or in groups.
I also like how there are lots of pictures and diagrams to make it interesting to look at. 
Something I learned was that muscles only pull. They don't push. 

More of Experiment 16

I would recommend this book for kids my age and younger to use with their parents.

My 13-year-old didn't have much to say, because - if I am to be honest - the cover of the book was a bit juvenile-looking for his taste and he tuned out much of the reading, discussion, and activities his siblings and I did as he worked on other things.  He did comment, however, that there were a lot of topics covered in the book.  So, at least I know he has looked it over and can grab it for a quick grasp/review/overview of basic concepts as he moves on in his own science studies or could use it to teach younger children concepts should the need arise (as may happen since, in the past, he has helped me teach classes for younger homeschoolers in a co-op.)

As for me I thought:

  • The lessons are well-written - easy for younger children to understand with enough "meat" and true "sciency stuff" for older elementary students to get something out of the book.

  • Experiments and activities are plentiful and varied, reaching different learning styles, with some leaning toward the artsy side, some more social/game-like, and others straight up science experiment style
  • The book can flex with family needs - working well for a family that wants to ease into science studies doing one lesson or so a week, for families with an older child that would like an easy-to-read-and-use resource for teaching younger children, or for families with young children that want a stand-alone resource for teaching a broad range of science topics.

So far, I have found
 Big Bible Science to be a sound and well-written, faith-connected Science curriculum that is easy to understand and use.  

The only thing I would like to see in future editions of the book is, perhaps, a new cover to make it more appealing to older kids in a family and a redesign/edits so that there are clear "kid" pages and "teacher" pages, because as the book is designed now, sometimes it seems like it is written and designed for teachers, and, other times, it appears to be written directly to students. This worked for me as I shared the material with my children, but between the large font and the changing style narration, turned my kids off from using the book on their own.

They did like to use it with me, though, and the books is chock full of true science learning, some creative demonstrations and explanations, and plenty of Bible-connection.  So, I still would recommend it even "as is".

Learn More

Christian Focus has been publishing books since the 1970's with the purpose of spreading the Gospel, and, recently, members of the Homeschool Review Crew have had the opportunity to review four titles from their CF4Kids category.  These resources focused on elementary science, bibliographies, or early learning ABC's.  Click on through to read what these families thought of the books.

Read the reviews!

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