Cathy Duffy Reviews home > Science > Elemental Science Classic Series

Elemental Science Classic Series

Publisher: Elemental Science, Inc.
Author: Paige Hudson
Review last updated: June 2014
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Courses available in the Classic Series
  • Exploring Science
  • Intro to Science
  • Biology for the Grammar Stage
  • Biology for the Logic Stage
  • Earth Science and Astronomy for the Grammar Stage
  • Earth Science and Astronomy for the Logic Stage
  • Chemistry for the Grammar Stage
  • Chemistry for the Logic Stage
  • Physics for the Grammar Stage

Elemental Science Chemistry
for the Grammar Stage

My first impression of Elemental Science's Classic series was that it’s very similar to Noeo Science, one of my Top Picks. (My comparison to Noeo refers primarily to their first two levels since their third level goes into high school.) Like Noeo, the Classic series uses colorful fact books such as encyclopedias from Usborne as spines; they both even use some of the same books. Many Elemental Science courses use more than one spine book such as The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia and DK Encyclopedia of Nature, and they also use some supplemental books including biographies of scientists like Marie Curie’s Search for Radium. Also like Noeo, the Classic series charts out daily lesson plans, drawing upon the resource books for informational content.

You will need to gather resources for science experiments for which instructions are provided in the required resource books. While resources required for the Classic series are not very difficult to find, you might want to purchase their experiment kits that save you the trouble of hunting down items like the aquarium tubing, large suction cups, and instant read thermometer used for Biology for the Grammar Stage.

Both programs are designed with the trivium “stages” in mind. Both also draw upon Charlotte Mason, using narration and sketching along with the other learning activities. The Classic series requires much more written work than does Noeo. It also includes quizzes, reviews, and tests, although these are optional. It has students write definitions for vocabulary words on the Unit Vocabulary Sheets, write outlines or narrative summaries of their reading, write complete lab records and reports, and make timeline entries. Of course, you can adapt how much writing each student is required to do.

Each course in the Classic series has both a teacher guide and a student book. At “grammar” levels, the student book is a workbook with custom-designed forms and pages for each lesson that are used primarily for recording information. Some illustrations on pages at the back are to be cut and pasted onto the recording pages.

At the “logic” level, student guides expect students to be much more self-directed so they include the lesson plans along with recording pages. At this level, there are also some pre-drawn but unlabeled drawings for students to complete. Courses for the logic level direct students to work on a science fair project of their choice during one unit.

Teacher guides for all levels include answers keys; scheduling options for either two days or five days per week; and “Want More?” sections with additional suggestions for reading, internet research, activities, and experiments. Teacher guides for the logic level add more information and explanation for experiments as well as discussion questions (and possible answers).

Classic courses were each written to target a span of two grade levels, but tips are included for stretching each course to suit a wider age range, often using alternative spine books and adapting the amount of writing required.

The seven courses and their targeted grade levels are:

Biology for the Grammar Stage - grades 1-2
Biology for the Logic Stage - grades 5-6
Earth Science and Astronomy for the Grammar Stage - grades 2-3
Earth Science and Astronomy for the Logic Stage - grades 6-7
Chemistry for the Grammar Stage - grades 3-4
Chemistry for the Logic Stage - grades 7-8
Physics for the Grammar Stage - grades 4-5

Optional coloring pages and lapbooking plans with templates that coordinate with some of the courses are also available.

For younger learners, Exploring Science (for K4 and K5) and Intro to Science (for grades K-1) are similar in approach to courses for older students although they use much more discussion, drawing, coloring, and “science play” and much less writing than do the upper grade levels. Rather than using fact books as spines, brief teaching information is included in the teacher guides. For Exploring Science, the book Science Play is the source of experiments, and many library books are used as resources throughout all of the lessons. Intro to Science uses The Handbook of Nature Study and experiments from More Mudpies and Magnets along with additional library books. You could easily use these two courses with students up through second grade for introductory science.

The program is presented from a secular perspective. While there is no direct teaching on evolution or religious questions in the teacher guides or student books aside from an optional lesson on the big bang in Earth Science and Astronomy for the Logic Level, required resources reflect evolutionary assumptions. You can read more about their perspective on Elemental Science’s FAQ page.

While Noeo and the Classic series are similar in many ways, it seems that this series is closer to the classical approach described in The Well-Trained Mind while Noeo leans more toward Charlotte Mason methodology. Reflecting that difference, there is more emphasis on written work, acquisition of facts, and testing in the Classic series than in Noeo. In addition, the Classic series makes “notebook” creation easier by providing the separate student books with much of the work already done for you and requiring no reproduction or printing of worksheets (if you purchase print editions).


Courses for all levels are available in printed or ebook formats with significant savings on ebooks.
Prices for combos of teacher and student books:
Ebooks: $15.50 - $25.50
Print editions: $26.98 - $40.99
Experiment kits: $45 - $65 each

  • All prices are provided for comparison only and are subject to change. Click on prices to verify their accuracy.
  • Instant Key

    • Suitable for: group/family or one-on-one work
      Audience: grades K5 - 8
      Need for parent/teacher instruction: high at youngest levels and much lower at upper levels
      Prep time needed: moderate to high
      Teacher's manual: essential
      Educational philosophy: classical and Charlotte Mason
      Religious perspective: secular

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