Elemental Science Classic Series
|Publisher: Elemental Science, Inc.
Author: Paige Hudson
Review last updated: November 2012
|Instant KeyPublishers InfoPricing|
Courses available in the Classic Series
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 courses use more than one spine book 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.
While Noeo also incorporates experiment kits from the Young Scientists Club, both programs require you 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 (available for only a few courses thus far) 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 students is actually 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 six courses available thus far and their targeted grade levels are:
Biologyfor 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
Physics for the Grammar Stage- grades 4-5
Chemistry for grades 7-8 and Physics for grades 7-8 are both in the works.
Optional lapbooking plans and 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 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 http://elementalscience.com/faq.html.
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 - $25
Print editions: $25.98 - $39.99 (includes media mail shipping)
- 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
Elemental Science, Inc.
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