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God's Design Science

Publisher: Answers in Genesis
Author: Debbie and Richard Lawrence
Review last updated: November 2014

This is one of my 102 Top Picks!

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God's Design Science

See the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

When I first reviewed the original editions of the God’s Design science series for grades 1 through 8, I was not very excited about them. However, the third editions (2008-2009) were totally redesigned with significant content improvements, resulting in an outstanding program.

There are four groups of books within the series. There are three textbooks in each group with a teacher supplement for each text that includes a resource CD-ROM with all of the printables, tests, and quizzes.

Titles for each of the four groups are:
Life: The Human Body, The World of Plants, The World of Animals
Heaven and Earth: Our Planet Earth, Our Weather and Water, Our Universe
Chemistry and Ecology: Properties of Matter, Properties of Atoms and Molecules, Properties of Ecosystems
Physical World: Heat and Energy, Machines and Motion, Inventions and Technology

You can purchase the books in sets for each group—the three texts plus the three teacher supplements or as a complete set of all the books.

There are a number of features that set these books apart. First, the books are ungraded—both “Life” and “Heaven and Earth” groups are designated for the entire range of grades 1 through 8 while “Chemistry and Ecology” and “Physical World” groups narrow to grades 3 through 8. If your children are in the early elementary grades, you should start with either of the first two series, saving the latter two for the upper elementary grades or junior high.

According to the authors, you might complete any of the groups of three texts in a single school year. With three books per group, you would complete three lessons per week, spending about 20 minutes per lesson for younger students and 45 minutes per lesson for older students. The books are approximately 150 pages each, so I would recommend to families with younger children that they take their time and use only one or two books per year, allowing time for further exploration when they hit topics of particular interest.

Each of the 12 student textbooks has a teacher supplement book with a CD-ROM that serves as the teacher guide and answer key. The philosophical and theological information at the front of the supplement—a must read for teachers—is critical for understanding the unique perspective and design of these textbooks. The CD-ROM contains PDF files with worksheets for some of the lessons—some are required as part of the expanded activities for older students. Many of these are data recording sheets or other means of recording observations....

Brief teaching instructions are also found at the beginning of each textbook. They point out the color coding system used to indicate lessons and activities targeted for younger and older students....

The books in this series all reflect a Christian worldview, including a young-earth view of creation. Contrasts are made between evolution and creationist views when pertinent to the topic, especially in the texts related to life science and earth science.

Hands-on experiments and activities are built into every lesson....

Activities are followed by a “What did we learn?” section. These are just a few key questions for the teacher to ask to ensure that students understand the main points of the lesson. Suggested answers are provided in the teacher supplement.

Next is a “Taking it further” section with questions that will help children extend their thinking to draw some conclusions or make additional connections or applications....
At the end of each book is a unit final project....

Textbooks are printed in full-color with numerous, high-quality illustrations and excellent graphics....

These features make this series a practical choice for Christian homeschooling families as well as for classroom teachers in Christian schools. However, there are a few issues that you might want to consider as you use this series.

Textbooks are written to address a very wide age span. Even with the delineation of sections appropriate for older and younger students which help a great deal, I have some concerns. Many sections of text are dense with new vocabulary. Even following the guidelines of which material to use with each age group, you might find that some children will have a hard time just listening to and absorbing so much detail....Sometimes you might need to explain lesson material so that students can grasp concepts.

As I read through some of the lessons, I thought that I would very likely use the experiments and activities as the basis from which I would present the lesson information rather than presenting information first. If younger children can see and touch things as they are learning they will be able to understand better than if they are listening to what (to them) sounds like abstract information....

Overall, I like this combination of information with experiments and activities plus questions to ensure understanding. The variety of activities effectively reaches children with different learning styles.


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    Instant Key

    • Learning Styles: likely best for Sociable Sue and Perfect Paula but might also be good for Wiggly Willy if you don't present too much information at once
      Suitable for:  group or one-on-one
      grades 1-8
      Need for parent/teacher instruction: 
      Prep time needed:
      moderate to high depending how you use the books
      Need for Teacher's Manual: essential
      Religious perspective:
      Christian (Protestant)

    Publisher's Info