Elementary Zoology, a course created by Master Books, uses five resources along with the Elementary Zoology Parent Lesson Planner (PLP). The five resources are three books, God's Big Book of Animals, How Many Animals Were on the Ark?: Understanding the Animal Kinds, and Dinosaur Activity Book, plus two kits, Complete Aquarium Adventure and Complete Zoo Adventure. Every one of these resources is useful on its own as well. You can read my separate review of the Complete Adventure series, and I provide some details for the Dinosaur Activity Book below.
The PLP for this course pulls these resources together using God's Big Book of Animals as a spine running through the entire course. Worksheets, quizzes, and a final exam are all based on that book, with other resources providing a wide variety of activities and learning experiences to enhance and expand what students learn in God's Big Book of Animals. Most learning will involve reading aloud from the resources.
The course was designed for grades four through six, but some third graders might be able to participate in the activities. It can be used by a family or by a group class. The PLP grants permission to reproduce for your family or for a class of up to ten students. (Check with Master Books regarding a larger class group.)
The PLP has brief instructions at the beginning of the book. The bulk of the PLP consists of reproducible worksheets to be used with the other resources. Students will complete a worksheet per day Mondays through Thursdays, and they will complete an activity page in the Dinosaur Activity Book on most Fridays. Reproducible quizzes and their answer keys are at the back of the PLP.
The PLP also has eight pages of charts showing a suggested schedule with daily lessons for four quarters with nine weeks per quarter. While you can use the course while skipping the field trips, the field trips are likely to be great fun as well as capstone experiences that bring to life all of the information from the books. You might need to rearrange the course schedule to work around the timing for field trips so plan ahead as best you can.
The entire course is premised on belief in God as Creator. All of the resources advance a Christian worldview, including belief in a young earth.
The Elementary Zoology curriculum set includes all six items, but you may purchase each item individually as well.
This course makes it easy to pull together real books and field trips into a solid science course that children should love.
Dinosaur Activity Book
The Dinosaur Activity Book feels like a coloring book with its newsprint pages. But it combines text with illustrations, coloring pages, dot-to-dots, mazes, puzzles, and cut-and-paste activities such as creating a flying Pteranodon marionette. The information in this book strongly supports a young-earth, creationist viewpoint, sometimes a bit heavy-handedly. While much of the information should be understandable for fourth through sixth graders, sometimes it seems over their heads. A section differentiating two groups of dinosaurs by hip bone structures on page 67 would be one example since it uses too many unfamiliar vocabulary words for young students. However, this page is important since the next page discusses an argument against the evolution of dinosaurs into birds based on hip structures. Although some of the information might seem a bit above grade level, dot-to-dots and many of the activities are likely to appeal to a younger audience. While all of the pages of the book are assigned in the PLP, I would suggest applying your own discretion as to which pages to use.