Science: Matter and Energy is A Beka's ninth-grade physical science course. It teaches chemistry and physics at a challenging level, including algebraic math applications. The course’s 16 chapters are equally divided into four units titled, “Matter and Motion,” “Energy and Waves,” “Electricity and Magnetism,” and “Chemistry.” The unit on electricity and magnetism includes an entire chapter on electronics, including computers. This text was published in 2019. Given that it covers some topics where information rapidly advances, it’s fairly up to date as I write this review in 2020.
Chapters are divided into sections, with each section focused on a narrower topic. At the end of each section are “Section Review” questions. These include two types of questions: Concept Review and Application.
At the end of each chapter is a Chapter Review that helps prepare students for a chapter test. They are given lists of words and terms to define and phrases to identify (e.g., “three main types of chemical bonds” and “term for a solid substance that comes out of solution” (p. 352). The glossary at the back of the book should be helpful for the definitions and possibly for the terms to identify. Questions in the Chapter Review are presented under the headings of Explain, Apply, and Problems. Students will generally encounter math problems in the Application questions of the Section Reviews and in the Problems sections in the Chapter Review. Students will encounter questions such as this one on page 88: “If the large piston of a hydraulic press has an area of 500cm2, what will be the total force upon it if a pressure of 100,000 Pa is produced by the small piston?” Students are allowed to use calculators for this course.
Feature articles appear from time to time under the headings “A Closer Look” and “Science and Creation.” While there are many A Closer Look articles, there are very view Science and Creation articles. A Closer Look articles highlight interesting science topics like “Magnetic Stripes” and “Micromachines,” and some of them highlight famous scientists who were Christians such as Blaise Pascal and Robert Boyle. Science and Creation articles such as “Air Pressure and Breathing” and “Greenhouses and Atmospheric Heating” discuss points of science while pointing to God as the Creator.
The two-volume teacher edition for the textbook is essential for those teaching the course. The teacher edition has reduced images of the student pages that are readable. These images are surrounded by the teaching information and answer keys. The teaching information includes oral reading quizzes with their correct answers.
The teacher edition explains some other elements of the course. Students are supposed to find a science-related news article every week, write a summary and evaluation, of the article, and give a brief oral report. The articles can also be used for discussion.
The scheduling information in the teacher edition is very useful since it shows how to coordinate the labs and the STEM Project (described below) with other course content.
There are separate quiz and test books for this course, and there are separate answer keys for the quiz book and the test book.
This course has a separate Science: Matter and Energy Laboratory Manual with its own teacher edition. The lab manual presents eight or nine experiments for each of the four units. The entire course was written for the traditional classroom, so the lab manual assumes the existence of a complete lab. The back of the teacher edition for the lab manual has extensive lists of the equipment and resources required for the labs. Home Science Tools sells a Lab Kit for use with Abeka Science Grade 9 - SKU: AB-KIT09, but this is for the first edition of the textbook. A Beka tells me that they did change a number of the labs for the second edition, so this kit might not be compatible. Home Science Tools should soon have a similar kit for the second edition. The first edition kit includes almost everything you will need to be able to do the labs at home or in a co-op, although you will need multiple kits for a co-op, and a revised kit should be very similar. The kit is expensive, but it is probably the most practical option for homeschoolers.
There is a STEM project that students are supposed to complete as part of this course. (While A Beka requires students to complete the project in their courses for enrolled students, there is plenty of content in the textbook, and it seems to me that it can be optional.) If you choose to have students complete the STEM project, they will work on it for three quarters of the school year along with their other work. The STEM project has students develop a design or an application, or else investigate a topic related to science technology, engineering, or math. There is a STEM Project Guide for the student and a STEM Project Guide Teacher Key with a load of information for the teacher.
Science: Matter and Energy will prepare students well for future chemistry and physics courses since it covers some of the same material students will encounter at the beginning of each of those courses. The serious lab work in this course also prepares students for subsequent lab courses. Science: Matter and Energy is challenging and will probably work best if the parent or teacher is familiar with the subject and can assist students with difficult concepts and math applications.