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The Electrifying Nervous System Review by Christy SchaeferLainna Callentine
3142 Highway 103N
Green Forest, AR, 72638
The Electrifying Nervous System, by Lainna Callentine, is part of a new human body themed series, God's Wondrous Machine. It is a beautiful hardback book with full color glossy pages all about how the human nervous system works. The pages contain stunning illustrations, photos, and fact boxes which makes the content easy for the targeted elementary age students to understand. This is definitely more of an encyclopedia than a textbook.
After an introduction, the book begins with three vocabulary lists for varying ages of readers, followed by pages of alphabetical definitions of those vocabulary words with their proper pronunciation included. Up next are the instructional chapters that start with how the brain and nervous system have been studied historically. The book continues on to cover brain and nervous system basics, the physiology of the nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, health facts, and finally a chapter of unusual facts. Throughout the book are also “Know it All” fact blurbs that provide additional and interesting details for the current topic.
The material in this book is presented through diverse methods in small sections which keeps the reader's interest. The illustrations and graphics provide much of the phenomenal amount of information packed into this 78 page book. The visual presentations, mixed with text, not only appeal to various learning methods, but also easily connect various fields of study, like history, sociology, and psychology. All of this for just a $15.99 retail price.
Although the publisher encourages the use of The Electrifying Nervous System with middle and upper elementary students, my seventh grade daughter found the book to be a great resource for learning about her own malfunctioning nervous system. It did only take her a couple of sessions to read through the entire book, but she reported it to be a fun way to learn about the human body, especially with all the off-beat facts included. My daughter normally is not fond of biological science, but the diagrams and images along with smaller paragraphs kept her interest alive throughout the entire book and assisted her in retaining what she read without any further assignments.
While The Electrifying Nervous System can clearly be used as a supplemental science resource, the book's introductory pages assume the reader also has the separately available curriculum guide which the publisher says makes it possible to turn this book into a unit study or full curriculum. It's immensely helpful when publishers provide upfront explanations of how to get the most from an encyclopedia book, but these particular instructions were confusing since they addressed the use of their guide as if all readers will have access to it, which we did not.
Although I can't vouch for the usefulness of the separate curriculum guide, I can attest that it will be a good deal of work on the instructor's part to turn the book into a stand-alone curriculum. The benefits of this truly magnificent book would greatly increase with the inclusion of even a small unit study guide as an appendix.
Still, we found The Electrifying Nervous System to be a high quality and engaging book perfect for use as a supplemental biology resource for students from middle elementary age all the way through middle school.
-Product Review by Christy Schaefer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2015