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Survey of Science History and Concepts Review by Debbie Lott

John Hudson Tiner
Master Books
1 (870) 438-5288
P.O. Box 726
Green Forrest, AR 72638

Survey of Science History and Concepts is a science survey course intended for use in grades 10-12. It includes five books:

  • Exploring the World of Mathematics
  • Exploring the World of Chemistry
  • Exploring the World of Physics
  • Exploring the World of Biology
  • Parent Lesson Planner

Each of the four texts is about 150 pages and covers a topic of science from a historical perspective. Topics are generally presented in the chronological order in which they were discovered and the lives and motivations of the scientists are discussed in the text along with the science concepts. The Parent Lesson Planner includes a year-long lesson plan for the course with boxes for due dates, check-off boxes for completion, and a box for recording grades for each assignment. Also included are one review worksheet for each chapter, quizzes, tests, and an answer key. The pages are three hole punched and perforated, making it very easy to separate the pages into parent and student binders, or to remove pages after they have been completed for inclusion in a portfolio. The retail price for the set is $76.95.

This science curriculum is very easy to use. The daily schedule is laid out in the Parent Lesson Planner, enabling the student to work independently, checking off each assignment as it is completed. Three or four assignments are scheduled for each week, making the course ideal for use in families who participate in co-op or other weekly activities. Generally one chapter (6-8 pages) is assigned on one day, and then the corresponding review worksheet is assigned on the next. The texts are lavishly illustrated with black and white drawings.

My 10th grade daughter has been using this curriculum for a few weeks. She started with Exploring the World of Mathematics, which covers the practical application of mathematics—the development of the modern calendar, inventions of timepieces through history, systems of measurement, number patterns, and applied mathematics. Throughout the book, the student learns how the science of mathematics was developed because of need in the real world.  She also completed a few lessons in Exploring the World of Physics. The first few lessons in this volume teach the laws of motion and the discoveries of Aristotle, Galileo, and Newton. The questions for each lesson include both comprehension questions on the content and application questions that require the student to apply formulas and mathematics to solve real life problems. My student told me that she found the text very interesting and that the worksheets were “easy,” but were effective in helping her remember the material. She has been completing each worksheet the same day she reads the corresponding lesson, so at that pace, she would actually complete the course in a semester instead of taking a full year. She has asked to continue using the series this coming year.

The other volumes are similar, focusing on history and the practical application of chemistry and biology.

Although it is a one-credit course for grades 10-12, I think Survey of Science History and Concepts would be very useable for grades 7-9. Each of the books (biology, chemistry, and physics) provides a nice overview of the topic, but I think the course might be difficult to fit into a traditional course of study for high school science, with generally includes a year each of biology, chemistry, and/or physics. If your student is following a less traditional sequence, this survey course might fit well. Otherwise, it would be an excellent middle school level introduction to the full courses he or she would take in high school.

No labs are included in Survey of Science History and Concepts, but the Parent Lesson Planner provides a list of suggested resources for students who want to add a lab component.

I think that Survey of Science History and Concepts is an excellent course. The texts are very interesting, explaining concepts well without confusing the reader with difficult vocabulary and technical jargon. While the books could be used on their own, the Parent Lesson Planner pulls them together into an incredibly user-friendly course. I would suggest their use for a motivated middle school student or a high school student who is not looking for a math-heavy and lab-intensive science course. My student is enjoying the series so much that I plan to look at some of Master Books’ other science courses as well.

—Product review by Debbie Lott, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2016