Product Reviews - The Old Schoolhouse


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Exploring the Building Blocks of Science, Book 4 Set Review by Jodi Galland

Rebecca W. Keller, PhD
Real Science-4-Kids
Gravitas Publications, Inc.
(505) 266-2761
PO Box 40631
Albuquerque, NM 87196

The Exploring the Building Blocks of Science series from Real Science-4-Kids is a thorough spiral learning program with plenty of hands on activities. Building Blocks book bundles are available for each grade, 1st-8th, ensuring a solid foundation for high school science. A Kindergarten Activity Book will get your family started off right. Real Science-4-Kids is worldview neutral, meaning that it doesn't teach evolution, creationism, or intelligent design. Any family can feel good about using Exploring the Building Blocks of Science for their complete science curriculum.

Five main science topics are covered; chemistry, biology, physics, geology, and astronomy. Each topic is covered in four chapters with additional introductory and conclusion chapters to introduce and wrap up the complete book.

These are the items included in the 4th grade set:

Teacher's Manual
Student Textbook
Laboratory Notebook
Downloadable quizzes and lesson plan

The Teacher's Manual is a 72 page softcover book. It contains a list of everything you'll need for each experiment. Most of these items can be easily found in your home or at the local store. Suggested kits (which include butterfly, robot, and renewable energy kits) and other items are listed there as well. This unscripted manual will guide you through each section of the Laboratory Notebook for each experiment. There are 44 experiments, two in each chapter.

Within the colorfully illustrated Student Textbook (200 pages), your child will read a conveniently sub-categorized chapter loaded with information and followed by a brief summary. I may have even learned some new details. Admittedly, I'm not much of a student of the sciences. The photographs and fun drawings are an amazing tool for visual learners to help with retaining the details of the lessons.

Our favorite resource was the Laboratory Notebook. Every experiment is broken down into these five sections; Think About It, Observe It, What Did You Discover?, Why?, and Just For Fun. Experiments may take up to an hour, though I found with the writing involved, it did take us longer. Hands on learners will love this paperback book with over 200 pages. Downloadable quizzes are available for two midterms (one for each half of the year) as well as a final exam.

Most of the in-depth science courses my family has used are mastery based, so while this was very different for us, we really enjoyed it. I have to keep these science-minded boys of mine busy. Hands on activities are the clincher for all science curricula we use and The Building Blocks of Science has that covered. I've added it to my short list of sciences for next year and beyond.

Here, taking apart old cell phones and other electronics was the favorite experiment. I have a couple of very curious boys. We did discover the hard way that tamper resistant screws are, well, tamper resistant, but with determination and a flat head screwdriver, I was able to spill the contents and the secrets of the phone. We still talk about that lesson. Many other lessons are just as enticing and unforgettable. Investigate science using Exploring the Building Blocks of Science with your family. Creating family memories of all of the fun lab activities will almost make them forget they are learning!

—Product review by Jodi Galland, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2016