Dr. Jay Wile, author of the popular ‘Exploring Creation with…‘ series (for junior and senior high school students) has set pen to paper again and authored his newest book, Science in the Beginning, the first textbook in a new series aimed at elementary and middle school students (K-6).
As the title suggests, Science in the Beginning focuses on the science at the very beginning of time, the days of creation. The next four books in the series will continue on with the study of science from a historical point-of-view. Science in the Ancient World, the second book in the series, will focus on the scientific discoveries of that time period with the remaining books continuing along the same course. (You can read more about the upcoming books on Dr. Wile’s blog.)
What’s included: Science in the Beginning is a beautiful hardcover, full-color textbook. At just under 300 pages it’s a large book, divided into sections according to the days of creation – six sections with 15 experiments in each (90 lessons total). Depending on how many days per week you want to cover science you can do all the lessons in each section (covering a lesson every other day) or skip the three challenge lessons at the end of each chapter. If you skip the challenge lessons you can finish the book by doing a lesson twice a week.
The textbook includes a list of supplies needed for the experiments (also divided according to section) with the challenge lesson supplies listed in red. A list of supplies that might need to be specifically purchased is also listed at the beginning. You’ll also find a glossary and topical index at the back of the book.
The Helps & Hints book (48 pages), an optional resource, is a soft-cover book that offers a variety of extra materials for parents. The textbook is really all you need but if you want some extra guidance or tests, then you’ll want to add this book. The first part of the book offers some guidelines and detailed explanations for the notebooking section of the main text. The remaining section of the book includes tests for each day of creation (photocopying is allowed) – 2 tests for each section/day of creation. Answer keys are also provided. If you’re unsure about the use of the tests, Dr. Wile suggests that you use the child’s notebook as an evaluation tool instead of using the tests.
Lesson Format: Each lesson follows the same basic outline. There is a section to read (about two pages in length) with an experiment (most often after the introduction) followed by a lesson review. Every lesson has at least two full-color illustrations or photographs.
The experiments are in a blue text box, making them easy to find and noticeably different from the lesson text. So it’s very easy to check the lesson at the beginning of the week (or whenever you are doing your prep. work) and get your supplies ready.
The review section at the end of each lesson is a wonderful addition. Instead of tests and worksheets (though tests are included in the accompanying Helps & Hints book) you are encouraged to use the review section to gauge your child’s understanding of the topic. There are three levels of review, divided by general age guidelines.
The youngest students answer a few questions about the lesson. Older students will keep a science notebook, adding descriptions, explanations, and diagrams. The oldest students will follow the instructions for the older students but also add in more research and analytical thinking on the topic.
Our thoughts: This is really such a beautiful book. The full-color pages and photographs will grab your attention. The text is interesting and easy to read. The experiments fit the topics well and are easy for students to follow, allowing greater independence (especially for older students).
We had such a fun time with this book. TJ and Nick enjoyed working on the experiments together and cuddling on the couch reading the text. TJ really liked doing the experiments – so much that we had to set time limits or we wouldn’t have time for any other work!
I found the variety of information and experiments very nice. Following the divisions of the days of creation, each section is completely different (though they all follow the same basic format). In the first section you’ll learn all about the properties of light. In the fifth you’ll focus on ocean animals and birds. The assortment of topics is very nice, with just enough depth before moving on to a new subject.
Science in the Beginning is available from Berean Builders Publishing. The 2-book set is available for $39 (textbook and Helps & Hints books are also available separately). If you’re interested in exploring the book further, the website linked above has some free samples available (Table of Contents, Text sample, supply list, and scope and sequence).