This year my daughter and her friend have been using Apologia Biology. I can’t believe we are finished with the first semester already! Here are some of the highlights:
1. Using a quality microscope.
This has made a huge difference in our studies! We personally own a kid-quality microscope–meaning it is more of a toy than a scientific instrument. We have been able to borrow a quality microscope for this class and it is awesome! The girls have loved preparing slides and viewing already prepared slides. It has helped them believe that what the book is trying to tell them is true because they can see it with their own eyes. Marci from The Homeschool Scientist gives a great over-view on what to look for when choosing a microscope. I have a high-quality LED microscope on my wish-list (cough, cough: this one or this one would do )
2. Learning About Plants.
This fall we skipped ahead to modules 14 and 15. The girls had an opportunity to help catalog plants at our local university’s greenhouse. They did this job weekly for several months. Since they were working with plants, it just made sense to be studying them at the same time. They both completed their leaf collection which they had a blast going on walks trying to find leaf specimens. They used an iPod to help keep track of the bark texture and pattern, leaf structure, and tree. Then they printed all these photos and included them with the actual leaf.
3. Labs and Extra Projects.
The girls’ favorite lab was viewing the pond water after it had sat for weeks. Ok, it really wasn’t their favorite because it SMELLED horrible, but they did think it was cool to be able to see living organisms under a microscope. 🙂
We also did some extra projects like creating an edible cell for module 6. This was a fun, hands-on way to learn the parts of a cell. Module 6 has a ton of vocabulary, so I wanted to include multiple ways for them to practice it.
To help the girls understand module 9, we watched The Mysterious Islands by Vision Forum. “For the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th of his seminal work, On the Origin of Species, Doug Phillips leads a team of Christian scientists and investigators to this “ground zero” in the war of the worldviews.”
4. Field Trips.
Besides working at the greenhouse, the girls visited an aquaponphics farm.
Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.
This particular farm raised yellow perch. It was a unique opportunity to see such a different environment.
We’ll be taking a little break and then gearing up for next semester near the end of January. Connie from The Daisyhead is blogging about her biology co-op experience this year too. Be sure to follow along and link up to her weekly High School link-up.
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