Monday, January 31, 2011

THE EARTH: Its Structure and Its Changes Review

Geology Curriculum for Homeschoolers
Elementary Geology Curriculum

When I learned I'd be reviewing The Earth:  Its Structure and Its Changes, I was very excited.  Some people study art, watch a movie or go shopping for fun.   Me, I like reading Geology texts aimed at elementary-middle school students.  Now, before you go thinking I have no social life, let me tell you that there are very few texts for this age range.  The reasoning for this is because many educators believe that children just aren't capable of that degree of in-depth study on one particular area of science.  So, for the most part, we get little blips of science information introduced in general science books at about 3rd grade.  A couple of extra lines of information are added to each grade level texts until High School.

Most homeschoolers will tell you that when information is given with a clear, enjoyable presentation and students are allowed ample time to explore, the child becomes enthralled.  This makes it  easy to go deep into learning that particular subject.

From their website:
The Earth: Its Structure & Its Changes is a study of the fascinating world of geology. With explanations of how our Earth was shaped, this elementary science curriculum gives evidence to the Genesis Flood, accompanying earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other powerful processes. Students will explore 20 “investigations” through experiments and a very specific learning progression.
The Investigate the Possibilities learning progression:
Engage - Students make a note of what they know or have experienced about the topic.
Investigate - Students will follow the instructions and make observations of what happens.
Explain - Students will begin to understand the science behind what they observed in the investigation.
Apply - Here, the understanding of the investigation is related to other situations and ideas.
Expand -Each investigation also includes a few “Dig Deeper” projects to further understanding.
Assess - Students explain what they have learned.

Students will examine natural occurrences such as mountains, volcanoes, rocks, minerals, crystals, water, and dirt (just to name a few). By using household items such as hard boiled eggs, oranges, measuring cups, maps, clay and markers, these scientific truths will come to life.

This title contains a full circle view of geology, creation, and history. All three of these topics are combined to create the big picture for your student and develop a stronger root in their faith. Also available is the combined teacher’s guide and student journal.
While geology is at the heart of this newest book in the Investigate the Possibilities series, other titles within this series include: Forces & Motion, Matter, and Energy. These are perfect for elementary education, grades 3rd-6th.

Authors Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves are committed biblical creationists with a combined 60 years teaching science. Both are excellent at helping students experience science concepts in the world around them.

I found the material well presented with many colorful and interesting illustrations and pictures.  I love the depth that the authors go into regarding plate tectonics, mountain building (folding and faulting), topography and also showing the six crystal groups.  This is the first 'younger' text that I've seen the crystal groups shown.  These groups, which plainly and easily show the student in the most intricate manner, God's orderly hand in Creation.

The experiments are interesting and easily reproducible- most items are found in the home.  I thought that using a hard-boiled egg for the plate tectonics demonstration was very unique!

The Teacher's Guide and Student Journal is a nicely done resource filled with pages for the student to complete and dig deeper.  The Teacher's portion contains the answers to the questions and educational extras to help YOU dig deeper too!

There were some things that I didn't like or that left me scratching my head.  The authors make  a point in the Teacher's Notes not to dwell on teaching the differences between rocks and minerals - and that they are used interchangeable in nature.  I disagree!  Minerals are the building blocks of the Earth and should be correctly taught as such from the get go.  Simply put, not stressing the differences between rocks and minerals is like saying chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookies are one and the same.

Also in this text, Moh's Hardness Scale and streak are applied to the classification of rocks.  Moh's Hardness scale was created as a means to determine hardness in minerals in order to classify them correctly.  It's impossible to perform a hardness test on a rock.  For example, take Granite.  It is made up of the minerals Mica, Quartz and Feldspar.  If you could find a Mica crystal large enough to perform a hardness test, you'd see that part of the rock is soft.  If you test the quartz, you'd see that part of the rock was hard.  Thus, you'd get two different hardness results and no clear answer.  Once you learn how to identify the minerals, identifying rocks comes easier.

Streak is the color left behind when a mineral is rubbed onto a white ceramic plate or paper.  This test was also created to identify minerals.

While I like the other sections of the text because it is the most in depth Earth Science text for this age group I've seen to date, I will be removing Chapters 10-13 when I use it with my family.

I received this item free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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