By Design: A Science Textbook Review
Overview of a grade 7 Christian Science Textbook
I received a free copy of the 7th grade By Design Christian science textbook and was compensated for my time to create this post. All opinions are mine and I was not required to give a positive review. For more information, please read my disclosure policy.
Are you looking for an engaging science program with tons of experiments? You need to check out By Design! It’s a Christian science textbook developed by Kendall Hunt Religious Publish and the Seventh-Day Adventist NAD Office of Education. The idea behind the curriculum is for children to learn science through guided investigation.
The guided investigation approach of By Design is based on 5 steps. First, you engage the children’s interest after which the kids complete various investigations, or experiments to discover basic scientific ideas. You, the teacher, guide your kids to explain their understanding of these ideas.
As the students’ understand grows, they extend their understanding by applying the content to challenging questions. As you reach the end of the lessons and units, kids assess and reflect upon what they have learned through reviews and tests.
The curriculum uses 3 components to complete these 5 steps. The first is the student textbook, the second is the student science journals, and the third is the teacher’s guide.
The student textbook is where students begin. The textbook and curriculum are well-organized into 4 major units of life science, human body, earth and space, and physical science. Each unit is divided into chapters and each chapter into individual lessons.
Each of the individual lessons begins with a question. For instance, the very first lesson asks the question How Are Living Things Classified? Kids are directed to look outside and note what they see. As they look, they’re directed to contemplate the question of why scientists would even need a system of classification. How would this approach help them?
In addition By Design kicks off with an experiment right off the bat to engage children’s interest asking kids what they think bacteria will look like.
The step of discovery is that of experiments. While the experiments are briefly mentioned and suggested in the textbook, the heart of the step of discovery is in the Student Science Journals. There is one journal to match with each unit of the curriculum.
The beginning experiment of Observing Bacteria is given with explicit instructions in the journal. Kids are given space to draw what they observe and space to write their explanations.
There are plenty of experiments included in the journals. There are four levels of scientific inquiry for the students. The first is directed inquiry where the questions, methods, and solutions are given in advance.
The second is structured inquiry, which is the experiment I’m accustomed to, where students are given a question and procedure to follow. After completion, they should be able to come to a scientific conclusion.
The third is a guided inquiry. Students are given a question but not the procedure to follow. Kids have to figure out how to run the experiment for themselves.
The fourth is an open inquiry. Kids are given a topic, but they get to decide what questions they want to answer.
As the children work through the experiments in the lesson, they are given the opportunity to explain and have explained what is happening in the experiment. The textbook provides explanations.
There are leveled questions in the teacher’s guide to help you guide kids through understanding the concepts. The first is a question that approaches the level of understanding kids should be at. The second question is at grade level while the third is a challenging question that’s above grade level.
In addition, the teacher’s guide provides the extra material to help tie the lesson into scripture, history, or other subjects.
The teacher’s guide includes activities to extend children’s understanding of the concepts into other areas. These guided inquiries are usually experiments. You can find the extended activities in the teacher’s guide for each lesson. The kids are given space in their Science Journals to record the results.
Assess and Reflect
No lesson would be complete without an opportunity to assess and reflect upon what you’ve learned. The student textbook includes a concept check with a summary of what they studied in the lesson.
The Student Journals have a chapter review at the end of each chapter. The review includes a study guide that gives a brief overview of each lesson. This study guide is followed by a series of questions for the kids to answer.
The teacher’s guide includes chapter tests at the back of the book. After the tests are the rubrics for the Science Journal, answers to the chapter tests, and more!
Kendall Hunt also provides faith-based programs in Reading Language Art called (Pathways) and a New Kindergarten program (Stepping Stones). In addition, Kendall Hunt offers Talented and Gifted programs in mathematics (M2 and M3) as well as products developed in collaboration with the CFGE (Center for Gifted Education) College of William and Mary in subject areas such as language arts, social studies, and science.
Learn more about Kendall Hunt and the comprehensive curriculum they create.
Kendall Hunt’s By Design science curriculum has the experiments and hands-on learning you need to engage kids and make science interesting.