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Middle school science - CPO or Science Explorer


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#1 jg_puppy

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 11:54 PM

I am starting to research science for logic stage. I have noticed two public school texts recommended often. Prentice Hall Science Explorer and CPO Science. I was wondering if anyone could compare these two science options.

Jan

#2 Matryoshka

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:47 AM

I am starting to research science for logic stage. I have noticed two public school texts recommended often. Prentice Hall Science Explorer and CPO Science. I was wondering if anyone could compare these two science options.


First, I want to say that this is likely partly a personal preference, because so many people whose opinions I respect here really love Science Explorer. So much, that I bought almost the whole thing. But I didn't really like it. The layout is very jumbled, to me. I find it hard to figure out where to rest my eye. There are multiple colors and photos and diagrams and sidebars - yikes! To be fair, this kind of layout is a disease that plagues 95% of all middle school texts I've seen, across subjects. There are also random photos of appropriately aged kids plopped liberally about, usually doing absolutely nothing related to the subject being taught. Look! Someone your age! This book must be for you! Yes, I know none of that has to do with content, and I couldn't find anything better, so I was going to suck it up and use it anyway. Also, apart from the texts, I was quite perplexed as to what additional materials I'd have to buy from the company (and they didn't appear to be easily acquired new).

Then someone suggested CPO - what a breath of fresh air! Clean layout, easy to follow, aaah. The content appears quite good - it's not as in-depth as I'd like in spots, but that appears to be the middle-school nature of it as well - PE is at least as superficial - I'd argue even moreso, but I'm not 100% sure that's not my bias that's talking. :) My kids are finding it plenty challenging, so I think my attitude may also come from someone who's had quite a bit of biology. I'm having them read and outline The Way Life Works alongside for a bit more depth.

I was easily able to buy the California Edition of the texts, bundled with the lab books, in like-new condition for under $20. I was also easily able to get the Teacher's Edition for a similar price. There are supplementary skill sheets, presentations and videos to supplement on the CPO website for free.

Another thing you might want to look at is the Singapore Interactive Science for the middle grades. People didn't start talking about it here (or I didn't notice it) till I'd already bought the CPO. If I were looking today, those are the two I'd be choosing between.

I know lots of people really like PE - I just get a headache trying to read it! I had my kids go through the human body/health one this summer, since I already owned it and CPO doesn't cover health, and my kids didn't like it any better than I did. They much prefer the CPO. A used PE text can be gotten for about $5, and CPO has chapters online to preview - you could look at them both and see what you think.

#3 Corraleno

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:18 AM

I haven't used Science Explorer, so I can't compare CPO directly to SE, but I can give you an idea of some of the things that make CPO different from most of the other textbooks I looked at.

CPO is a small publisher founded by a physicist from MIT. They have a high school physics/physical science program, and a complete middle school science program. That's all they do, and they do it really really well (IMHO). The books feel much more coherent to me than the texts I compared them to ~ most texts seem to me like they were written by a committee of about 40 people.

Unlike most PS textbooks (which someone said "seemed to be designed to induce ADD in anyone who doesn't already have it"), the design of the CPO texts is very clean and very well thought out. The books are horizontal (landscape) format, with the text in a large central column, most of the illustrations/sidebars/vocab/etc in a smaller right-hand column, and the topic subheadings for each paragraph are in a skinny left-hand column. There is one topic per page, and the topic is listed at the top of the page. This makes it very very easy to find information: find the topic at the top, find the subtopic down the side, and there's your paragraph.

Most textbooks look like they were designed by someone who designs Toys R Us ads ~ text in multiple fonts & multiple colors, tons of meaningless stock photos, callouts & sidebars & lists of "key facts," etc., all jumbled together on the page. There are so many different things competing for your attention it's hard to even get through a single paragraph without losing your place. I used to be a book designer, and that sort of thing drives me nuts ~ they're designed to appeal to school boards and the committees who buy textbooks, and no one cares if students can actually read them!

The scientific concepts in the CPO texts are explained very clearly and concisely, and the illustrations are meaningful, not just "decoration." There is also a wealth of free teacher resources on the website. There are 2 versions of the texts: one called CPO Focus on... [Life Science/Physical Science/Earth Science], which are California State Standards, and the other is just CPO Science Life Science, etc., which is the general version. There is a slight difference in the scope and sequence, since state standards vary. The Focus on... series is easier to find on Amazon or ebay, and you can often get the text and workbook brand new (or like new) for $30 or less.

Here's a link to some of the free resources on the CPO website. There are videos, simulations, graphic organizers, student worksheets, and in the Ancillaries section (under Teaching Illustrations) there are some terrific mini-posters.
http://www.cpo.com/h...61/Default.aspx

Jackie

ETA: I started this, then had to attend to kiddos for a bit, then finished it and hit "post" ~ and discovered Matroyska had already posted almost exactly the same thing! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets ADD reading other middle school texts, LOL.

Edited by Corraleno, 11 January 2010 - 01:22 AM.


#4 KarenNC

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:03 AM

The scientific concepts in the CPO texts are explained very clearly and concisely, and the illustrations are meaningful, not just "decoration." There is also a wealth of free teacher resources on the website. There are 2 versions of the texts: one called CPO Focus on... [Life Science/Physical Science/Earth Science], which are California State Standards, and the other is just CPO Science Life Science, etc., which is the general version. There is a slight difference in the scope and sequence, since state standards vary. The Focus on... series is easier to find on Amazon or ebay, and you can often get the text and workbook brand new (or like new) for $30 or less.


Jackie,

I've looked at this publisher before and been interested. I'm glad to know that the books can be come by quite reasonably, but how do you handle the experiments? Is it easy to substitute other items?

#5 Sue in St Pete

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:04 AM

This is our 3rd year using Science Explorer. I totally agree with the busy format, but we have adjusted to it. OTOH, I do like the ability to pick and choose which topics we explore with SE.

I learned about CPO after we had started on SE and had figured out what supplements I needed/didn't, how to obtain teacher's manuals (which I desperately need) and extras, how it would work in our family (dh helps out with science using TOPS and/or Exploration Education), etc. I was attracted by what I heard about the clean format. I liked the look of it, but I couldn't figure out if it would be hands-on at all because the equipment kit they sold costs $1000+, probably for a class of 30.

If I could start all over again, I would explore CPO more thoroughly. I would like to hear from those of you who are using CPO how the experiments have worked out.

#6 Pam in MA

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:07 AM

I've used SE off and on over the years and never liked the busy pages and politically correct photos either. I just bought CPO Earth Science this week and it sure looks a lot clearer.

#7 KarenNC

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:11 AM

I learned about CPO after we had started on SE and had figured out what supplements I needed/didn't, how to obtain teacher's manuals (which I desperately need) and extras, how it would work in our family (dh helps out with science using TOPS and/or Exploration Education), etc. I was attracted by what I heard about the clean format. I liked the look of it, but I couldn't figure out if it would be hands-on at all because the equipment kit they sold costs $1000+, probably for a class of 30.

If I could start all over again, I would explore CPO more thoroughly. I would like to hear from those of you who are using CPO how the experiments have worked out.


I'm also interested in what folks do about the experiments. Can others that have more realistic equipment requirements be easily substituted? It would be great if anyone had a list of what they used with it instead of the CPO equipment kit.

ETA: sorry for essentially double posting, it didn't look like my original reply actually posted.

#8 Capt_Uhura

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:40 AM

I had been intending to post the very same question! I do like the looks of CPO. I'm also curious about Singapore Interactive Science. If anyone care to add her 2cents on that one in comparison to CPO, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Capt_Uhura

#9 Kissy

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:04 AM

I have been using PH Science explorers and love it. I have done Life Science and now Earth science..never heard of CPO however I just clicked the link from above and Here are a few things I noticed.

CPO has better review questions at the end of a section. PH has usually 3 and they are not asking for many details. I also noticed in CPO there is some basic algebra in ch. 6 (the sample chapter) not sure if PH has that in physical science since we haven't ordered it but it is something to be aware of for anyone who thinks their child would not be ready. Overall it seems nice with nice illustrations and has lots of depth in it. I totally understand why everyone is thinking about using it. The physical science looks more in depth and harder than PH has been. This could be a good thing though.

PH has a few things I didn't see in CPO. PH has a textbook companion site with links to more info. It has codes on it that will take you to places that you are reading about for in depth online safe links. My son really enjoys that. PH has more activities and experiment suggestions. Lots of them have household or easy to find equipment.

I will be watching this thread to see what others might have to say and if anyone has used both how those years went about. I have never used CPO but I am definitely interested now.

Edited by Kissy, 11 January 2010 - 09:08 AM.


#10 Matryoshka

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:18 AM

I would like to hear from those of you who are using CPO how the experiments have worked out.


Remember that the CPO equipment kit is really aimed the Physical Science/Physics programs. Yes, they do use it in a couple of the experiments in the Life Science book (probably so the schools can feel like they've gotten their money's worth), but they can be worked around.

I'm doing CPO as part of a small coop - four families. We take turns doing the labs for a chapter. There are two labs per chapter - sometimes three, as there are a couple chapters where the California editions don't line up with the standard ones and there's a third lab available at the CPO website for free. Sometimes we do one, sometimes both, at least once I've substituted other stuff I like better, but usually not because of equipment. Sometimes it's been because of the format of our coop - the lab requires that you check on the experiment over a couple of days, which is often an issue with biology labs. Once we sent it home for the kids to follow up on, once I had them start the experiment the day before and bring it home to follow up on. It was my turn last week, and I actually did both labs pretty much as described - looking at slides through a microscope and modeling mitosis/meiosis using pipe cleaners.

Next week we're doing heredity, and that one calls for a game sold by CPO that we can't afford. I think it'll be pretty easy to come up with something else to do, or make up our own game. One of the labs in the human body section calls for a light/optics kit. I'm sure we'll do fine without CPO's.

For anyone who can't find the text bundled with the lab book - the lab sheets are available on the CPO site for free, and they're actually better, because they leave lots more space to write. I've mostly been having them use those rather than the one in the book we got...

#11 DarlaS

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:22 AM

Has anyone tried ordering books direct from the company?

Also would you use the Earth Science with a 5th grader? Her reading comprehension level is very good. Her interest is in life science so this looks to be a good intro for her and not "beneath" her ability. What do you think? The sample chapter looks great. I even like the format of the teacher manual. I was considering Singapore MPH 5/6 for her but this looks more affordable and user-friendly (referring to the teacher's manual here).

I'd like to start now if I could! :lol:

#12 Capt_Uhura

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:42 AM

So is the only difference between Focus series (CA standards) and the regular one besides a change in sequence? Is the Focus series more watered down? More beefed up?

Never mind! I just remembered someone answered this question for me in a PM!

Capt_Uhura

Edited by Capt_Uhura, 11 January 2010 - 09:48 AM.
adding more info


#13 Kissy

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:50 AM

So is the only difference between Focus series (CA standards) and the regular one besides a change in sequence? Is the Focus series more watered down? More beefed up?

Never mind! I just remembered someone answered this question for me in a PM!

Capt_Uhura


I would like to know.

#14 Capt_Uhura

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:58 AM

Ok I'll PM her and ask if it's OK for me to post what she told me.

Capt_Uhura

#15 Dee in MI

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:46 AM

I like the CPO series. We're using Focus on Earth Science right now, and will be doing the Physical Science book next year. I recommend that you get the Readers Digest How ___ Works series to supplement. They're cheap and interesting. And they have a lot of relevant experiements that can be substituted for the CPO labs.

#16 MIch elle

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:52 AM

I used PH Science Explorer for grades 7 & 8 with my older ds, using Calvert School schedule for grade 7 (bought Calvert 7 LM's used) and PH books only for grade 8. I didn't repeat this w/ younger ds. I still have many PH SE books!

I purchased CPO Life Science for next year for my younger ds. I wanted an all-in-one program that would prepared my ds for high school science. He will take either intergrated science or biology in grade 9 (private high school) and PH SE didn't give me what I wanted in an efficient resource - too many PH SE books.

CPO Life Science (20 chapters) has ONE more unit (2 chapters) than CPO Focus On Life Science (18 chapters). Compare the online TOC to see the differences.

Both PH SE and CPO are excellent choices for secular middle school science. It just depends on what appeals to you and your dc!

#17 Matryoshka

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:00 PM

CPO Life Science (20 chapters) has ONE more unit (2 chapters) than CPO Focus On Life Science (18 chapters). Compare the online TOC to see the differences.


The missing unit is on biomes, and CA apparently thought that should be Earth Science, so the "missing" unit is really in the CA Earth Science book instead.

I actually didn't realize I was buying a CA edition till I got the books (people had just started talking about them), but I'm not sad I did - the CA books were so much easier/less expensive to buy that having a unit shifted over doesn't seem like that big a deal.

It is a bit of a pain lining up the free online Skill Sheets and Student Record sheets (the Lab sheets) as the chapters don't line up, but they're all there - I just made a chart at the beginning of the year aligning them. There is a CA website, but there none of the supplementary materials are available for free, so I just use the "regular" ones. You can go there to look at samples of the CA book and see the TOC.

Edited by matroyshka, 11 January 2010 - 12:03 PM.


#18 Corraleno

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:11 PM

So is the only difference between Focus series (CA standards) and the regular one besides a change in sequence? Is the Focus series more watered down? More beefed up?


There's no difference in the level of the material (not watered down or beefed up), but there are changes in the scope & sequence due to differences in California standards.

In the "Focus on..." titles (CA version):
(1) Life Sciences adds a section on human reproduction, and bumps the Ecology section to the Earth Science book;
(2) Astronomy is bumped from Earth Science to Physical Science;
(3) the section on light/sound/electro-magnetism is dropped from the Physcal Sciences book. (That's not CPO's idea, it's just what the CA standards are.)

The light/sound/electromagnetism stuff is very easy to supplement from other sources, so that doesn't bother me, especially since the "Focus on" books tend to be easier to find and cheaper. But some people prefer to order the non-CA version, to get the extra physics section and skip the human reproduction part.

I'm currently using Life Sciences w/a 6th grader. We do some of the experiments in the lab book, but I also add in my own. We have a microscope and a large set of slides, and I have ordered a few things from Carolina Biological Supply. You can also use Froguts for virtual dissections, and they have virtual versions of pea and fruit fly genetic labs ($30/yr subscription for access to all the dissections and labs).
http://www.froguts.c...tent/index.html

For any of the labs that you don't have equipment for, you can easily substitute relevant experiments from a general "experiments for kids" book, like the Janice Van Cleave series http://www.amazon.co... a+ projects in

Jackie

#19 Corraleno

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:20 PM

Also would you use the Earth Science with a 5th grader? Her reading comprehension level is very good. Her interest is in life science so this looks to be a good intro for her and not "beneath" her ability. What do you think? The sample chapter looks great. I even like the format of the teacher manual. I was considering Singapore MPH 5/6 for her but this looks more affordable and user-friendly (referring to the teacher's manual here).

I'd like to start now if I could! :lol:


I think a 5th grader could definitely do CPO Earth Science. It is the easiest of the books and is generally aimed at 6th graders. I also have MPH 5/6, and much prefer CPO. I think CPO presents the concepts more clearly and ties things together much better. I found MPH too fragmented, although I am using parts of it with my 2nd grader. It's not close to being on the same level as CPO, in my opinion.

One of the things I really like about CPO is that it's *not* dumbed down. It's real science, real concepts, explained very clearly and in an order that makes sense. The writers/publishers of CPO seem to understand that kids can "get" this stuff if it's explained well enough, instead of patronizing them with lots of bright colors and meaningless graphics and dumbed down text ~ with all the "key points!!!" called out on each page, since that's all they care about kids remembering for the test.

Jackie

#20 kangato3

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:34 PM

We are really loving CPO. The PH book layouts were just too overwhelming and busy for our preferences. Like the other posters, I agree that the CPO books are very well organized and uncluttered.

This year I am doing Focus on Earth with 6th grader, and Focus on Physical Science with 8th grader. With a little pre-planning, we've been able to adapt almost all of the labs.

For instance, the Physical Sciene track/phototimer labs can be done with hot wheels tracks (I'm blessed to have young boys) and a stopwatch. We do discuss why the phototimers would be most accurate, but we're able to achieve the lab objectives with our tools.

I did splurge and buy the Atom building game, but you could really improvise this with colored beads or marbles and various sizes of tupperware lids.
The Earth science used bathymetric maps on quite a few experiments, and I bought a pad from CPO (reasonably priced) that will last me through all of my kids.

While it sometimes takes a little forethought to put together the labs (investigations), they are, IMO, excellently done.

By the way, the free materials on the web are for the non-California books. However, I found that most of them match up with the California books that we are using (Focus on...), just numbered in a different order.

I was able to purchase everything (student text, teacher manual, investigation book) from used booksellers in excellent condition at a fraction of new cost.

Louise

Edited by kangato3, 11 January 2010 - 01:35 PM.
misspellings


#21 Pixie

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:47 PM

I am using CPO Earth Science with my 6th grader. I really like it and she complains it's too hard but at this point anything that asks her to think for more than 5 seconds and not just parrot the answer is "too hard", so I am ignoring her opinion lol
At this point we were able to do most of the labs by adapting the equipment. There is one I know we didn't actually do the experiment but talked about the procedure and got the answers from the teacher's text to do the interpretation.

#22 Pixie

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:48 PM



The Earth science used bathymetric maps on quite a few experiments, and I bought a pad from CPO (reasonably priced) that will last me through all of my kids.



Did you call them? Or how were you able to order that. I would love to be able to buy that.

#23 jg_puppy

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 01:51 PM

Thank you for all of the responses. I think I will likely go with CPO. My plan at the moment is -

5th grade Chemistry - The Elements and other books (Would it work to do The Elements first semester and Carbon Chemistry second semester for a 5th grader?)
6th grade CPO Earth Science
7th grade CPO Life Science
8th grade CPO Physical Science (at that point I will also have a 5th grader and I might do Exploration Education with him and they could do some of the experiments together)

I like the Readers Digest How ___ Works books. I picked up one last night at a used book store. I may go and pick some of the others in the series. Before looking at CPO I had thought about using some of Tiners books as well, but I have not seen any of the books in person. Would those work well for some additional reading?

Thanks.

Jan

#24 KarenNC

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 05:58 PM

Is the Teacher's Resource CD needed/helpful? It seems to be referenced in the sample of the teacher's book on the website.

#25 DarlaS

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:20 PM

I think a 5th grader could definitely do CPO Earth Science. It is the easiest of the books and is generally aimed at 6th graders. I also have MPH 5/6, and much prefer CPO. I think CPO presents the concepts more clearly and ties things together much better. I found MPH too fragmented, although I am using parts of it with my 2nd grader. It's not close to being on the same level as CPO, in my opinion.
Jackie


Which level MPH are you using with your 2nd grader? I was figuring on MPH 3/4 with my youngest next year. He's a fluent reader (possibly somewhat gifted) with a strong science interest. It looks light to me. He's been reading piles of Let's Read and Find Out Science books, Magic School Bus and the like since he was about 4.

#26 Corraleno

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:46 PM

Is the Teacher's Resource CD needed/helpful? It seems to be referenced in the sample of the teacher's book on the website.


The Teacher's Resources are available for free on the CPO website.

Jackie

#27 rafiki

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:23 PM

.

#28 Corraleno

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:33 PM

Which level MPH are you using with your 2nd grader? I was figuring on MPH 3/4 with my youngest next year. He's a fluent reader (possibly somewhat gifted) with a strong science interest. It looks light to me. He's been reading piles of Let's Read and Find Out Science books, Magic School Bus and the like since he was about 4.


I have MPH 5/6. I've used some of the life science sections with DD7 but there isn't anything in there that I couldn't have found elsewhere (and maybe presented more clearly). Some of the material seems really shallow (e.g. living/nonliving) and questions like "This fish has become prey to this alligator; think of some other predators and their prey" seems more appropriate to a 2nd grader than a 6th grader, but there are other things that would be over the head of younger kids, and there is a discussion of human reproduction in the Cycles booklet which parents may or may not want to present to a 1st or 2nd grader.

The ratio of pictures to text is HUGE. The booklets look like magazines (e.g. Ranger Rick) and the topics are divided up into "themed" booklets: Cycles, Interactions, Systems, and Energy. In theory that seemed innovative and interesting to me (which is why I bought the set), but in practice it just feels really fragmented.

If your son is gifted, sciencey, and a good reader, you could treat the MPH booklets as if they were science magazines, and just let him read them on his own for fun. I think if DS11 had had these when he was younger, he would have enjoyed using them that way.

Jackie

Edited by Corraleno, 11 January 2010 - 07:35 PM.


#29 Matryoshka

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:34 PM

I think a 5th grader could definitely do CPO Earth Science. It is the easiest of the books and is generally aimed at 6th graders.


Hey, I have a question for you or anyone else using the CPO Earth Science - I'm doing Life Science this year with my 6th graders, and I think I'd like to do the CPO 9th grade Physical Science with Astronomy in 8th.

For 7th, what to do? I own the Earth Science already. I'm not sure the others in my coop will want to do a whole year of Earth Science, and I'm also intruiged by Ellen McHenry's Carbon Chemistry. Do you think a bunch of 7th graders could manage both of those in a year? I think the Carbon Chemistry isn't a full year course anyway?

#30 Corraleno

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:51 PM

For 7th, what to do? I own the Earth Science already. I'm not sure the others in my coop will want to do a whole year of Earth Science, and I'm also intruiged by Ellen McHenry's Carbon Chemistry. Do you think a bunch of 7th graders could manage both of those in a year? I think the Carbon Chemistry isn't a full year course anyway?


Yes, I think that would be doable. Depending on which CPO text you have, you can skip the last section, and either cover Ecology (CA text) or Astronomy (regular text) when you do Life Science or Physical Science instead of with Earth Science.

The first section in CPO is on The Scientific Process, which would apply to both the Earth Science and the Chemistry parts of the course. There are also 2 chapters (Heat; Density & Buoyancy) that relate to chemistry as well. So there would be a total of about 13 chapters, which you could cover in half a year. The second half of the year you could do The Elements.

The Elements is a 1-semester course. If you wanted to do a year of just Chemistry, there is a sequel to The Elements, Carbon Chemistry, but to me it looks a bit more advanced than The Elements.

Jackie

#31 arcara

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:13 PM

Where can I see The Elements program? Googling isn't helping in this case :)

Thanks!

#32 jg_puppy

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:16 PM

Where can I see The Elements program? Googling isn't helping in this case :)

Thanks!


http://www.ellenjmchenry.com/id25.html

Jan

#33 arcara

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:23 PM

http://www.ellenjmchenry.com/id25.html

Jan


Thanks!

#34 Matryoshka

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:44 PM

Yes, I think that would be doable. Depending on which CPO text you have, you can skip the last section, and either cover Ecology (CA text) or Astronomy (regular text) when you do Life Science or Physical Science instead of with Earth Science.

The first section in CPO is on The Scientific Process, which would apply to both the Earth Science and the Chemistry parts of the course. There are also 2 chapters (Heat; Density & Buoyancy) that relate to chemistry as well. So there would be a total of about 13 chapters, which you could cover in half a year. The second half of the year you could do The Elements.

The Elements is a 1-semester course. If you wanted to do a year of just Chemistry, there is a sequel to The Elements, Carbon Chemistry, but to me it looks a bit more advanced than The Elements.


Thanks, Jackie - I think this is what I'll propose to our coop.

I was actually thinking of doing just Carbon Chemistry, not the Elements - we just did RS4K Chem Level 1 for half of last year, so I was thinking exactly that her Carbon Chemistry would be more advanced and a good follow-on to what we did in RS4K.

#35 Corraleno

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:00 PM

Thanks, Jackie - I think this is what I'll propose to our coop.

I was actually thinking of doing just Carbon Chemistry, not the Elements - we just did RS4K Chem Level 1 for half of last year, so I was thinking exactly that her Carbon Chemistry would be more advanced and a good follow-on to what we did in RS4K.


DUH ~ sorry! I just reread your post, and of course you said you were using Carbon Chemistry. :blushing:

Jackie

#36 Capt_Uhura

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:01 PM

The Elements and RS4K level 1 really don't overlap. The Elements is a survey of the periodic table. I don't recall RS4K level 1 touching much on that. We're doing Chem for Grammar Stage along w/ The Elements, then will finish up w/ RS4K level 1 w/ the last portion of Chem for Grammar Stage. I look forward to Carbon Chemistry! :001_smile:

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#37 Flaura

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:40 PM

:lurk5:

#38 Capt_Uhura

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:13 PM

Ok I'm perusing things at the CPO website. Is the Foundations of Physical Science 3rd edition the high school series?

#39 DarlaS

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:25 PM

I have MPH 5/6. I've used some of the life science sections with DD7 but there isn't anything in there that I couldn't have found elsewhere (and maybe presented more clearly). Some of the material seems really shallow (e.g. living/nonliving) and questions like "This fish has become prey to this alligator; think of some other predators and their prey" seems more appropriate to a 2nd grader than a 6th grader, but there are other things that would be over the head of younger kids, and there is a discussion of human reproduction in the Cycles booklet which parents may or may not want to present to a 1st or 2nd grader.

The ratio of pictures to text is HUGE. The booklets look like magazines (e.g. Ranger Rick) and the topics are divided up into "themed" booklets: Cycles, Interactions, Systems, and Energy. In theory that seemed innovative and interesting to me (which is why I bought the set), but in practice it just feels really fragmented.

If your son is gifted, sciencey, and a good reader, you could treat the MPH booklets as if they were science magazines, and just let him read them on his own for fun. I think if DS11 had had these when he was younger, he would have enjoyed using them that way.

Jackie


That sounds like a plan. I know from where he is right now, I can probably get away with not formally teaching science for a good long while. He's been getting a science mag since he was about 3.5 that he reads cover to cover (along with his sister's Zoobooks and Kids Discover). He'd definitely read anything sciencey I left laying around. He might even do the workbook pages in the activity books. :D

Thanks for the heads-up on the human reproduction section. I'll probably hold off on that particular book for a bit. :tongue_smilie:

#40 Matryoshka

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 12:11 AM

Ok I'm perusing things at the CPO website. Is the Foundations of Physical Science 3rd edition the high school series?


There appear to be three high school level Physical Science books - Foundations of Physical Science 3rd edition, Foundations of Physical Science with Earth & Space, and Physical, Earth and Space Science.

The 3rd Edition one seems to be the newest and doesn't contain the Earth and Space science. What the more subtle differences are, I'm not sure. I'm having a hard time finding info on the website.

#41 TechWife

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 06:41 AM

I am starting to research science for logic stage. I have noticed two public school texts recommended often. Prentice Hall Science Explorer and CPO Science. I was wondering if anyone could compare these two science options.

Jan


We are using Science Explorer Life Science this year. It is our first year using their curriculum. I looked at CPO before I purchased and chose SE.

I agree with others that the SE pages are very busy, but when you look carefully at the content of what is on the pages, it is of high quality. There are study prompts in the margins - make a list of key words, outline this, make a venn diagram of this, etc. Those same prompts are available on the teacher CD for printout in the Guided Reading and Study section. Or, at a lower cost, you can purchase a Guided Reading and Study Workbook for around $6 - cheaper than making copies. There is also an inexpensive lab book available. I consider these two pieces optional, however. CPO has some study helps available to students on their web site, including graphic organizers, how to study, etc. I thought that SE was more thorough in this regard and since my son has great difficulty with organizing his studies, that was a plus for SE.

The questions at the end of the sections of SE require the students to look at the information in the section and to connect the dots between two or more pieces of information in order to answer the questions. That is a good transistion to be able to handle the more difficult discussion questions that are to come. Their tests have a good mix of multiple choice, fill in the blank and short answer questions. I think that the discussion questions are very difficult and have not year included them on our tests.

In addition to the study prompts, there are inquiry based activities. You can use as many or as few of these as you would like to. I think of them as mini-labs. Each chapter has a chapter project as well.

There is at least one, if not two, labs for each chapter. We manage to get at least one of them done. The equipment required for labs is simple equipment and is easy to obtain. Many things you will have on hand already. Once I received the lab notebook, I went through it and wrote down a list of supplies I would need for the year. I was careful to count things. For example, I needed test tubes. What size? What was the maximum number needed at any one time of each size? ( Be sure when you purchase test tubes you also get a stand and the cleaning brush). I then purchased the supplies from Homeschool Science Tools. They are very resonably priced - I spent about $300 for life science supplies, BUT there were very few consumables so I will have this equipment for high school science as well. It could also be resold easily. Also, looking at the equipment list for CPO, unless you are getting more than one of each item listed, I have far more lab supplies and equipment from my purchase than they have in their kit. The items I have are also more general purpose - they will be used again in high school biology and chemistry no matter what curriculum we use. The kit from CPO is more specialized to their program and I was NOT going to pay that price for it.

As I was making my choices, I spoke w/a couple of ps high school science teachers I know, and they assured me that they have to improvise a lot when it comes to lab equipment as their schools do not purchase all of this expensive equipment, either. They use a lot of household items as well and sometimes make their own equipment out of components they find in their supply closets. The AP Physics teacher I spoke to said he typically does two demonstrations and a lab each week. SE seems right in line with this, though the students carry out the Activities.

That said, I really liked CPO as well and I think either program is a good program. The science sequence in both of them looks logical and solid.

#42 Capt_Uhura

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 09:18 AM

I did like the questions I saw in PE Physical Science. I'm assuming CPO has a component which has questions for the student to answer?

Capt_Uhura

#43 MIch elle

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 09:24 AM

Are these the exact same pages as on their website. "Skills and Practice Sheets or "Student Record Sheets" ?

Do you use the CPO Investigations workbook and if so how - fill out the blanks and/or do the experiments? How often?

TIA :D

UGH! Posted in the wrong place!

Edited by MIch elle, 12 January 2010 - 09:26 AM.
wrong place


#44 KarenNC

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 09:41 AM

The Teacher's Resources are available for free on the CPO website.

Jackie


I saw the teaching illustrations, student records, practice and skill sheets, science content videos, simulations and graphic organizers, but didn't see the pretests that are mentioned in the sample of the teacher's book. Are they (and answer keys) somewhere else on the website or am I just missing them (a definite possibility:))?

Does the teacher guide include answers to the review questions and assessments from the student book? They don't seem to appear in the sample.

#45 Matryoshka

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:27 AM

I saw the teaching illustrations, student records, practice and skill sheets, science content videos, simulations and graphic organizers, but didn't see the pretests that are mentioned in the sample of the teacher's book. Are they (and answer keys) somewhere else on the website or am I just missing them (a definite possibility:))?


There used to be tests on the website, but they disappeared. They were similar in content to the Chapter Assessments, and had no answer key, so I decided just to use the Chapter Asessements

Does the teacher guide include answers to the review questions and assessments from the student book? They don't seem to appear in the sample.


Yes, all the answers to the review questions and assessments are in the teacher guide, as well as answers to all the investigation questions, some guided/scripted teaching for the investigations, some discussion questions, and additional projects, resources, websites and reading lists. I haven't used the latter that much, but there have been times when it's come in useful.

#46 Matryoshka

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:29 AM

I did like the questions I saw in PE Physical Science. I'm assuming CPO has a component which has questions for the student to answer?


Yes, each chapter has 2-3 sections with a section review, and a fairly extensive (usually 3 page) Chapter Assessement at the end. Each chapter also has a Chapter Activity and Chapter Project.

#47 FlockOfSillies

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 11:31 AM

I looked at both and went with CPO. So far we're happy with it. There are section reviews and chapter assessments that we use to check dd's comprehension and retention. For experiments we are using Science in a Nutshell Kits and one from Thames & Kosmos.