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7th grade science Physical Science vs. Physics

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#1 SusanC


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Posted 10 May 2017 - 11:26 AM

I've been reading forum posts and taking notes like mad, but I keep talking myself in circles.  Maybe writing this will help me, maybe getting some outside opinions will help me, maybe there is no help for me!


Background: My oldest two will be finishing the BFSU series shortly, so they have progressed through integrated science topics since 1st grade. We have paused to study the periodic table and more recently plant and animal cells with Ellen J. McHenry. Next year is 7th grade for them.


Goals: I would like to expose them to solid Physics, Chemistry and Biology topics at a challenging-for-them level before we get to high school. My notional plan is to make it possible for them to step right into AP or Honors courses when they cover the subjects in high school.


Wrinkle: It sounds like there is a 70% chance that our co-op will run a biology lab during their 8th grade year in which case it would make sense to do that there and study Biology that year for science.  This means I would like to spend next year (2017/18) on Physics and/or Chemistry. Maybe doing a biology lab prior to high school is a mistake since they wont get credit and would potentially have to do it again at some point depending on college entrance requirements?


Math: they are both a third of the way into Pre-Algebra (MM and AOPS). Algebra 1 will probably start sometime next year - hard for me to predict math pace.


Here's what I'm considering:


1. Physical Science, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry using ConceptualAcademy (option 2 if you scroll down) For a price, this would come with videos, quizzes and 85 lessons.  If I've overestimated the capabilities of my students we could spend the year on this. If I've underestimated the challenge level of my course - well, I can play that by ear a few different ways. This covers both topics I am interested in, but costs money and may not be more in depth than what we have already done, whih would be tedious.


2. Physics with How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life, along with recorded videos and available exams (no charge). This would probably mean covering only Physics next year unless I find time for a review of the chemistry we have already covered, and time for Ellen J. McHenry's Carbon Chemistry. This option is cheaper and strikes me as more likely to cover new topics and add depth to old ones.


3. If I'm willing to focus the year on physics, I will throw Conceptual Physics into the mix. If I understand the evolution of the book correctly, my copy (linked) eventually became the high school version with the ferris wheel cover. There are videos available, Lori D.'s list of experiments for each section, Lisa Peck's supplementary material, etc. We've covered all of the topics, but this adds a touch of practical application problems, a bit more depth, and exposure to the textbook format that they will encounter in high school and college. With a slightly abridged table of contents using Regentrude's suggestions I think this would fill a year without going too much over.


With two options I can choose, but somehow three is pushing me into the land of indecision. Perhaps I will pre-screen some videos with my students and see if that sways us.


Thoughts? Opinions? BTDT advice to share?