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did any of you use Singapore Interactive Science the middle school years?

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If so, how did you like it?


I am trying to decide between Galore Park and Singapore. I bought a used copy of Singapore, an earlier edition. It seems a little busier, visually, and has less narrative structure than I like. But the plus side is that it has a workbook, which is something my son would appreciate very much.


Galore Park So You Really Want To Learn Science II seems to cover a broader range of material, and the text is easier on the eyes. But no workbook. It's newer so I imagine it may not have been available when our high schoolers were in middle schoolers.


Have any of you used either of these? What worked for you? What didn't?



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And I really liked it. I'm not sure what differences there are between the editions, but what I've seen appears to be similar... There's a textbook, a practical (lab) book, and a workbook, and you need all three. The practicals aren't too bad at all - we only skipped a few and modified a few more. Most of them are fine for home, but even if we didn't do them I'd want to know what they were so I could adapt whatever I did use, appropriately. The workbook questions assume you've done the labs.


The way we did it was for DS to read the chapter and take notes on one day, and then we spent as much time as we needed for the labs, and when they were done he did the workbook. I only graded on the workbook (kind of like a unit quiz).


The critical thinking is excellent, and the requirement that the student put together what he reads (text) and what he does (lab) to come up with the conclusions for the workbook. That's been true of Singapore science in every level we've used. Also, every section of the workbook has multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions, so it takes some writing. I've heard complaints about the math, especially the units of measure chapter, but it matches well with what you'd be doing in NEM 1 or 2 if you're tracking math with science. It is hard, but not so much if you've already been learning that same stuff in math.


I agree that the content isn't as broad as some, but we've always had science books and magazines around, and I'm not as worried about content as I am about critical thinking and experiment design. I think in this regard it does make a difference that DS is on the young side, so even after doing the high school Singapore science books (starting this fall!) we'll have a chance to end his schooling with a round of US textbooks before sending him to a (probably US) university where he'll be expected to have certain content behind him.... If we were going to hit 12th grade with only Singaporean textbooks I might be more hesitant about the content.


I've never seen the Galore Park materials, but I know we have some users here, and they speak highly of them (GP in general at least - I don't remember what I've heard about science in particular)... so hopefully you can get a review from them! :)

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Oh, this is so helpful. Thank you! I will look for the practical in the same edition that I have.


I have just a couple questions. You said that you always had science books and magazines around... which magazines? And how many days each week did you spend on science?


Thanks again,


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I have just a couple questions. You said that you always had science books and magazines around... which magazines? And how many days each week did you spend on science?

Glad to help! :)


My favorite "general" science magazine is New Scientist. It's a British magazine, and published weekly (but sometimes the mailing is off, so the schedule isn't exactly on the dot... sometimes we go two weeks with nothing and then two come in two days...) It's definitely aimed at adults and the general public (not professionals), so it has a little bit of a sensationalist tone sometimes... but it's rare that they have anything I object to. I do sometimes flip through before handing it off to DS, but generally it's fine.


We also get a magazine from HHMI and another called Symmetry (particle physics)... both of which are fairly technical and aimed at the overeducated and possibly obsessed (LOL!), but both of which are also free... so you know... I don't mind having to google a little to get through an article. :) HHMI is biology/medical, from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Symmetry is from Fermilab. One of them, and now I can't remember which, runs a "day in the life" sort of page about scientists at work -- like what it's like to live at an observatory for eight months, or what you pack for a conference. Those are 4-6 issues per year, more long discussion and less breaking news.


As far as how much time we spend on science, we go a little nuts.... If you wanted to, you could plow through Interactive 1 or 2 in three months working every day. You'll get more out of it with a calmer pace... so if you school for nine months a year I'd say it would take something like twice or 3x a week, and about an hour at a time (depending on how fast your kid reads, and whether any of the labs take more time). The reason I know how fast it can go is that we tend to do things in chunks -- a few chapters at the beginning of the year, a break for a project, a few more chapters, science fair season, a couple more chapters, another project, and then maybe a third of the book to finish in April and May... The workload isn't heavy, but I think it deserves some "digesting" time.


Next year we're doing Biology Matters, and there are many more long labs (like the ones that start "put a plant in the dark for three days"), so the schedule is going to get more creative... but the Interactive books are fairly predictable. Labs take at most an hour, more likely half that, and the reading isn't long.

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