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Middle School Science - What are my choices?


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My daughter will be in 7th grade in the fall, and I need to choose a science curriculum.  I am aware of most of the big names, but I'm wondering what else is out there?  She is studying astronomy this spring.  Ideally I would like a year long curriculum that covers a variety of topics with experiments, projects, and note-booking.  We are Christian, but I'm open to secular curriculum as well.  Below is a list of what I've already considered.  I'd love to hear other ideas.

Apologia General Science - I've looked at both 2nd and 3rd editions.  They are both so wordy.  I've presented the 2nd edition to my daughter, and she gets so frustrated by the amount of reading that she doesn't absorb the material.  I do like the topics that are covered though.

Elemental Science for the Logic Stage - This seems appealing to me because it promotes independent learning.  I think I would choose the Biology level.  I've read many reviews that say the experiments don't work well and the recommended texts are quite boring.  I don't want to set her up for failure from day one.

Real Science 4 Kids - We're using this for astronomy.  It's just okay.  I paid a lot of money for the full set, but so far I'm not impressed.

WTM recommendations - I'm not sure I'm comfortable enough to use this approach yet.

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Just chiming in looking for a 6th grade recommendation as well! I am considering Novare’s charter school versions for 7th/8th (https://centripetalpress.com/). They recommend life science for 6th, but they don’t offer one.

Anyone have a life science they liked? I’m treating 6th as middle school, and I’m ready to start introducing more actual science (as opposed to reading on scientific topics). 

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I absolutely love the Novare course we are doing this year.  It's the physical science book. We'll do earth science next year and then either life science or general biology for 8th.  I love the mastery approach, the integrated math, the fact that it is mainstream science, and the deeper thinking that is required by the many short-answer questions.

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16 hours ago, Bay Lake Mom said:

Ideally I would like a year long curriculum that covers a variety of topics with experiments, projects, and note-booking.

 

So, there was a time when I would never have recommended this, but I have come to LOVE Supercharged Science.  It has engaging video instruction and it is packed with experiments.  I did find it a little challenging to navigate at first and it can be a royal pain to find all of the supplies for experiments.  But my science-minded kid raves about the program and the instructor.  We subscribe to her online science program which gives you access to all of her videos and experiments and you can choose by topic or work through a grade level at whatever pace you want.  There are worksheet pages to print out and keep in a binder and she also has suggestions for building a science notebook.  The downside of SS is that it is not a true "open-and-go" program where you have everything scripted and laid out neatly.  It is more like a HUGE resource of everything science.  There are a couple ways that you can check it out.  You can try the online program for $1 (this is what we did one year, and my DS loved it so much that I subscribed) -- https://www.superchargedscience.com/opt/escience-1-dollar-trial-eg/ 

Or you can check out her facebook page.  She has live classes three times a week which my DS attends via zoom but I believe she is live on facebook for anyone to view them.  These classes have a structure to them.  The topic changes monthly; December was chemistry, January was engineering, and February will be Biology.  She gives instruction, does demonstrations, and guides the kids through experiments.  If you are subscribed to the program, you have access to the planner and the worksheets and supply lists and your child can attend the zoom class.  It is interactive on Tuesdays after her instruction for the zoom kids to share ideas, experiments, ask questions, etc.  

So this might not be at all what you are looking for, but maybe it is exactly what you are looking for! 

 

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Rainbow Science (Christian)
Novare Science (Christian)
Exploration Education
Ellen McHenry units -- a variety of topics; these get good reviews on these boards
CPO Science (secular) -- text only; past reviews on these boards say it is only "okay" and "disappointing"
ACS's Middle School Chemistry (secular)
Nancy Larson: level 5 (ages 10-13) - IF the 7th grader has had only limited previous science exposure
TOPS Science units (secular) -- NO text; guided hands-on ONLY; these can be hit/miss -- Rocks & Minerals was esp. good -- possibly couple this with the secular middle school texts of Prentice Hall Explorer Science?


These past threads are helpful with ideas:
"Science for 7th and 8th grades - options?"
"Need to plan Physical Science for 8th grader" -- many ideas would work for 7th grader

Edited by Lori D.
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Thank you Lori D!  That was a lot of great info.  Now I've got to start my research. 

Supercharged Science is an interesting option.   I had never heard of it.

I considered Novare, but I was under the impression it was much more advanced and "text-booky" than even Apologia.

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We’ve had success this year with ScienceFusion worktexts that I bought on Amazon. They are more of a public school textbook type of thing...but what I love is how they provide a bit of a scaffold for how to read a textbook. You read a section of text, then it asks a question or two, encouraging you to stop and think about what you just read. (And that is exactly what I wanted, we weren’t needing experiments or labs). My 8th grader enjoys the format and works independently on them. You can get different topics; my dd has done Space Science, Dynamic Earth, the Human Body and Forces & Motion.  We add in documentaries from Curiosity Stream.

May not be what you are looking for, but also may be worth a look. 

https://www.amazon.com/ScienceFusion-Module-Interactive-Worktext-Student/dp/0547589409/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=science+fusion+gr8&qid=1611876873&sr=8-6
 

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Here's another one to check out. https://learnscience.academy/

My son is doing Conceptual Integrated Science Explorations now, is learning a lot, and is really enjoying it. It's designed for 7th & 8th grade.

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 Elemental Science didnt work here. We tried their Chemistry for the Logic stage last year and my kids (who love chem) were bored by the texts. Many of the experiments involved quite a bit of preparation and expense and then didn't work for us. It was frustrating. This year my two seventh graders are using Ellen McHenry's brain book and it's a success here. We'll also be using cells and botany this semester. I'm very pleased with all of the new material they're learning and retaining. The text is well written and challenging, with hand drawn illustrations and some little cartoons. There are well chosen videos linked to each chapter on her YouTube page. She suggests games and crafts that reinforce the terms and concepts in the texts, but it's not heavy on experiments. There are some, but not as many as we were used to. If it had a bigger hands on component it would be nearly perfect, but as it is my kids look forward to it every week. I overheard my fourth grader, who tags along with the older two for science, say that science is his favorite subject now😃 

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