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Astronomy/Geology/Earth Science or Zoology for 8th


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I’m going crazy here trying to find a good option.  Any recommendations for a year DD requested of Astronomy/Geology/Earth Science, OR Zoology for 8th grader??

I feel like I’ve looked all over at too many options, but keep getting distracted by something else.  She initially requested studying mammals, but I had to break it to her that is a bit too simplistic for her age.... So, I suppose Zoology for 8th could be an option?  

She’s done MPOA MS Science 1 and 2 and so has covered Tiner’s books of Planet Earth, History of Medicine, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. She has struggled with Physics, so decided not to do MP Physical Science.  Argh.

 

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I've been looking for good zoology options for awhile. There appears to be a large middle school gap in the market. Loads for lower/mid elementary and some for high school. 🤷‍♀️ There's a recent thread started by me with some ideas and links that may be useful.

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My DD really wanted to do zoology and/or marine biology for 8th and I had the same problem. I ended up using Apologia's Land Animals and Swimming Creatures, one each semester, and I beefed them up for her to make it appropriate for 8th grade. There is a blogger somewhere who wrote worksheets and tests that I used and I added research projects for her. It was fine and she enjoyed it a lot. I mean, the textbooks are not challenging, but she enjoyed the readings and went more in depth with research where she wanted to. 

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For an eighth grader needing to ramp up for high school science, one option that you have would be to get a Great Courses course on one of those subjects.  The professors and the presentations are usually very engaging.  They come with guidebooks that usually have questions for the end of each lecture.  You could assign a few paragraphs to answer one or more questions from each lecture.  The only thing that you won't really get is any sort of hands-on component if that is really important to her, but you could easily add in your own experiments.  

My kids (a little younger than your 8th grader) watch Great Courses science videos all the time.  (They're going through two different ones right now, since we finished our spine for the year.)  Don't worry about the input being too advanced for her.  Just make sure that you're getting output from her that is appropriate for her level.  (And read the reviews before you make your selection.  Some are better than others.)

By the way, don't even think about paying full price for one of their courses!  The courses go on sale really often, so just keep checking the website once you find one that you're interested in.  Then, once you buy from the company once, they'll start sending you sale offers all the time.

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Secular or Christian? Online class or home curriculum? I actually know a bunch of courses for those, but fewer curricula.

Seconding Great Courses. There's also things like the Cornell Ornithology course or the Ocean First marine biology course. 

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4 hours ago, Farrar said:

Secular or Christian? Online class or home curriculum? I actually know a bunch of courses for those, but fewer curricula.

Seconding Great Courses. There's also things like the Cornell Ornithology course or the Ocean First marine biology course. 

Neutral is good.  And either online or home.  She’s done two live online sciences the past two years, and I was thinking of directing the funds into some different online classes this year and maybe sticking with less spendy options, but am open to considering.  I will check out Great Courses, and look at the marine biology course, that sounds intriguing.  

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Well, Aim Academy and Taylor Made Science both have middle school earth science live online classes, but they may not suit your desire for neutral if by neutral you mean young earth neutral.

Ellen McHenry has a geology program that might suit you. It's just about rocks, so it is "neutral" for the most part (I would not call it secular friendly, but I think it might suit what you're talking about).

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12 hours ago, Farrar said:

Well, Aim Academy and Taylor Made Science both have middle school earth science live online classes, but they may not suit your desire for neutral if by neutral you mean young earth neutral.

Ellen McHenry has a geology program that might suit you. It's just about rocks, so it is "neutral" for the most part (I would not call it secular friendly, but I think it might suit what you're talking about).

No, strong Christian but don’t need or actually prefer YE.  Secular is usually fine.

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Also, sorry, for the Ocean First Marine Biology short courses (as the long course said grades 9-12, not sure how in depth it goes?), it says grades 6-12.  Have you done these - do you know how long each video is and/or have an idea how many one would do in a week?  I’m not finding that info anywhere...

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Zoology
Easy Peasy: Zoology (Christian) -- free lesson plans for 180 days, with links to videos and activities
    past threads with ideas
     "Any great zoology finds?" -- @SilverMoon's recent thread

Astronomy
Science Shepherd: Astronomy: God's Universe (Christian) -- level B is for middle school
Master Books: Intro to Astronomy (Christian) -- gr. 7-8
Easy Peasy: Earth Science (Christian) -- free lesson plans for 180 days, with links to videos and activities
Starry Night (secular) -- interactive software with lessons; gr. 5-8
     past threads with ideas
     "Astronomy for 8th grade"
     "Books for Earth/Astronomy?"
     "Current Astronomy Books?"

Earth Science
Mr. Q: Earth Science: advanced (grades 9-12); see samples (studentparent) to decide if it's  manageable for an 8th grader
Ellen McHenry: Rocks & Dirt
- Prentice Hall Explorer:  -- middle school textbook
- Frey Scientific: CPO Science - Earth Science -- middle school level textbook + kit for activities
     past threads with ideas
     "Prentice Hall Science Explorer Earth Science vs. CPO Earth Science"


If you feel up for going "DIY", we used Reader's Digest: How Earth Works as a spine, plus lots of additional supplements (books, videos, documentaries, hands-on, etc.) to go into depth about each of the 2-page spread topics in the Reader's Digest book, and also used the TOPS Rocks & Minerals unit + supply kit.


And finally, If you think your 8th grader can work up a step, or that you want to adapt, check out these threads from PAGE 5 of the big pinned thread "High School Motherlode #2" at the top of the WTM High School Board:

Astronomy
Astronomy?
Critique My Astronomy Plan
Astronomy
Astronomy Recommendations?
High School Astronomy?
Can you help me design an Astronomy course? 
Films that tie in with Astronomy study?

Geology / Earth Science
Suggestions for Earth Science text and curriculum materials? 
Can you recommend an Earth Science curriculum (not rigorous, for not a huge science fan) 
Anyone know of an online rigorous Earth Science course
Earth Science for 9th grader 
Earth Science? 
Mr Q's Advanced Earth Science or Oak Meadow - opinions? 
How do I add labs to Earth Science? 

Zoology
High school level Zoology 
High school Zoology 

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3 hours ago, Trilliumlady said:

Also, sorry, for the Ocean First Marine Biology short courses (as the long course said grades 9-12, not sure how in depth it goes?), it says grades 6-12.  Have you done these - do you know how long each video is and/or have an idea how many one would do in a week?  I’m not finding that info anywhere...

I knew a student who did the longer course and it didn't sound like it was that intensive. I didn't do it, but it sounded like a capable 8th grader could handle it. I would guess that the format would be the bigger question - do you want to oversee a computer course.

Since it's 8th grade, you really don't have to cover anything in particular. You could have her do one of the short ones and then do something else, like Ellen McHenry Rocks or Botany or something. I'd think that would be a nice little 8th grade science year geared toward the things she was interested in.

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So, how important is it in 8th grade for students to have another go around of physical science?  Would it be wise for me to have her to a Physical Science course of some sort, or is it best to let them have a “fun year” of studying what they are interested in??  I keep flip-flopping back and forth in my mind....

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1 hour ago, Trilliumlady said:

So, how important is it in 8th grade for students to have another go around of physical science?  Would it be wise for me to have her to a Physical Science course of some sort, or is it best to let them have a “fun year” of studying what they are interested in??  I keep flip-flopping back and forth in my mind....

Not important.

About half the public schools in the U.S. do Physical Science (an overview of physics & chemistry topics) in 9th grade. The other half do Biology in 9th because Physical Science was in 8th.

So your student can do what she likes in 8th, and do Physical Science in 9th.
Or, do what she'd like in 8th, and do Conceptual Physics in 9th.
Or skip all of the Physical Science topics entirely and go on to Biology (or other) in 9th.

Any of those options, or something else entirely, is completely fine, because it's no big deal -- Physical Science is NOT a *required* science at any point in middle school/high school.

My thought: 8th grade is really the last really EASY year to work in bunny trails and subjects of high interest, because when high school hits, there are so many *required* credits you're trying to get in there between any requirements for high school graduation AND credits wanted by colleges for admission (AND what with students spending time on extracurriculars, and possible part time jobs, and learning to drive, etc.) -- that it can be a much harder to squeeze in a "fun year of interests".

Just my 2 cents worth! BEST of luck, whatever you go with. And enjoy your journey! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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On 3/13/2021 at 4:03 PM, Quarter Note said:

For an eighth grader needing to ramp up for high school science, one option that you have would be to get a Great Courses course on one of those subjects.  The professors and the presentations are usually very engaging.  They come with guidebooks that usually have questions for the end of each lecture.  You could assign a few paragraphs to answer one or more questions from each lecture.  The only thing that you won't really get is any sort of hands-on component if that is really important to her, but you could easily add in your own experiments.  

My kids (a little younger than your 8th grader) watch Great Courses science videos all the time.  (They're going through two different ones right now, since we finished our spine for the year.)  Don't worry about the input being too advanced for her.  Just make sure that you're getting output from her that is appropriate for her level.  (And read the reviews before you make your selection.  Some are better than others.)

By the way, don't even think about paying full price for one of their courses!  The courses go on sale really often, so just keep checking the website once you find one that you're interested in.  Then, once you buy from the company once, they'll start sending you sale offers all the time.

What about renting the streaming service from Great Courses? Would this give access to all these courses?

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22 hours ago, Janeway said:

What about renting the streaming service from Great Courses? Would this give access to all these courses?

Hi Janeway.  I'm afraid that I have no idea about the streaming service, since we're old-fashioned and still use DVDs.  But honestly, I think that the full access to all the courses would be wonderful!  It might be worth trying the free trial to see.

Good luck!

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