7th Grade Life Science Textbooks ($62.00)
Coming from: 6th Grade Earth Science
Going Toward: 8th Grade Introduction to Physics and Chemistry
This year I am building a life science course out of two texts that aren't beefy enough to stand on their own as a full year of science and two lab resource books.
This is the second year of my attempt to get Emma a fast but comprehensive survey of what is out there in terms of science. I'm of the opinion that science is best learned by doing it and none of her prior science instruction included much hands on experimentation. There are also some gaps because she moved from public to private school. I can't wait to begin a prescribed science sequence next year where I just buy a textbook and a course plan with pre-constructed lab exercises!
I thought I was going to manage to have a textbook and course plan for this year, too, but when I received the copy of John Tiner's Exploring the World of Biology and the Memoria Press Student Workbook that matches it, I realized that, while it was easy to read, it focused more on memorable scientific anecdotes than it did on a comprehensive instruction of scientific facts. Tiner's book isn't erroneous and may be just what you need to engage a student (or parent) who doesn't love science. (Clicking the cover images in this post will take you to an Amazon affiliate page. I may make a commission if you purchase through my links.)
We needed to add greater depth. I turned to my shelf of interesting bits (mostly beloved favorites from my own distant middle school years) and pulled out Lyrical Life Science Volume One. This is another textbook and workbook combination that isn't quite enough to stand on its own for a full year. It focuses more on being a system for remembering facts without a lot of historical context or application around them so it is the perfect companion for the Tiner volume. I have the old cassette (just how long ago was middle school?) so I went to order a more modern version of the music and was amused to discover that I was going to get a bonus lesson about how scientific knowledge is constantly changing. How's that? The chapters regarding Protozoa and Algae have been updated to reflect a recent change to the classification structure of these organisms. If you decide to use this book, make sure you download the updated pages for free on the Lyrical Learning website.
I built a quick spreadsheet to line up the contents of the two books. Because the Tiner workbook included unit tests, I used it to establish order and reordered the Lyrical Life Science chapters. Sometimes, I had to split a chapter in one book or the other to line up the two books. With the contents lined up, I started searching for my lab components. Back to my shelf of interesting bits! I know I've got good resources when they're still in print a generation later.
I line up the textbook chapters with a lab exercise or two and get a list like this to split up into daily assignments.
Week 1: Scientific Method and Intro to Microscopes
Week 2: Living Things and more Intro to Microscopes
Week 3 & 4: Microscopic Life, Fungi, and Experiments with Yeast
Week 5: Protists and Observation of Protists
Week 6: Bacteria, Classifying Bacteria Under the Microscope, and Experiments with Yogurt
If you needed to buy every book on this list brand new, you'd pay $62.00. You'll be able to find them for much less if you buy used.
Coming next: 7th Grade Life Science Lab Supplies