Review of Science Shepherd

Science Shepherd ReviewAs you all know, my seven-year old daughter wants to be a scientist when she grows up.  She really does love all things science, so when we were given the opportunity to review the Introductory Science program from Science Shepherd, I jumped at the chance!  A7 and I have been enjoying their daily lessons ever since.

What is Introductory Science?

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Introductory Science is a Bible and creation-based, complete 35 week science curriculum aimed at elementary students (ages 6-11).  This is a video course which includes:

  • On demand short (2-5 minutes long) teaching videos
  • A student book, which comes in two levels A and B depending on the age of your student.  We used student book A for A7.
  • An answer book
  • Many hands-on activities are included in the student work book and demonstrated in the videos

The Video Component of Introductory Science

I have to be honest, when I watched the first video I thought A7 would probably find it a bit dry.  Dr Hardin presents the topics from behind what looks like a news desk, using graphics to add to the information he is reading from an auto-cue:

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The first set of videos talked about creation, and having covered that multiple times I wasn’t sure it would hold A7’s rather renowned tenuous attention.  I could not have been more wrong.  A adored this curriculum from the word go, and very enthusiastically completed the work book assignments each day.

Introductory Science covers an enormous amount over 35 weeks:

  • The Truth of God’s word (week 1 and 2)
  • Science Skills and tools (week 3)
  • Earth Science: Meteorology (week 4, 5 and 6)
  • Earth Science: Geology (week 7, 8 and 9)
  • Earth Science: Oceanography (week 10)
  • Life Science: Plants (week 11, 12 and 13)
  • Earth Science: Astronomy (week 14 and 15)
  • Life Science: Underwater Creatures (week 16 and 17)
  • Life Science: Flying Creatures (week 18, 19 and 20)
  • Life Science: Land Creatures (week 21, 22 and 23)
  • Life Science: Human Beings (week 24 and 25)
  • Life Science: Be Healthy (week 27)
  • Life Science: Ecology and Natural Resources (week 28 and 29)
  • Physical Science: Matter (week 30 and 31)
  • Physical Science: Energy (week 32 and 33)
  • Physical Science: Motion (week 34)
  • Physical Science: Magnets (week 35)

I always sat and watched the videos with her, and as time went on, I could definitely see the appeal.  They were straightforward, authoritative, always backed up by scripture, and importantly they were really thorough.  During the second week A7 learnt about the experimental method:

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I knew she was taking it on board because later on in the week she began setting up her own experiments, but it wasn’t until we hit the Meteorology lessons that I really appreciated what a gem this course actually is.  Dr Hardin does not water down this topic at all, and even though I have a Bachelor of Science degree there was lots I didn’t know.  Again, he presents it in such a way that it was easy for my seven-year old to understand, yet in-depth enough to hold my attention.

During weeks 4, 5 and 6 the focus is on meteorology and Dr Hardin effortlessly covers atmosphere, weather, precipitation, water cycle, temperature, seasons, storms, thunder, lightening, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes and the Great Flood.  We are only half way through these but have learnt so much!

The Activity Component of Introductory Science

In addition to the teaching videos, there are extra activity videos.  These activities are carried out by his twin daughters, and are very easy to replicate at home:

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In fact, these videos ensure we always do the activities which go with the theory each week, because once A has seen an activity she nags me until she has done it, and if I am really struggling for time she simply copies the girls in the video and carries out the activity herself!

She has observed how condensation forms using iced water in a metal can and compared it to a can filled only with warm water.

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The water vapour in the air turns to water vapour as it touches the cold tin can.  This showed A that air contains water:

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We also observed how cold naturally does not like to mix with warm.  We needed some blue dyed ice and some red food dye along with a see through container containing warm water:

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A7 added the ice cubes to one end and the red food dye to the other:

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Immediately the ice began to melt and the blue coloured water moved towards the bottom of the container.  The red food dye began to spread out also:

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As the cold blue met with the warm red they avoided mixing as the cold blue stayed at the bottom of the container whilst the warm red moved above the blue:

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A7 was then able to understand that the winds cause the cold air and the warm air to mix (which they do not like to do) and that this is how storms are formed in the skies.

The practicals were probably A7’s favourite part and they were pitched at the perfect level for her.

The Work-book Component of Introductory Science

The final part of the course is the student work book.  We received Work-book A for younger students.  A7 finds this very easy to do by herself, and given the quality of the teaching I was a little disappointed by the simplicity of the workbook questions.  They are often true or false, and do not require too much out of A7 in terms of thinking.  For A, though, this has been wonderful because she assumes she is finding it easy because she is so good at science!  I haven’t had the heart to tell her any different 😉

Our thoughts on Introductory Science

This is a deceptively good science program.  It is incredibly thorough for an introductory curriculum; it holds my seven-year old’s attention; she finds it interesting and is eager to do it each day.  What I particularly like, though, is just how well Dr Hardin explains sometimes tricky phenomena.  I know she understands completely because, when Daddy gets home each night, she explains clearly and concisely all she has learnt, whether it be how storms are created, or why we have seasons.  She loves it all and I am left wishing the older children had used it as well.

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