Our Experiences with Bridgeway Academy’s Apologia Biology Course & Lab 2017-2018 (Plus a Coupon)

I can hardly believe it, but we are in the final few weeks of my son Jackson’s 10th grade homeschool year.  We were incredibly blessed to be able to partner with Bridgeway Academy this year, and Jackson took his high school biology course–Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology (FYC Biology Course w/Lab)–online with them.  I couldn’t be happier with Jackson’s experiences, and I’d love to share our final thoughts with you as the semester winds down!



Bridgeway Academy

Are you familiar with Bridgeway Academy?  The company provides accredited homeschool options that can fit any family’s lifestyle. From customized textbook and online options to live online and blended learning, Bridgeway helps families find exactly what they need for a successful homeschooling year.  Live courses, which are attended online by students in first grade all the way through 12th grade, provide fascinating academic experiences for families. In fact, thousands of students have participated in Bridgeway Academy Learning Lab classes from 1989 to the present day.  And parents will be interested to know that 92% of Bridgeway Academy enrolled students proceed to their first choice college!


High School Biology & Lab with Apologia

Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology is the course I had always hoped and intended to use with my son for his high school biology credits.  The textbook is both rigorous and intellectually challenging, and covers biology in an interesting way.  Chapters cover the following topics:

  • the definitions of life and biology plus classification, taxonomy, and biological keys
  • Kingdoms Monera, Protista, and Fungi
  • the chemistry of life
  • the cell, cellular reproduction, and DNA
  • Mendel and Genetics
  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Kingdom Animalia (invertebrates, arthropoda, chordata)
  • Kingdom Plantae
  • Reptiles, birds, and mammals

Each chapter also includes two challenging review sections (for test preparation), experiments, and question-and-answer portions in addition to text, vivid photos and diagrams.  This is the textbook that is utilized by Bridgeway Academy in the FYC Biology Course w/Lab, along with the company’s Biology Lab Kit.  The lab kit provides everything from a stainless steel dissection kit, lab supplies, and 7 lab specimens (earthworm, grasshopper, perch, crayfish, frog, cow eye, and fetal pig) for the dissections that are covered in the course.  When the student completes this course (with a D average or above) he’ll have accumulated 1.5 academic credits for both the biology course and lab.


High School Biology with Bridgeway Academy

So, what does Bridgeway Academy bring to the table when they’re offering an online course with the already-excellent Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology?  What would you think if I answered, “More than I could have imagined!”

First of all, they provide an exceptional online classroom experience.  Bridgeway Academy utilizes Moodle for its online classrooms.  Collaborate within Moodle allows students to attend classes alongside their peers who are taking the same class.  The teacher teaches the class via video and students can interact with him/her and with each other using their own computers’ cameras or text chat.  Moodle also provides a way for teachers to administer tests and daily or weekly assignments.  Students upload their assignments and projects to Moodle, where teachers grade them and a record of work is kept.  Technologically, Moodle made it very easy for Jackson to interact with his class, stay up-to-date on his assignments, and keep track of his work.  There were a few times where Moodle had glitches but they were few and far between.  And if you are taking an online class, that’s exactly what you need and want!

Secondly, Bridgeway Academy hires interesting instructors who bring years of education and training to the classroom.  Jackson’s biology teacher, Mrs. Carla Berg, is an experienced and accredited scientist and educator.  In every single class, Mrs. Berg brought impeccable scientific training to make her classes interesting and exciting to the students.  But just as important, she brought excellent classroom management abilities to bear as she guided students through their own interactions with the class.  I’m sure that she is also well-aware that students have different learning styles, because I saw her utilize classroom activities for visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners in every class.  She also varied classroom activities every week, which helped her students stay engaged and learning all semester long.



Third, Bridgeway Academy provided a learning experience with this high school biology class that truly exceeded the best that I could have done myself.  I am interested in science.  But I freely admit to you that I am not a trained scientist, nor is high school biology my forte.  And honestly, the very thought of dissections…well, those also are not my forte!  But with Bridgeway Academy, I didn’t have to excel at any of those things.  Instead, Jackson was able to take a top-notch, academically rigorous, well-done biology class taught by an experienced teacher whose love for science poured out in each class.



What I’d like for you to know about our experiences

There are so many positive outcomes that both Jackson and I have experienced during our high school biology year with Bridgeway Academy.  (More than I could actually fit into a blog post!)  But there are things I’d love to share about them here.  (And I’ll try my best to keep the list from becoming too lengthy!)

  • He has received an exceptional education in high school biology that has prepared him well for college science coursework
  • He was challenged to produce his best work continuously throughout the year, whether it was on tests and projects, in-class participation, or daily reading and Q&As
  • He had the benefit of a well-educated and interesting instructor who was committed to her students’ success
  • Bridgeway Academy’s Moodle provided excellent record-keeping for each student (including a portfolio download option)



Does that sound amazing to you as a homeschool mom or as a student?  I just cannot speak highly enough about Bridgeway Academy and their incredible classes.  If you’d like to discover more about Bridgeway Academy, visit Bridgeway Academy Learning Labs and check out their extensive list of awesome online courses.  Whether your student is in the elementary, middle school, or high school grades, you’ll find some incredible options.

And just so you know, Bridgeway Academy would like to provide a coupon for you to use when you sign your child up for a class!  Just use coupon code WREN18 when you visit the Bridgeway Academy site to receive  10% off any Learning Lab purchase.  (Coupon expires June 1, 2018.)

Enjoy–and think of Bridgeway Academy when you’re considering your child’s next homeschool courses!  –Wren

Bridgeway Academy on social media:

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/HomeschoolingHelp

Twitter- https://twitter.com/bridgewayvoice/

Pinterest- https://www.pinterest.com/bridgewayacademy/

YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/user/bwacademy

Blog- http://www.homeschoolacademy.com/blog/


DISCLAIMER:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.



“Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal” from Apologia ~ A TOS Review

Have you ever wished you had a way to record all the amazing field trips your children take?  If you have, then Apologia Educational Ministries‘ new Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal will delight you!  We recently received a copy to review and it really inspired us!

Apologia FT 2

We have taken dozens of amazing field trips throughout our years of homeschooling.  And yes, we do have pictures and memorabilia from them.  But, other than in our lesson planners and photo albums, we don’t have a spot where we can collect all those amazing memories into one place.

Apologia to the rescue!  Their incredible Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal is everything I’ve been looking for and more, so that my son can record all the cool experiences we’ve had on field trips.  And it’s not only full of journaling pages to complete!  It has many other neat resources and even ideas for families to explore.  This 8 1/2″ x 11″ spiral-bound book is laminated on the front and back cover, so it’s very durable (and should last you as long as it takes to fill it up!).  Then, the pages themselves are colorful and made of stock card.  So the entire journal is very sturdy (as well as beautiful–it’s decorative AND functional!).  The journal pages are also very creatively arranged, with fantastic graphic designs, which makes them fun to fill out.

There are pages on “Preparing for a Field Trip,” which include tips for parents, kids and teachers to use before and during the experiences.  There are lists of field trip ideas (over a hundred!), so parents can use this as a planning resource.  There are pages where children can list field trips taken, and even maps where they can mark the places they’ve visited.

from our trip to the art museum

from our trip to the art museum

Then, a big chunk of the journal is devoted to “Specific Trip” pages.  These two-page facing layouts offer students creative ways to talk about their field trips and how they impacted them.  There are journaling lines as well as drawing space on these pages.  Students can take these journals on their field trips, or leave them at home and record their memories when they return.

The next segment is called “My Special Spot.”  This is an innovative section where students can select a special place they enjoy in the great outdoors.  Anywhere–as long as it’s not inside!  They then set aside time to visit and record their experiences in this spot—once in every season.  What an inventive way to help kids to notice and experience their world!

The last portion of the journal, “As I See It,” is a section of blank pages with writing prompts or simply empty spaces to fill.  These can just be records of a child’s thoughts, observations, imaginative experiences—anything they’d like to record!


from a special  field trip

record of a special field trip

Our thoughts about the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal

First, I have to say that we ALWAYS love Apologia’s books and curricula.  There hasn’t been one thing we’ve used from this company that has not failed to impress us and inspire us.  So, our expectations were fairly high!

But those expectations weren’t only met, they were exceeded.  I loved the colorful layout and presentation of each and every page.  It is truly a gorgeous book!  There isn’t a child out there, I believe, who wouldn’t be excited to use this journal for field trips.  The laminated cover and stock card pages make it durable outside and sturdy inside for attaching memorabilia and photos.

from a special walk

from a special walk

I also love the way Apologia encourages creativity in children; and, in our busy and technology-driven world, helps them to slow down and experience the world around them.  And, gets them outside, as well as offering them ways and space to record their lives and interesting experiences.

My son, who’s 13, truly enjoyed the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal.  We didn’t have any field trips scheduled for the early part of this semester, and being able to review this new resource from Apologia really whetted our appetites for fun ones!  We got to set aside time for three very different ones (a special trip to the movies, an art museum, and an unusual event at a public garden).  We not only loved the field trips, but Jackson loved having a cool journal to record his ideas and experiences.

You can purchase the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal from Apologia Educational Ministries for $22.  You can also see sample pages at their website.  It is a fabulous tool for any homeschooling family!
You can learn more about Apologia at their social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld/timeline
Twitter: https://twitter.com/apologiaworld
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/apologia/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal ReviewCrew DisclaimerEnjoy! –Wren

TOS Review: Apologia iWitness

Apologia ReviewWe are huge fans of Apologia Educational Ministries.  You can imagine, therefore, how excited we were to review some new books from Apologia; iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness and Old Testament iWitness.

Have you ever wanted to know more about how the Bible came into existence?  Many of us have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and know a little about how they authenticate not only books of the Old Testament but also their accuracy.  We’ve heard of the early church fathers and about how church councils met on decisions of which ancient texts fit the guidelines for inclusion in the canon of Scripture…and which didn’t.  We may even have heard a bit about archaeological finds which gave credence to history as it’s revealed in the Bible.  Have you ever wondered about how to teach your children these things, or about the history of the Christian church after the canon of Scripture was considered closed?  That’s a whole lot of world history, discoveries and documentation we’re talking about!  I’ve never felt that I personally had a good understanding of all that, or that I knew how to teach these things to Jackson.

Apologia’s new books by Doug Powell enabled me to do just that.  Each book shares historical finds, documents and archaeology which underscore the Bible, its kings, people and events.  They’re written for readers aged 11 and up.  And, the author presents these discoveries in a very user-friendly and fascinating way!  The information is presented in bite-sized chunks in fun fonts with incredible pictures of ancient art, manuscripts, scrolls and mosaics, which makes for highly interesting reading in all of the books.

Apologia ReviewOld Testament iWitness

We started reading these books to closes out our morning Bible times, and we started with Old Testament iWitness.  This one begins with a description of Hebrew manuscripts; how they were stored and cared for, what happened when they became torn or damaged, and the extreme accuracy with which the scribes copied them.  How were the books of the Old Testament selected to be included in the canon of Scripture?  Powell shares with us 4 criteria that Jews over the centuries used to determine this.  We learn about the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible, and its three components; the Torah, the Nevi’im (“the Prophets”) and the Ketuvi’im (“the Writings”).  The Torah is, of course, the first five books of the Tanakh, written by Moses.  The Nevi’im, or the eight books of the Prophets, includes such books as Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and the 12 Minor Prophets.  The Ketuvi’im is composed of the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, The Scrolls (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther), Daniel, Ezra and Chronicles.  After introducing these categories to us, Powell teaches us more about each section and its importance to the Jewish people.a Fall 2014 214

We also learn about the Septuagint and its importance; covenants; and specific data about the authors of each book, when they lived and why they wrote.  Powell describes and defines for us the Apocrypha, the Vulgate, the Intertestamental Period and a bit about the Bible and archaeology.  He even includes a timeline of what happened when in the Old Testament and during the periods of the kings of Israel and Judah, and the captivities and returns.  It is a truly excellent resource, and can be a great foundation for anyone’s understanding of the Hebrew Bible.

Apologia Review
New Testament iWitness

We then delved into the next two books.  Powell’s New Testament iWitness follows a similar pattern to his Old Testament iWitness.  He opens with the Councils of Carthage and Hippo (A.D. 393 and 397), and makes the point that these councils didn’t “select” books for the New Testament; rather, they simply “recognized what the church had always believed in.”  Powell then introduces us to the criteria for what could be recognized as Scripture, and how any book or writing considered for this had to meet each one of those criteria.  We learn about early church fathers like Athanasius, Eusebius, Tertullian and others.

New Testament iWitness also discusses the hymns and creeds which were developed not only for worship, but for teaching doctrine to early believers.  (Remember that many people weren’t able to read, or have their own copies of the Bible during this time.)  Each of these came directly from Scripture, and Powell even shares their references with us.

Did you know that there were books considered for the New Testament, or canon, that were rejected?  Early believers considered these to be useful for teaching or for encouragement, but they didn’t meet the criteria for church canon.  So the church was careful to delineate between these and actual books of the Bible.

One of the most fascinating pieces of historical fact in this book is the number of surviving manuscripts of the New Testament as contrasted with other early historical documents, and over how long a time period they were written.  For example, there are 5,813 copies of the New Testament written over a period of 30-60 years.  The next closest document in terms of total number is Homer’s Iliad; there are 1,757 copies written over a course of 500 years.  Other documents are mentioned (from Demosthenes, Plato, Pliny the elder and others) but none of them comes close to the New Testament’s total number of manuscripts or the short time period of their writings.

Apologia ReviewiWitness Biblical Archaeology

This book has an absolutely incredible account of historical finds that underscore the truths and realities of the people, places and events of the Bible.  From Egyptian temples and chronologies, to the Gilgamesh Epic, to finds at Nineveh, to the Ishtar Gate in Babylon, the personalities, triumphs and tragedies of God’s Word are proven time and time again in archeological discoveries.  Not only Old Testament histories (including the Dead Sea Scrolls) are mentioned, however; Powell shows us finds from the eras of Hadrian and Constantine.  And there are many proofs of the New Testament times, with documentation of figures from Jesus’ time and following.  For anyone, whether archaeological novice, Bible scholar, historian or just plain student, iWitness Biblical Archaeology is a fascinating read!


We have enjoyed learning so much from these three slim volumes.  Powell’s books seem to be well-researched and well-documented; in addition to the information and photos included in each book, there is a bibliography supporting all the information he covered.  Perhaps most important is the weight and validity of Scripture that all these books, and their historical data, prove.  I personally found that they taught all of us crucial things about church history, archaeology, and the early Jews and Christians.  These iWitness books provide both interest and excitement to a family’s historical studies or Bible times together!

iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness and Old Testament iWitness are all available from Apologia Educational Ministries.  Each volume costs $14.00.  I truly recommend them to you, especially if you have budding Bible scholars or history buffs among your children!  But even if you don’t, you’ll learn marvelous things about the Christian faith that will delight you and inspire you.

Click to read Crew Reviews 

Crew Disclaimer
Enjoy!  –Wren






TOS Crew Review: Apologia Educational Ministries–What On Earth Can I Do?

Apologia ReviewOur latest Crew review opportunity came from one of our all-time favorite companies:  Apologia Educational Ministries.  Apologia’s What On Earth Can I Do? from their What We Believe series has been just as rewarding, interesting and fulfilling as our other experiences with that company’s products….not to mention just plain enjoyable learning!

What We Believe is a worldview curriculum, written and produced by Apologia, that is comprised of a number of volumes which will help children (along with their parents) learn and solidify within themselves some key components of the Christian faith.  What On Earth Can I Do? and its 3 companion pieces are part of this set and yet can also be done as a stand-alone study.  It’s designed to be used best with students in grades 1-6; depending on the students’ ages the reading can be done together with a parent or by the student, on his own.

Last year, when Jackson and I were able to review Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics (you can see my review here), he and I fell ardently in love with the company and its products.  Apologia has a way of deeply connecting the students with the text and the lessons being imparted, whether it’s through engaging stories or accounts, fascinating experiments or hands-on activities which underscore the lessons.  What On Earth Can I Do? utilizes all those wonderful methods we discovered initially in Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics and produces, in the end, a fantastic study on personal purpose, stewardship, the Bible and history which will engage and enthrall your students.

What’s Included in What On Earth Can I Do?

There are 4 components which can be used together in What On Earth Can I Do?   These  are a hardback volume of What On Earth Can I Do? which is just larger than 8 1/2″ x 11″; the spiral-bound What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal (for upper elementary students); the spiral-bound What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal (for younger elementary students); and the softcover What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book.  I’d like to tell you a little about each of these, and how we used them.

Apologia ReviewWhat On Earth Can I Do?, the hardback volume, is the spine of this portion of the What We Believe series.  It is a 294-page, 8-lesson book whose subtitle is “Biblical Worldview of Stewardship.”  Each chapter is 35-40 pages long, and includes true stories of faithful men and women who made a real difference in the lives of others.  Maria von Trapp, Corrie ten Boom, Winston Churchill, Sir Walter Raleigh, Charlie Chaplin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Gladys Aylward and many others are introduced, and key points of their characters and personal strengths are given as examples of both faithful stewardship and lives well-lived.  Each chapter also contains short stories of children and adults who face challenging situations, and the responses they gave.  Accounts of Bible characters and parables of Jesus also reinforce the main ideas of each chapter.  The eight lessons/chapters are:

  • Your Story or God’s Story?
  • Who Put You In Charge?
  • Will You Be Found Faithful?
  • Where Is Your Treasure?
  • Where Does Your Time Go?
  • Whose Life Is It Anyway?
  • Why Isn’t It Easy Being Green?
  • What Will Happen When the Master Returns?

March 2012 210These pages are wonderfully engaging for either reading aloud or for the student to read to himself.  The stories are captivating, the artwork (which includes historical photographs, famous paintings, and current-day photos) is intriguing and fascinating, and each lesson will encourage the reader to strive for growth, faithfulness and integrity.  As with all of Apologia’s products, these books encourage in the student the desire to pursue the things which are “right, good, lovely, noble, of good report,” as well as “perseverance, brotherly kindness, self-control and love” in our dealings with each other as families and as individuals.

Apologia Review What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal is an excellent companion piece to What On Earth Can I Do?  It is primarily to be used by the student, but at the beginning it also includes a recommended lesson plan grid that schedules daily readings from the hardback volume plus the accompanying activities in the Notebooking Journal.  I’ve run into this helpful option before with Apologia and really appreciate it.  There is so much in each lesson, yet it’s at the same time so engaging and readable, that you’d really be tempted to just sit down and read through the entire thing without stopping!  The Notebooking Journal enables you to withstand that temptation and take it more slowly by breaking up the reading in the chapters and completing the accompanying activities, giving the student more time and opportunities to absorb what’s being taught.  Here’s a short list of some of the journaling activities:

  • Q&As about each reading assignment
  • Crossword puzzles and word finds from chapter topics, characters and vocabulary
  • Bible memory verses
  • Defining vocabulary words
  • Creative activities like photo collages of the student’s life, cooking, making mini-books and more
  • Journaling about what the student is learning about himself and his part in God’s creation
  • “Find Out More” sections with additional things to do, books to read, movies to watch and songs to sing that connect to the chapters’ themes

Each one of these activities deepens and makes personal for the student the things he’s learning in each chapter, in addition to providing fun and enjoyable learning.  I’ve found that with children, the activities and experiments that we do in lessons are often the things that they really remember, and that make the topics real for them.

Apologia Review The What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal, for younger students, is written in the same way as the What On Earth Can I Do?Notebooking Journal.  It includes a lesson plan grid and many of the same activities; however, activities are simplified for younger readers.  They’re still every bit as useful and thought-provoking for the student, however.

Apologia Review
The last resource in this collection is the What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book.  This softcover 64-page book has coloring pages of scenes, Bible stories, Bible verses and famous personages from the What On Earth Can I Do? book.  It is a sweet resource, and if your child enjoys coloring, he or she will love the pages that are fun to color while imparting kindness and encouragement as the child recalls the connecting lessons!

How did we use this?

What On Earth Can I Do? is set against the backdrop of World War II and those whom Tom Brokaw christened the “Greatest Generation.”  A fictional British family’s experience of these years is woven throughout the chapters.  This helps make the historical events even more tangible to the reader; the family experiences the children’s (almost) evacuation of London, housing German POWs, Churchill’s BBC radio addresses, their father’s experiences as an RAF pilot, air raids, victory gardens and more.  And we also see what made this generation so great: the vision, passion and perseverance of Winston Churchill; the faithful leadership of King George VI, who never expected to be king yet stepped up to the crown and provided a stabilizing influence on Britain; and the examples of others, lesser-known then but very well-known to us now like Bonhoeffer and ten Boom.

A mini-book and a word search from Lesson One

A mini-book and a word search from Lesson One

This historical period is one of our family’s favorites to study, and it was wonderful to study it through the eyes of faith. What made that generation so great?  What made them so willing and ready to sacrifice, to speak up for the protection of the oppressed, to vigilantly stand against the forces of evil?  What On Earth Can I Do? expresses the answers to these questions in ways our children can truly understand, and helps them to desire to build in themselves, with God’s help, the same kinds of character and fortitude.

Often, we followed the recommendations of the lesson plan grid included in the What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal.  Often, but not always!  Since Jackson is on the older end of the age spectrum for this series, we generally read more than the lesson plan called for, plus we utilized the accompanying activities in the Notebooking Journal.  Jackson drew, journaled, baked, composed a collage of his life, and answered questions that really made him think (yes, even at this early age) about God’s purpose for his life.  And we enjoyed every single minute of our reading and activities.

Blueberry muffins, an illustration used to describe how the universe is expanding

Blueberry muffins, an illustration used to describe how the universe is expanding

In addition to the fact that the reading material is inspirational and fascinating, and the journaling activities are both enjoyable and useful,  students using What On Earth Can I Do? will actually have the opportunity to grow in their knowledge of God, of His purposes and plans for every human life, and in their own desire to follow Him and know Him.  You certainly can’t say that about every curriculum, can you?

Our final thoughts:

Would we recommend What On Earth Can I Do? for other families?  The answer is a resounding “yes!”  Parents who long to disciple their children, to teach them the ways of Christ, to build character and life in them will love using anything from Apologia but especially What On Earth Can I Do?  For the truth is, there is a calling and a plan for every one of our children.  They have been given gifts, talents and abilities that can impact the world around them for good and for God.  What On Earth Can I Do? is a fantastic, inspiring and enjoyable resource that parents can use with their children to build strength, faith and character while casting a vision for their children’s futures.  It is encouraging, sweet and uplifting.  You and your children will love it!

What On Earth Can I Do? is available at Apologia Educational Ministries, at the following links for the accompanying prices:

Other Crew members used and reviewed the What On Earth Can I Do? curricula.  You can read about their experiences at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!

Crew Disclaimer Enjoy!  –Wren





Science and Density: Lava Lamps

We are nearing the end of chapter 1 in Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics today….so today, we got to make lava lamps!

Of course the cool factor of lava lamps can’t be denied.  One of Jackson’s friends has an actual working lava lamp in his bedroom.  We talk about it almost every time we go over there to hang out.

Chapter 1 of Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is all about matter and its properties.  We’ve learned about matter’s:

  • volume, displacement, mass and density
  • buoyancy
  • luster, color, shape and hardness
  • smell and a little about magnetism

Each one of these had at least one experiment to demonstrate exactly what the term meant.  For example, when we learned about density we did a fascinating experiment that contrasted the densities of different liquids with the densities of objects dropped into them:

Testing the densities of solid objects against the densities of different liquids

Testing the densities of solid objects against the densities of different liquids

Today we learned a little more about density as we constructed three lava lamps!  We were reminded that not only do different liquids have varying densities, but that gases have densities that react or interact with the liquids as well.

Gases bubbling up through the liquids of our lava lamps

Gases bubbling up through the liquids of our lava lamps

We’re also using a great living history book that is proving to be a wonderful companion piece to this chemistry and physics course:  Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick.  Not only is this a captivating historical read, but after you get through the introductory chapters that establish setting, many of the chapters deal with Archimedes’ discoveries and experiments.  And often, these illustrate principles that we’re learning about here, or will get to later in the course, like levers, displacement, and simple machines.

Jan 13 2014 006I selected this book because Jackson really loves science and we’ll be studying ancient Greece later in Story of the World Vol. 1.  Little did I know that it would be a perfect addendum to our science!

Enjoy!  (We sure are!)  –Wren