Monday, February 17, 2014

Curriculum Review: Exploration Education Advanced

My daughter began using Exploration Education at the beginning of this schoool year. Our intent for using it was that she would be able to be earning high school credit for Physical Science. We also added in some biographies about inventors to add a bit of meat to her science studies. So far she is doing great with this computer based curriculum and is able to complete it mostly independently.
When you order the complete curriculum everything comes packaged in a nice, sturdy box. All supplies needed for the experiments and projects are individually packaged and labeled. Also included
is a student logbook, a CD with the textbook on it, and a teacher answer key. (Don't miss the answer key! It has helped us out multiple times throughout the year!) You do need to supply a low-temp glue gun and glue sticks. They do give many warnings about using a low-temp glue gun and I highly suggest following the warnings (ask us how we know...that's right, we learned the hard way). Also sprinkled throughout the instructions are suggestions for when parent supervision is required. I appreciate all of these warnings and am happy to supervise any time that I am needed.
The student logbook is used to record answers to the questions asked in the main curriculum. Students read through the text book which is either online or on a CD-rom. During their reading they will be asked review/comprehension questions. Students answer the questions on the screen and then copy the answers down into their logbook.  This is another feature which I love about this particular curriculum. The student can't continue until they get the correct answer. This means that in order to get the correct answer, the student usually needs to re-read portions of the lesson.

The logbook is also used to record their experiment results. Several times throughout the course of the year, students are instructed to design their own experiment. Don't worry, they don't need to think of everything from scratch. The logbook gives suggestions and guidelines as well as several tips about conducting a successful science experiment. 

This curriculum also suggests when and what to review for the periodic tests. The tests are located in the answer key, simply copy them and have your child take them. Since this was my daughter's first time with taking this kind of test I had her take the test in 2 parts. The first time through the test she answered all of the questions that she could answer on her own. The second time through she used the logbook or the computer based text book to answer the questions. I had her use a different color of ink for the second part of the test. This showed me what she truly knew and what she only kinda knew because she had to look it up. After I grade the test, we discuss what she missed. We also discuss how this exercise is teaching her to learn how to study which is a very useful skill to be mastered.

My daughter has completed some pretty amazing projects this year. My personal favorite was the glider...talk about impressive! It did take some extra time in construction, but it was enjoyable. The parts of the glider were all broken down into manageable steps so it wasn't overwhelming. She has also made a steam boat, a miniature house complete with electric wiring, a balance scale, and a working car. 
She has been working through the advanced version of this curriculum. There are 3 different levels: elementary, standard, and advanced. The elementary version is recommended for grades K-3, the standard is recommended for grades 4-6, and the advanced is recommended for grades 7-12. The advanced states that is worthy of high school credit. I'm going to be giving my daughter credit for completing this course as a physical science credit. I also think that adding in the scientist biographies was a great idea and helped her to obtain complete credit for this course time-wise.

The main difference between the advanced version and the standard version is that the advanced version of this curriculum is a 5 day per week program. We have managed to complete the amount of work in 4 days since we work on a 4 day per week schedule. The standard versions completes all of the same work on days 1-3 as the advanced version, then the advanced version completes 2 more days of additional experiments and projects based on the projects completed during days 1-3.

At one point I had considered purchasing the elementary version for my son who adores science. I decided against that because I wasn't sure how truly independent the elementary versions would be. However my son has observed my daughter complete her projects with great interest and is looking forward to the time when he can also do such cool science. My daughter has been able to complete this curriculum mostly independently. Occasionally I have had to step in and help her, but really not very often. I probably helped her more during the beginning lessons so that she could get into a routine of this curriculum, which is so very different from anything else we have used in the past. I think this has been a very successful year for her. She is about 2/3 of the way through the curriculum and it is still enjoyable.
I do wish the text book was an actual text book. This is the only negative that I can truly think about this science curriculum. It is so well written and so extremely user friendly that I have gotten over that easily. It is written to the student and the student truly can be successful on their own. Perfect for the up and coming high school student!

Follow me on BlogLovin!

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting such a in-depth review. We're getting ready for Rev2Rev this summer. I will have a 7th and 8th grader doing the advanced kit. That's a good idea about the test-taking, with two different inks. I'll have to keep that in mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope your children enjoy Rev2Rev as much as we have...especially the science! it has really been fabulous for us this year. I hope this company is considering other science courses.

      Delete
  2. This was such fun to read! The science kit in RevtoRev remains a favorite of our son's as well!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What grade is your daughter? Was the Advanced very time consuming to do? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter completed EE during her 8th grade school year. She was 13-14 years old. I did not feel that it was terribly time consuming however the 5th day was a challenge to fit into a 4 day school week. We ended up combining days 1&2 into 1 day and then doing days 3, 4, & 5 each on the next 3 days so she didn't have to do any work on Fridays. It worked well. I did feel like sometimes day 5 was a bit longer than the other 4 days. Honestly I hunk all the really cool projects were completed in that fifth day using the advanced curriculum. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  4. Thank you very much for replying. I have a rising 7th grader (12 years old next month) and I can't decide whether to get the standard (per HOD recommendation) or advanced.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do think you need to consider your reasons for advanced or standard. If you go the standard route she will have 3 days per week of science and will most likely be able to complete much of it on her own. If you go the advanced route, there may be several times that you will need to step in and help (I did have to do this occasionally). Also there will be work to do daily 5 days each week, so that is another consideration. Have you contacted the Exploration Education company for their opinion? They were very helpful when I contacted them with some questions.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much for you help!!! I think I'll go with the standard so we can finish lessons without stressing :) I appreciate your quick response.

      Delete
  5. Thank you for your thorough review! My daughter will be using the advanced kit next year for 9th grade Physical Science and it really helps to see it in action. I will have to check to make sure our glue gun is a low temperature gun. I remember my mother crafting with her glue gun and she always had a glass of ice water beside her just in case. It was used often. Lol Has it worked out to complete the projects in the kitchen? We do not really have a workshop so I am hoping we can make do at our kitchen counter. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it worked very well for her to work in the kitchen. Sometimes she worked at a small table set up beside the computer as well.

      Delete
  6. Thank you for reviewing.. pictures are worth a thousand words.. What is rev2rev??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. rev2rev= Hear of Dakota Revival to Revolution :)

      Delete

I'm always interested in hearing what you think! Share your thoughts here: