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Homeschool Science Curriculum For All Ages

mom helping high school girl with homeschool science

Homeschool Science with Berean Builders

At Berean Builders, we are committed to helping you create critical thinkers in your homeschool through our science courses covering every grade level. Whether science is your favorite subject, or it gives you pause, our courses bring clarity to scientific ideas and engaging experiments that bring the concepts to life.

Dr. Jay Wile has created a series of science courses created to help you teach science at home.

Wondering where to begin?

Take a look at your homeschool needs. We offer a list of questions and suggestions to help you get started.

Ready to dive into building critical thinkers? Let’s take a look at our courses designed to simplify teaching science at home while offering your student a well-defined path to understanding and solid preparation for further studies in college.

Homeschool Science Curriculum Options For Elementary School

For students at the elementary level, we offer fun and engaging learning opportunities through our chronological journey of science through history. If you’re excited for your student to follow along from the earliest scientific discoveries to modern-day advancements, this series is for you!

Elementary students are just starting to notice the science of the world around them. What better way to apply their wonder than to introduce basic scientific concepts found in everyday discoveries. While they are learning to read and write and perform mathematical operations, they can use their new-found skills to explore science through our courses.

Begin at the beginning with a look at the science of Creation. Dr. Wile presents the basics in an easy-to-understand format that opens up the world for your student to discover more. Dive into kitchen science with our hands-on experiments that follow along with the textbook concepts to help your student understand the science behind the explanations.

Throughout our Science through History courses, your student will follow the scientists of the ancient world and beyond to see how critical thinking played an enormous role in scientific developments.

From the ancient to the medieval to the scientific revolution ages your student will continue expanding on the information they gathered, hanging details on the hooks of their previous discoveries, all while improving those basic reading, writing, and math skills they’re learning  by documenting their studies in notebooks.

Our engaging elementary courses take your student from Creation to Marie Curie and offer a clear view of the science of our world in a way your elementary student will enjoy.

Science Curriculum For Homeschooling Middle School

Middle school and junior high courses take learning up a notch and bring students into the atomic age, along with our in-depth earth science course designed to go deeper into the elementary concepts your student has already learned.

By this stage, your student may be interested in online studies. Our courses create a dynamic environment for learning, participation, and feedback.

What if your student’s style doesn’t quite line up with our presentations? You’re in luck. We also offer self-paced recorded classes so your student can take their time over a concept or power through something they quickly understand.

The middle school science courses are customizable for your homeschool student, which makes Berean Builders science a good fit for many different learning styles.

High School Homeschool Curriculum For College Prep

High school science can sometimes be intimidating, but we got you. We offer high school level science courses in biology, chemistry, and physics, plus online classes and direct access to Dr. Wile for questions about concepts that may be puzzling.

Our courses present the sciences with an undercurrent of wonder about the design of our world and universe. With clear explanations and hands-on experiments, your high schooler will develop critical thinking skills that are necessary and applicable in college and university levels of learning.

Unsure which you should teach first in high school? Check out this article on the order of courses. (Hint: it has to do with math skills!)

Interested in offering your student honors courses to further ready them for college? Any of our high school courses can earn an honors credit when specific conditions are met. We detail these here.

Berean Builders In Your Homeschool

Whether your student wants to learn from a textbook or online, use audiobooks or pre-recorded lessons, Berean Builders has science presentations designed to fit all learning styles.

With plenty of real-world experiments to conduct right in your home, your student will have first-hand experiences with the concepts from our courses.

And when something is just not clicking, we’re here for you.

Science questions, course questions, experiment questions, technical support? Everything you need to bring science to your homeschool from elementary to middle school to high school is available right here at Berean Builders.

Start building your critical thinkers today.

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DNA and RNA: Homeschool Learning Resources

DNA and RNA learning resources

To properly study genetics, students must understand the fundamental components of DNA and RNA, the molecules of genetics. Not only will this knowledge enrich your students’ appreciation for God’s creation, this subject can also be a springboard into many other scientific discussions in biology and even biotechnology.

So how do you go about presenting DNA and RNA in your homeschool?

DNA and RNA Basics

Since DNA and RNA are complex concepts, first build a solid foundation of understanding. Begin with the basics, explaining that DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid) are essential molecules that carry genetic information.

You can use simple, age-appropriate analogies to make these concepts more accessible. For example, compare DNA to a blueprint that holds all the information needed to build and operate a house (the cell), while RNA is like a set of instructions that are read from the blueprint to create different components of the house.

DNA and RNA Structure

Students should understand the structure of DNA and RNA. Use models, diagrams, and visual aids to explain how DNA is composed of two long chains of nucleotides twisted into a double helix. Meanwhile, RNA is a single-stranded molecule with a similar nucleotide structure.

Use simple craft projects to help students create DNA and RNA models, which can be a fun and hands-on way to reinforce their understanding of these molecules. Even older students will enjoy building models to help them better visualize the microscopic intricacies of DNA.

Extracting DNA from a strawberry or banana is a popular activity for all grades where students can follow the process and see the strands that contain the instruction manual directing the growth of the fruit.

The Function of DNA

Introduce the primary function of DNA. Explain that DNA is the hereditary material that contains the instructions for building and maintaining an organism. Encourage students to think of DNA as the “data bank” that holds the information necessary for life.

Connect this to the study of genetics and probability by creating a family tree or pedigree chart to show how genes are inherited and passed down through generations.

DNA replication is a fundamental process in genetics that enables cells to make copies of their DNA. To help students grasp this concept, use a hands-on activity. You can compare DNA replication to unzipping a zipper and then zipping it up again, with each zipper side serving as a template for creating a new strand of DNA. This will make the process of DNA replication more tangible and understandable for young learners.

Label a paper zipper model with A, T, C, and G cutout shapes to show how these nucleotides fit together like puzzle pieces. Explain that this DNA “alphabet” forms DNA “words” which join together to form the “sentences” we call genes.

Along with teaching DNA is the study of RNA. Explain that RNA acts as a messenger, carrying instructions from DNA to the cellular machinery that builds proteins.

Variations and Mutations in DNA

To make the lessons more engaging, introduce the concepts of variations and mutations. Explain that mutations are changes in the DNA code that appear during replication. These “edits” can result from various factors, including exposure to radiation or chemicals or may simply be an error in translation.

You can use simple, everyday examples like a typographical error in a book to help students understand how mutations can lead to genetic variation and sometimes diseases. Explore interesting variations such as why some people think cilantro tastes like soap.

Genetics in General

Bringing the world of genetics into real-life contexts can make learning more meaningful. Discuss how genetics plays a role in various aspects of life, from the production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to understanding the genetic basis of inherited diseases.

Explore the work of famous geneticists and their contributions to the field, such as Gregor Mendel, James Watson and Francis Crick. You can even explore recent breakthroughs in genetics, like gene sequencing, cloning, and CRISPR gene editing, to showcase the evolving nature of the field.

DNA and RNA in Berean Builders Science Courses

We introduce Gregor Mendel in our Science in the Industrial Age course and explore DNA in our Science in the Atomic Age course and our Discovering Design with Biology.

Your homeschoolers will enjoy the conversational tone of our courses and the hands-on experiments we provide to bring science to life for your students. And as always, we provide plenty of resources and encouragement for you and are happy to answer any questions you or your students may have.

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Genetics and Probability: Homeschool Learning Resources

Homeschool life science and biology courses dive into the wonderful world of genetics and probability. While this can seem like a daunting subject, the courses at Berean Builders introduce these topics with conversational language and hands-on experiments to help students understand the complexities of how they work.

Family Genetics: Physical Traits and Medical History

You can begin to introduce the concept of genetics to your elementary school students by studying your own family and how some relatives carry the same hair color, eye color, or other traits through the generations.

And since our genetic makeup often determines our health and chances for medical problems, younger students can understand genetic tendencies to heart disease or other inherited issues in their family history.

Genetic Probability for Elementary Students

Heredity is complex and based on dominant and recessive gene characteristics, but your younger students can grasp probability with a simple activity using colored beads and a set of dice. Connect the colors to genetic traits and have them answer questions or create graphs related to how often a number or color appears.

You can also provide coins marked with various genetic traits and have the students keep up with the outcomes of a certain number of tosses. Include different traits, such as facial features, then have your student draw that face, or choose a pet and let probability determine its characteristics.

Of course, working with a small Punnett square can offer a clear comparison of simple traits that are dominant or recessive. Introduce Gregor Mendel, then use dog traits, flower traits, or even design-your-own-alien traits to make the activity fun.

Hands-On Genetics Experiments for Homeschool

Experiment with growing plants that can be cross-pollinated to chart leaf shapes or flower colors. Show how genetics is used in breeding programs to develop crops with desirable traits, such as drought resistance and higher yields. This microcosm of genetics can help students understand the bigger picture of traits in other plants, animals, and humans.

You can also cover animal husbandry to discuss how genetics is applied in animal breeding to enhance the quality of livestock throughout history and in modern day farming and ranching.

Teaching Genetics in High School

As your homeschool student moves into higher grades, you can expand the scope of study in genetics and probability. Include current events and related science announcements to encourage questions to research.

Explain the make-up of chromosomes and where genes are located. Explain that certain characteristics are carried only by X or Y chromosomes, making some traits (and diseases) more likely to appear in a specific gender. Show the basics of DNA structure and explore the double helix design. Include hands-on models to magnify the intricate workings of DNA.

Investigate blood types and how they are inherited, how transfusions work, and who can give blood to whom. Get an inexpensive blood-typing kit and test everyone in the family. This is another opportunity to sleuth out familial patterns as well as potential blood disorders that could appear in future generations.

Taking basic Mendelian concepts a step further, your student can explore more complex traits that involve multiple genes and environmental factors. These calculations require a bit more math knowledge and a few probability equations.

Explore how our environment affects our genetics. Can what we drink, eat, and breathe cause genetic mutations in our bodies? Knowing how mutations occur is a stepping stone to understanding how outside influences can cause changes in our bodies.

Introduce cloning and how the offspring are intended to be genetically identical to the parent. Open up a discussion about the ethics of genetic modification.

Notebooking Homeschool Genetics Lessons

We encourage you to have your students keep notebooks for their science courses. In these journals, your student can write, draw, paste pictures, and create charts and graphs of the interesting and important details they cover while learning about genetics. These notebooks are also excellent receptacles for experiment notes, plus they make great study tools for comprehension tests.

Homeschool Genetics from Berean Builders

Genetics surrounds us, and you can find many opportunities for your homeschool student to investigate and explore the great mysteries printed in our code of life.

Find genetics discussions and experiments in the following Berean Builders courses:

Science in the Industrial Age

Discovering Design With Biology

And if you have any questions about teaching genetics to your students, we are here to help with plenty of resources and reassurance.

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States of Matter: Homeschool Learning Resources

One exciting concept to explore in elementary and middle school homeschool is the states of matter. You can keep it simple for younger students and expand on the knowledge for a deeper exploration in middle school including non-Newtonian fluids and plasma.

Need some ideas about how to teach the states of matter for homeschool science? Let’s go!

What are the States of Matter?

Matter can exist in three primary states: solid, liquid, and gas. How the atoms and particles are arranged in a substance determines its state.

  1. Solid: In solids, particles are closely packed and have a fixed position. Solids have a definite shape and volume.
  2. Liquid: Liquid particles are more loosely arranged and can move past each other. Liquids have a volume that depends on temperature but take the shape of their container.
  3. Gas: Gaseous particles have a lot of space between them and move freely. Gases have a volume that depends on pressure and temperature but take the shape of their container
  4. Plasma: The most common state of matter in the universe, this very state makes up the Sun and stars. It consists of positively-charged particles and free electrons. While it can be made in a lab, it does not exist naturally on earth.
  5. Non-Newtonian Fluids: Solid or liquid? Yes! Depending on how much stress they are under, these fluids, like ketchup and oobleck, can take on the properties of a solid.

Learning About The States Of Matter

Start With Observation

One of the easiest ways to introduce your child to the states of matter is by engaging their natural sense of curiosity. Point out various objects during the day that show examples of the different states of matter. Pick up a rock or a stick on your walk. Touch the milk in the glass. Smell perfume or blow bubbles.

Use simple, everyday examples to illustrate the differences between the states of matter. Show how water can exist as ice (solid), liquid water, and steam (gas) at different temperatures.

Conduct Hands-On Experiments

Hands-on experiments are a powerful way to make abstract concepts more tangible. You can find experiments online, in books, and in our courses. Here are some simple experiments you can try:

  1. Freezing and Melting: Place water in an ice cube tray and observe how it changes from a liquid to a solid when you freeze it. Conversely, watch it melt back into a liquid when it warms up.
  2. Evaporation: Leave a container of water outside and monitor how it disappears over time, evaporating into the air.
  3. Balloons and Air: Blow up a balloon to illustrate the properties of a gas.
  4. Good Morning Coffee: A great way to start the day with states of matter is to observe the solid mug, the liquid coffee, and the steam rising from the coffee.
  5. Sublimation: Set out some dry ice and watch it turn directly to vapor.
  6. Oobleck: Explore the properties of a non-Newtonian fluid right in your kitchen.

Use Visual Aids

Visual aids like diagrams, pictures, and videos can help reinforce the concepts of states of matter. Use diagrams to illustrate the arrangement of particles in solids, liquids, and gases. Videos can show real-world examples of matter transitioning between these states.

Put your student’s creativity to work in their notebooks as they document their understanding of the topic. Or have them create a collage of pictures representing the different states of matter.

Dive Deeper into Each State of Matter

Solids

Explore the properties of solids in more detail. Discuss how the particles in solids are tightly packed, leading to their fixed shape and volume. Here are some activities to reinforce this concept:

  1. Molecular Models: Use molecular modeling kits or household items like building blocks to create solid structures. This hands-on approach can help kids visualize the arrangement of particles in solids.
  2. Classification: Encourage your child to classify objects around the house as solids. Discuss their properties, such as rigidity and inability to flow.

Liquids

Investigate the properties of liquids and their transition from solid to liquid and vice versa. Some activities for this phase include:

  1. Mixing Liquids: Explore how different liquids mix and interact. For example, mix oil and water to show that they don’t readily blend.
  2. Water Cycle: Discuss the water cycle to explain how water can change from a liquid to a gas (evaporation) and back to a liquid (condensation).

Gases

Teach your child about the properties of gases and how they differ from solids and liquids. Activities to consider include:

  1. Invisible Gases: Discuss how gases are all around us, even though we can’t see them. Use simple examples like the air we breathe or the scent of a flower.
  2. Gas Expansion: Illustrate the concept of gas expansion by spraying some perfume in a room.

Plasma

Explain how the sun and stars are made up of plasma. Then bring the concept to life at home:

  1. Play with a plasma ball to observe how the gas inside interacts with the electric coil to make lightning-like arcs.

Relate States of Matter to the Real World

To make learning more relevant and interesting, connect the states of matter to real-life examples:

  1. Cooking: Explain how heat changes the state of matter in cooking, for instance, melting butter or boiling water.
  2. Weather: Discuss how temperature affects the state of water in the atmosphere, causing rain, snow, or clouds. If it’s winter, try to find a location where you can see snow, water, and clouds at the same time. Water in its three states of matter in one place!
  3. Phase Diagrams: Introduce phase diagrams to show how substances change states under varying temperature and pressure conditions.
  4. Gas Laws: For older students, you can explore gas laws like Boyle’s Law and Charles’s Law to explain how gases behave under different conditions.
  5. Tesla Coils: Investigate Tesla coils to learn more about the characteristics of plasma.

Understanding the states of matter is a basic concept for science students of all ages they can apply to higher knowledge throughout their lives.

States Of Matter With Berean Builders

If you are looking for an integrated and more in-depth curriculum to help your child learn about the states of matter, we recommend Science in the Beginning.

 

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Berean Builders: College Science Prep For Homeschoolers

homeschool students in college science lab

When your homeschool graduate gets to college, will they be ready for science?

How can you be sure?

Most of us remember science classes and labs in school. The smells, the jars and bottles of strange and wonderful substances and all those instruments! Plus mounds of new and exciting information.

Our teachers guided us through the systems and methods of high school science and lab work, and some of us took that to college where we realized…

We didn’t really know all that much about post-secondary science OR labs.

Our professors had to toss in some remedial instruction so we could succeed without blowing up the chemistry lab or cross-contaminating our petri dishes in the biology lab.

Not to mention the basic stuff we should have brought with us from high school.

And honestly, the last thing a college professor wants to do is fill in the blanks left by a high school teacher, no matter how talented that teacher was.

If you remember those days, or if you are concerned that you can’t possibly prepare your homeschooler for science in college, we’re here for you.

One of the most common homeschool parent worries is how to be sure their student is ready for college. And it’s a legitimate worry.

However, if you are presenting science courses from Berean Builders at home, your homeschooler is already getting college-prep science training.

College Prep Science For Homechoolers

First of all, Dr. Wile is a university professor.

He already knows the skills your student needs to be successful in college-level science.

Not only can Dr. Wile pass on this knowledge through the detailed material and extensive labs included in each Berean Builders science course, but he also helps students hone their critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking is vital, not only in science but in other subjects, as well as life after college.

Secondly, high school science is intended to give students a solid knowledge base on which they can build once they reach college.

This knowledge base is imperative.

In Dr. Wile’s words,

“You can’t stop to Google every time you have a problem.”

Some facts and processes need to be readily available in the quick access section of a student’s memory.

Berean Builders science courses build that base.

Your homeschool graduate will have the body of knowledge in their head that a university professor expects them to know.

Science courses from Berean Builders prepare students for college

The method behind our science courses combines comprehension checks throughout each lesson with reviews and knowledge tests at the end.

The reviews and tests help your student understand the facts presented, and the comprehension checks train your student how to think like a scientist.

These checks and reviews are balanced to help your student gain the facts they need and the thinking skills to apply them.

Why does this matter?

In order for your student to get the most out of college-level science courses and their associated labs, they can’t have facts at the exclusion of thinking skills, and vice versa.

Rote memorization may result in good grades in high school, but facts without critical thinking skills won’t help them advance in higher learning.

Conversely, thinking skills without facts won’t help them much either. Remember the Google comment above?

With Berean Builders, you can be confident you’ve provided your homeschool student the same level of instruction they would receive from high school college prep courses…if not better.

After all, they’ll be getting their high school education from a university professor. Which means your homeschool students will already be learning science skills at a college prep level.

University Professor On Standby For Your High Schooler

Not only that, Dr. Wile is easily accessible if your student has questions.

He’s only an email away, and he is eager to help his science students comprehend the concepts he presents in the courses.

Berean Builders brings science to your homeschool with professional labs designed to be conducted right at home.

To be sure your homeschool graduate has a well-rounded science education, include Berean Builders science courses in your planning for next year.

We’re here to help you determine the best sequence to present science subjects, and we’re looking forward to working with you as you help your student get ready for college and life beyond.

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Critical Thinking In Your Homeschool: Building Bereans

young woman holding book and thinking

As we say on our About page about Building Bereans:

Acts 17:11 says the Bereans received gospel information with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. We think that is exactly what education should be.

We want to help parents teach their children to become critical thinkers. We want to build continuing generations of Bereans who will seek the truth and build a life-long foundation on those guiding principles.

What Does It Mean to Build a Berean?

Diving deeper into this mission, the following explores the meaning behind being a Berean. In addition, we’ll discuss why these role models highlighted in Acts continue to demonstrate the firm desire behind our aims.

Although mentioned in Scripture, the term Berean is not recognized by the majority of homeschool families. However, the methodology is.

At the risk of using a tired term, homeschoolers who follow the Berean principle are raising critical thinkers.

And just like the Bereans of Paul’s day, these students take in information willingly. But their differentiation arises as they are encouraged to analyze the information critically before they reach a conclusion or make a judgment on the facts as presented.

Homeschooling With Dr. Wile’s Berean Style

Dr. Wile has taken information he learned while pursuing his PhD and, with this same Berean research and discernment, written his thoughts and opinions in his books.

However, he doesn’t intend for his students to take what he’s presented at face value. He encourages his charges to think critically about the facts and opinions he organized. By this action, his students become like the Bereans. As they hear the teachings and then examine both scriptures and other scientific research, students build their own library of independent thought.

Student Examples of Critical Thinking

In his writing, Dr. Wile offers examples of students who have looked thoughtfully and critically at a notion presented to them.

The Eagle

One student heard a sermon at church containing an object lesson about eagles. The story seemed inspiring and encouraged the listeners to welcome the often-difficult efforts required to change for the better.

However, the science of the story didn’t make sense to the student. He brought his questions to Dr. Wile for discussion.

In his article, Dr. Wile dissected the story, explaining the inconsistencies of the lesson with the facts of nature and biology.

The ultimate takeaway is that creative license may get in the way of the listener seeing the deeper meaning of the lesson as they try to understand the literal meaning of the tale.

In this case, Dr. Wile was pleased his student was diligent in his questioning and underscored the importance of critical thinking, not only in school lessons but also in everyday encounters with leaders and teachers.

The Question of Half-Life

A university student attending Dr. Wile’s chemistry course was introduced to the concept of half-life in radioactive decay. After listening to statistics that describe the time it takes for half the amount of a certain element to decay, the student asked a thoughtful question.

The time of decay is over 5000 years! So how can we know this to be true if we’ve not been measuring it for that long?

This critical thinking led to a lively discussion of how conventional science uses extrapolations to determine these time spans. Dr. Wile encourages his students to think for themselves and not simply accept conventional wisdom because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

Self-Esteem vs. The Truth

Elli, a talented musician, shared a fun quiz about musical knowledge on a social media feed. She’d scored 100% and was understandably happy. When several of her non-musical friends also scored 100%, Elli became suspicious.

She ran a few tests on the quiz and found that no matter her answers, she scored 100%!

Elli then announced to her friends the results of her investigation and astutely encouraged all her friends to keep their day jobs.

While this is a humorous example, the lesson is that some official-sounding presentations are meant to raise self-esteem without actually providing accurate results.

Only critical thinking can expose these feel-good exercises. And though this is a fun example, the deeper concern is that students may be encouraged to accept certain outcomes as fact when indeed the methods for reaching those outcomes should be questioned.

How You Can Apply Berean Principles In Your Homeschool

Encourage your students to follow 1 Thessalonians 5:21:

“But examine all things; hold fast to what is good.”

Dr. Wile expands on this verse by saying students should, “Examine all things and hold to what can be shown to be good and true even if one doesn’t want to examine the information presented.”

Often, students find it easier to follow the path of least resistance and simply accept what is taught, taking what is presented at face value.

But Dr. Wile reminds homeschool parents to help their children keep an open mind when taking in new information and research for deeper understanding.

Then the students can weigh any differing opinions and base their ultimate conclusions on their personal findings.

Hold What Is True

In addition, students should hold to what is true in order to be a good Christian.

Dr. Wile mentions Robert Boyle who said in his book The Sceptical Chymist,

Robert Boyle

“He whose faith never doubted may justly doubt of his faith.”

Although Boyle pursued scientific study, he never dismissed the importance of viewing the universe from a Christian viewpoint.

This allowed him to question the conventional wisdom of the day and use science to support the claims of Christianity.

Encouraging Scientists Who Are Christian

By providing open areas of inquiry and a solid Christian foundation, you give your student the gift of free thought and examination while yet holding fast to the good they uncover.

As your student is exposed to more information, even that which does not seem to fit certain paradigms you personally hold, you set them up to better understand the ideas as presented or even to create fresh ideas of their own.

Enough information will allow your student to know what scientists know or don’t know. This sets them on the path of being capable of judging the truth for themselves, just like the Bereans.

For, as Dr. Wile mentioned, clones do not advance science. Parroting back what is presented does not allow for free thought. Tests may only offer options in black and white, yet there are so many more colors of the spectrum your students can investigate.

They can learn what data appear the most meaningful or are more well-known. Your student can then draw clearer scientific conclusions with fewer mysterious deductions.

Robert Boyle wrote, “God would not have made the universe as it is unless He intended us to understand it.”

Building Bereans takes patience and a willingness to allow your student to explore the world around them, compare contrasting viewpoints, and draw their own conclusions.

As one of Dr. Wile’s students said, “I’m still not sure where I land on the whole creation/evolution issue, but I still appreciate the information I got from your books.”

He says in one of his articles,

“…listening to serious scholars who disagree with you is an important part of the process of critical thinking. The only way I can properly evaluate my positions is to listen to those who disagree with them.”

As we continue to build Bereans, we can see the wisdom in this.

 

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The Periodic Table: Homeschool Learning Resources

the periodic table

Arguably one of the greatest contributions to the field of chemistry, the periodic table of the elements is more than just a graphical arrangement of symbols and numbers. Who was responsible for this monument of scientific history? And how can we as scientists make the most of the periodic table in our studies?

What is the periodic table of the elements?

The periodic table is a structured grouping of the 118 identified elements in our world. The table is organized into rows called periods and columns called groups. The groups contain elements that have similar chemical behavior.

Each block on the periodic table is a snapshot of one element that lists its:

  1. Chemical symbol
  2. Atomic number
  3. Average atomic mass of its isotopes.

You can investigate the periodic table to find patterns for yourself.

In a given period, the farther to the right the element is on the table, the smaller it is, the more electronegative it is, and the higher its ionization energy. By contrast, in a given group, the farther down the element is, the larger it is, the less electronegative it is, and the lower its ionization energy.

You will also find that the elements can be separated into metals, nonmetals, and metalloids. Most periodic tables use color to identify these categories, but the elements far to the left are metals, the ones to the far right are nonmetals, and some of the elements in between are metalloids.

The periodic table is a wonderful resource for solving chemistry problems and equations.

 

The names and letter symbols of the elements come from various sources such as 

  1. Latin (aurum for Au – Gold or natrium for Na – Sodium) 
  2. Greek (kryptos/stranger for Krypton or baris/heavy for Barium)
  3. Other languages (Spanish platina/little silver for Platinum or the old Anglo-Saxon/Celtic word ludaihe for Lead and the Latin word plumbum which became lead’s symbol Pb)
  4. People (Curium or Einsteinium)
  5. Places (Americium or Ytterbium)
  6. Planets and Asteroids (Plutonium or Cerium)

In addition to using this valuable resource for high school chemistry, younger homeschool students can familiarize themselves with the periodic table through word and number games, or hands-on discovery of elements around them.

  • Find interactive tables that list actual everyday uses for all of the most common elements, and let your students find these common items around your home.
  • Use the chemical symbols on the periodic table to spell words or create puzzles.
  • Decorate graphic artwork or create fun science-related greeting cards with chemical symbols.
  • Color the periodic table based on a properties key.
  • Find books about the periodic table to bring the information to life.
  • Create a card deck of the elements and make up games.
  • Use sticky notes to build a periodic table on the wall as your students learn new elements.

How many more fun ways can you find for your younger students to explore the periodic table?

The History of the Periodic Table

So how did we get this graphic marvel of modern chemistry?

Dmitri Mendeleev gets credit for organizing the elements into his periodic table in 1869, Previous earlier attempts by other scientists rarely get noticed, but were excellent examples of people trying to wrangle the elements into some semblance of order.

Way back in 1789, Antoine Lavosier began listing certain substances he believed were broken down as far as they could be. He called these substances “simples”.

Then John Dalton produced a table in 1805 of atomic masses derived from mixing elements to determine what they created. Although the measurements were primitive since the ratios were unknown, Dalton did develop the atomic theory.

In 1862, Alexandre-Emile Beguyer de Chancourtois devised a 3D model he called a telluric screw. This device, when rotated, displayed the atomic weights of certain elements at regular intervals and clearly showed a “periodic” occurrence of these weights.

John Newlands also noticed patterns among the atomic weights of elements and created an arrangement in 1865. His Law of Octaves compared these patterns with musical notes arranged in scales. The reason he used intervals of 7 is because the noble gasses hadn’t been discovered yet, and didn’t leave spaces for future discoveries. But he was on the right track and eventually got credit for his discovery.

Around the same time as Mendeleev was designing his periodic patterns, Julius Lothar Meyer recognized the periodicity of elements. At first, he played with just a few elements and made a chart of how they combined with each other, then later added the transition metals. His chart was very similar to the one Mendeleev published, but Meyer’s work was published a year later, so he deferred to Dmitri as the first.

Mendeleev sorted and arranged the elements into the original precursor table of our current table. He intuitively placed elements in their places based on their atomic weights as well as their properties in relation to similar elements. Since he was fond of card games, Dmitri initially used paper cards with atomic weights and arranged elements into groups he called “suits”.

An important feature of his table were the gaps he left for undiscovered elements and he even made predictions as to the characteristics of five of them. These predictions turned out to be accurate. Then when the noble gasses were discovered in the 1890s, they fit right into the table, further proving Mendeleev’s work.

It turns out, Dmitri’s table even anticipated and provided evidence to prove atomic structure, something scientists of the time had not discovered.

Mendeleev said of his discoveries:

“Before the promulgation of this law, the chemical elements were mere fragmentary, incidental facts in Nature. The law of periodicity first enabled us to perceive undiscovered elements at a distance which was inaccessible to chemical vision.”

He also said:

“Elements arranged according to the size of their atomic weights show clear periodic properties. All comparisons which I have made…lead me to conclude that the size of the atomic weight determines the nature of the elements.”

Finally, in 1913, Henry Moseley used x-rays to measure the wavelengths emitted by certain elements and then used a frequency calculation to figure out that atomic number actually represents the number of protons in the atoms that make up the elements.

Even in 1945 scientists were still making new discoveries and expanding the usefulness of the table. Glenn Seaborg made a discovery concerning a group of elements that modified the arrangement of one portion of the table, giving us the current version.

The Periodic Table in your homeschool

As you can see, many scientists contributed to the methodical organization of the elements in our world, and the periodic table continues to evolve today. With Mendeleev’s periodic law, the table continues to provide opportunities to discover new elements, and the periodic table as we know it today is a most useful scientific tool.

You will explore the periodic table of the elements more in our courses Science in the Atomic Age and  Discovering Design With Chemistry.

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The Scientific Method: Homeschool Learning Resources

When it comes to exploring God and His creation, simple observation goes a long way to enhancing our appreciation and understanding of the world around us. This is how ancient natural philosophers viewed their world millennia ago.

However, we as scientists and students exploring science must take a more methodical approach to learning how our world works.

This approach is known as the scientific method, a methodical process used during scientific investigation that follows certain steps. One way those steps can be described is:

These steps are:

  1. Ask a question.
  2. Begin preliminary research.
  3. Establish a hypothesis.
  4. Test the hypothesis with experiments.
  5. Evaluate the data from the experiments.
  6. Draw your conclusion.
  7. Present your findings.

Let’s explore these steps in more detail:

Ask a Question

The first step in learning about the world around us is observing and asking questions about what we see.

Your question is the first step in the process to discovery. Why does something happen? How does something happen? What happens during this particular set of circumstances? Your most exciting research will begin with the words “What if…?” or “I wonder…”

Ask the question you want answered and make notes of any sub-questions or related ideas that come to mind.

Begin Preliminary Research

Next, you’ll want to do a little preliminary research. The more you know about your topic, the easier it will be to conduct a relevant experiment. 

Research previous studies, read through earlier experiments, and gather information on your topic through an online search or at the library. Remember, other scientists may have asked the same question before, but your approach will be unique to you.

Establish a Hypothesis

Your next step is all about what you think based on what you’ve researched. Ask your question, read through your notes, then make the most educated guess you can.

This is called forming a hypothesis. Your hypothesis should be testable and also include predictions of what you think the experiments will show. Make notes of testable variables so you can create experiments to compare and contrast different outcomes.

Test the Hypothesis With Experiments

Now comes the fun part. It’s time to gather your materials and perform your experiments. Use your predictions and your variables to create experiments to test your hypothesis.

You will take copious notes of all your experimentation, any changes in variables you made, as well as what happened during each step of the experiment. This way, you can repeat any experiment to see if you get the same results.

You can also make drawings or graphs to help describe your results. These will help when it comes time to present your findings. Remember the preliminary research you did in step 2? You can use your own notes to research ideas for future topics for experiments!

Evaluate the Data From the Experiments

Okay, now it’s time to evaluate your data. What did you determine during your experiments? Did the results prove or disprove your hypothesis? Or did your experiments present even more questions you want to answer?

You may want to change or add variables, amend your original hypothesis, and perform additional experiments. This extra data can help you finalize your conclusion.

Draw Your Conclusion

Once you have analyzed all the data you gathered from your experiments, you can draw your conclusion. This is what you’ve been working toward!

What does it mean to draw a conclusion? During this step, you will decide if what you thought would happen, happened. Your experiments should have answered your initial question, and repeated experiments should have had the same results.

With this information, you can make a solid conclusion based on the comparison of your hypothesis and your experimental data.

Present Your Findings

Whether you’re creating a project for a science fair, completing a homework assignment, or just experimenting to learn more about the world, the last step is to present your findings.

Produce a presentation (like a display, paper, or video) with your questions, hypothesis, and results. Present your notes and drawings to someone to evaluate. Or just tuck your findings into a science notebook filled with other wonders you’ve discovered.

It’s a good idea to practice presenting your findings to a group. If you pursue a scientific career, you’ll be doing just that after you follow the scientific method to learn more about your chosen field.

The scientific method is a solid procedure for discovering, evaluating, and researching the vast world around us. By implementing the steps, you improve your research skills and learn valuable information you can apply in many different ways.

The History of the Scientific Method

Have you ever wondered how scientists developed the steps needed to make discoveries? The history of the scientific method is fascinating.

Egyptian, Indian, and Babylonian scientists from thousands of years ago made notes and conducted experiments. But the scientists from ancient Greece actually developed some of the steps we recognize today as the scientific method.

Early philosophers of the time thought the way to arrive at knowledge through pure reasoning. They would observe the world around them, form conclusions, and then assume their conclusions must be correct.

Others, like Aristotle, saw the benefit of making detailed, systematic observations in order to build on known patterns and observations. This was quite different from Greek philosophers like Plato, who didn’t think observations were valuable because they thought the observable world was corrupt.

Aristotle’s method included:

  1. Researching information others had already written on a subject.
  2. Finding generally accepted ideas regarding a question on that subject.
  3. Studying the subject systematically to gain more information.

Aristotle’s method was incomplete, however. It wasn’t really a scientific method, but it was a start.

Centuries later, men like Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon expanded these steps by emphasizing the importance of testing conclusions to see if they’re true, then making more observations and testing again. At that point, the scientific method was born.

With enough experimentation, a hypothesis can be confirmed as true. Then it becomes a theory, the next step in the scientific method.

And this is how scientists today broaden the knowledge in their fields. They stand on the shoulders of giants to see even farther and gain more understanding of the world today.

In our books and courses, you will find explanations of the scientific method and experiments which allow you to use the steps to learn more about the world around you through science.

 

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How to Homeschool High School Science and Why You Should

You’ve mastered elementary and middle school science with your students. Keep up the good work with your homeschool science adventure as you dive into high school. We’ll help you!

Exploring science in the early grades is fun and exciting, but the prospect of introducing biology, chemistry, and physics to your high schoolers can be daunting.

Let’s explore how to transition from middle school to high school science to maintain your momentum.

Getting Ready For High School Science

If you’ve been homeschooling a while, you’re familiar with the laws in your state. You can find more information here. Review the requirements for high school graduation in your state to help you set educational goals.

If your student is college-bound, see what (if any) requirements your state has for high school graduation in a homeschool setting.  Just remember, even students who may not intend to go to college can use solid high school science knowledge in many different trades. Plus, if they change their minds, you’re all one step ahead.

Make your high school plan based on your research. Here at Berean Builders, we suggest teaching high school science in a specific order since math knowledge and science course progression go hand in hand.

Using a Curriculum for High School Science

Maybe you’ve enjoyed a child-led exploration of early grades using an eclectic mix of learning opportunities. You can still do that in high school, but to assure a more thorough science education, consider adding a curriculum designed to cover what your student will need after graduation.

A prepared curriculum offers lessons in a logical order that allows students to build on previous knowledge when presented with more complex concepts.  If you do not feel equipped to provide a solid science curriculum for your student, coops and online classes can be utilized as a way to aid independent study at home.

With high school science, your student may complete much of their work on their own. Sit down with them to determine a schedule of study so they can stay on track and understand what is expected of them by certain dates. Set aside days to review their work and take regular assessments as the year progresses.

You don’t have to know high school science to facilitate your student’s education in the subjects. Be creative, be resourceful, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Transitioning from Middle School to High School Science for Homeschoolers

Early years of homeschool consist of plenty of guided lessons. Once your student is ready for high school, you can begin to guide less and encourage more independent study. This not only takes some of the pressure off you to actually teach science but sets up your student for self-guided learning that will serve them well in college and life beyond.

Middle school science covers general ideas through life, earth, and physical science courses. This builds a framework for your high schooler to expand upon as they cover deeper concepts through biology, chemistry, and physics.

Your student may spend longer on a specific topic than they did in middle school. And while you may have presented engaging experiments to bring an idea to life then, in high school, your student will be much more methodical about lab work.

Notebooks are one possible way to study however, some students prefer notecards, some use highlighting and margin notes, and some prefer making outlines.  As your high schooler investigates a topic, have them write or draw their understanding of the idea. This can can be used later for study and will also give you insight into how well they are learning a subject.

High School Science Labs at Home

Typical graduation requirements for high school include science labs .  You can find many virtual labs for high school science that broaden your student’s understanding of concepts in biology, chemistry, and physics. However, It is important to note that virtual labs are not accepted by universities.  Real labs are necessary to meet their requirement.

At Berean Builders, we understand how important hands-on learning is for science. Which is why we provide appropriate labs and experiments with clear instructions to immerse your student in the current topic of study.

Put lab time on your student’s schedule and make it a priority to fulfill those lab credit requirements.

Join Homeschool Science Groups

Clubs and co-ops can make high school science even more exciting for your high schooler. Not only will your student be introduced to new friends, but they will get a feel for working with a group of like-minded individuals. This may help them at university, or even set them up for success in a scientific field after graduation.

Seek out science groups in your area or find an online group if that better suits your situation. Your student can discuss concepts, participate in experiments, play games, and compete in challenges all while increasing their circle of friends and acquaintances along with their scientific knowledge.

High School Science as Life

Homeschool parents know it is impossible to compartmentalize individual subjects, so you take that to heart as you find the science, history, and math in everyday learning.

Knowing this allows you to explore the science in other subjects.

It also allows you to use science as a springboard into historical events or even activities in your own life such as cooking or gardening. Science is woven into every aspect of our days and nights, and you can create plenty of opportunities for observation and wonder. That they learn science is indeed a bonus.

In addition, by applying lessons to life, your student will not have to ask, “When will I ever use this knowledge?” They will be able to see the significance immediately.

Let Your High Schooler Lead Within a Framework

Having a well-planned curriculum can make your high school science year easier, but what if your student becomes deeply interested in a particular topic? In elementary and middle school, you could go off on tangents and then swing back to the main plan.

What about high school? Can you still take a deep dive into one fascinating topic?

The beauty of homeschool is that your student is able to explore one idea for an extended time without getting too far off schedule. All that delight-directed learning satisfies high school requirements, more so if hands-on experiments are included. The curriculum will be waiting when they return.

They’re Never Too Old for Field Trips

Your younger students probably spent many happy hours on field trips for science. Do they have to give up that fun for high school? No!

High school science offers even more opportunities to learn away from home. Older students are often welcome to take tours of places younger kids can’t go. Take advantage of factory tours and career days so your students can meet experts and ask lots of questions. They may even get inspired about their future!

You can also arrange visits to science departments at nearby colleges and universities. What better way to get a taste of science on campus than to see it in person?

High School Science Does Not Have to Be Boring

Keep in mind that fresh feeling of discovery when your students were in earlier grades. Bring that joy along for the homeschool science adventure in the upper grades.

Forget the sleep-inducing textbooks of your high school science experience. Today you have many more resources at hand to make high school science fun.

  • Work with a textbook that is conversational, not dry.
  • Present in-home lab experiments that are engaging.
  • Incorporate videos and nonfiction books into your plan for the year.
  • Allow your student to follow their interests.
  • Join high school science groups.
  • Make plenty of field trip memories.
  • Experiment with online classes if your student enjoys lecture-style learning.
  • Seek support from educators and scientists to deepen your student’s understanding.

Your student can enjoy high school science, and you can relax, and rest assured you’ve given them the very best homeschool science experience.

High School Science at Home

With all the resources available to you, high school science at home is not only possible, but also recommended! You homeschooled through the lower grades, and you know your student better than anyone.

You don’t have to love or even be good at science to offer your student the very best high school science education that will take them right into college or the trade of their dreams. Plus, a solid science base can help your homeschool student be at the top of the list for STEM scholarships at their preferred college or university.

Remember, Berean Builders is here to help you with science, and we have even more resources for you.

How to Choose the Ideal Homeschool Curriculum

Find out why we teach the sciences in a specific order: biology, chemistry, physics

Homeschool Physics? Yes!

Science Courses Online? Here are the benefits!

Science Labs at Home

Preparing Your Student for College Science

Looking For Specific High School Level Science Resources?

Berean Builders offers a variety of excellent courses for your high school level learner as well.  We have all of your high school science needs covered with our comprehensive approach.

Discovering Design with Biology

Discovering Design with Chemistry

Discovering Design with Physics

Discovering Design with Earth Science

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How to Transition from Public School to Homeschooling

homeschooling family

If you are thinking about moving your children from the public school system to homeschooling, you are not alone. An increasing number of parents each year find themselves keeping their children out of the classroom and making the switch  to homeschooling.

It’s good to recognize that homeschooling, although quite beneficial and even fun, may present some challenges. Every family’s experience will be different and may present unique obstacles to be overcome.

One of the biggest challenges that you will have to deal with is in making that transition from the traditional school setup to homeschooling. This is completely normal, since most of us have only ever been a part of the public school system!

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