My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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Apologia General Science - My Experience with Chapter 9


Because my daughter is in the 7th grade this year, she is doing Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science. I've used this program with all of my other children. My struggling readers used the text along with the available DVD. The older kids successfully finished the program and went on to Physical Science and other high school science programs in the Apologia Family. I guess I would count us as successful. Two of my children were able to CLEP out of science requirements for college. Noah's school gave him six credits for Biology alone. 

The General Science course is a smorgasbord of scientific topics. The text opens with the history of science and then quickly goes over scientific theory and what makes a good science experiment. Quickly after that, it covers archeology, geology, paleontology, and simple machines. None of this is covered in any great depth, but just enough to hit the highlights of each topic and perhaps whet the student's appetite for more. 

This is where I think my role as a teacher comes in. I don't want to just regurgitate the book back to the students. I try to find something interesting that we can dive into a little more with each chapter, and I try to find interesting rabbit trails for us to explore a little bit. It's challenging because it's a 32-week course and we are trying to cover it all in 24 weeks during our co-op time. 

Which brings me to this week's lesson. I knew coming back after the holidays was going to be somewhat challenging, so I wanted to do something a little special for the class. It had to tie in with the lesson, but it also had to be interesting and fun. 

The textbook wanted us to make DNA models using pipe cleaners and beads. Here's a sample of one I found on Pinterest. It certainly would have been easy enough to do. But then I had an idea. What if we made DNA models that were practical and useful, but that also would be a little moment of this class. 

"Momento?" you may ask. 

Yeah. You see, I have some little mementos and reminders of courses I took in school. Nothing fancy but just little things that remind me of classes, projects, teachers, and friends. When I was going through my mom's stuff I found a pretty little picture that she kept for decades that she received from her teacher for having perfect attendance. 

Adding to my feeling of sentimentality was the fact that one of my students is leaving for Europe for three months. Today was her last class and I wanted her to have something from class as a keepsake.

So with these soft feelings, I decided that we would make DNA models out of wire and beads and turn them into key chains! I found a video explaining how to do this here.  After buying three different kinds of wire and lots of beads, I managed to follow the directions and make some prototypes. 

DNA Key chains

I think they turned out okay. I could make one in about half an hour. Yesterday I taught Rosie how to do it and she helped me today in my co-op class.

The reaction of my students was mixed. It was challenging. Some kids were great at making them and caught on right away. Some needed extra help. I think everyone understood that once you picked your two-color pairs, you had to stick with them. If I had to do it again, I would allow for more than 30 minutes, even though I precut the wire and had the beads divided by color.

Some of the kids seemed to like them and I know one girl even hung hers on her book back. However, I also found this. 


So I guess it wasn't a hit with everyone.

Next week we move on to Chapter 10 - which is just chock full of experiments that are next to impossible to do in a weekly co-op setting because they require many days of setting up and observation.  I might have a couple of solutions though including just doing the experiments at home and taking photos for my students. We'll see.