Our middle school boys adore science. It’s an extra-special passion for our youngest–I’m sure he’s headed for some sort of math or science career. This past year we used Master Books’ Concepts of Mathematics & Physics curriculum pack as a part of our curriculum. The boys loved both Exploring the World of Mathematics: From Ancient Record Keeping to the Latest Advances in Computers and Exploring the World of Physics: From Simple Machines to Nuclear Energy. In fact, they were often the first books they chose to read from their assignment list each week.
For the coming year (7th and 8th grade), I let the boys choose a new “Concepts” pack. Honestly, I don’t think the books will make it to our fall schedule. I’ve had to wrestle both away from them so I could read them and finish this post. You can probably expect another “Concepts” post in a few months!
The Concepts of Biogeography & Astronomy curriculum pack includes a Parent Lesson Planner, Exploring the World Around You by Gary Parker, and Exploring the World of Astronomy by John Hudson Tiner…..
Exploring the World Around You by Gary Parker
The subtitle of this text is A Look at Nature from Tropics to Tundra. This is 140-page, 16 chapter ecology text. There is black and white photos and/or artwork on every page, and discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
The author does a great job of covering the subject, and doing it from a Christian Creationist perspective. There isn’t a lot of commentary on the evolutionary perspective, but when there is, it’s respectful. I appreciate that. I also appreciate the fact that stewardship of the earth is taken seriously. Ecological issues are hot topics as worldview really impacts how scientists and the general population apply the knowledge we have. I want my kids to study ecology through the lens of Scripture stewardship and the theological concept of Imago Dei–humans are created in the image of God.
The text is interesting, the narrative moves quickly, and while it covers a wide swath of information it doesn’t oversimplify the facts. I know my boys will love it.
- Building the Right Foundation; Seeing the 4 Cs (The Gospel and Science)
- Ecosystems and Biogeography
- Aquatic Ecosystems
- Light and the Rhythms of Life
- Temperature, Water, and Minerals
- Energy Flow
- Population Balance
- Population Growth and Control
- Niches, Habitats, and Adaptations
- Energy Problems
- Preservation and Human Population
The World of Astonomy by John Hudson Tiner
This 172-page volume has 13 chapters. John Hudson Tiner covers each topic in a narrative manner with lots of black and white artwork, sidebars, and a one-page quiz section and research suggestions at the end. Along with plenty of scientific facts, John Hudson Tiner includes history throughout his books. My boys have really enjoyed that aspect of his work. The stories of the scientists involved in astronomical discoveries are engaging and add depth to the study of the scientific discipline.
- Exploring the Moon
- Terrestrial Planets
- Jovian Planets
- Plutoids and Denizens of Space
- Breakthroughs in Astronomy
- Deep Sky Wonders
- Extrasolar Planets
- Starlighted Nights
Parent Lesson Planner
Master Books’ PLPs do a great job of laying out a 36-week schedule. This includes special project suggestions, worksheets, quizzes, and tests. The PLP is really what makes the “Exploring” books a full curriculum (1/2 a high school credit for a year of science), rather than two “living” books.
How we’re using the curriculum pack
We are not using the tests and quizzes. My boys are reading one chapter a week in addition to the math and science they already do. I think it’s a great way for them to learn more about the concepts and history behind ecology and astronomy. As I mentioned before, my boys love science, and I believe in teaching to their strengths.
I want to thank Master Books for providing me with a copy of the Concepts of Biogeography & Astronomy pack in return for my honest review.
You can purchase the Master Books Concepts of Biogeography and Astronomy Pack at
Amazon: Exploring the World Around You: A Look at Nature from Tropics to Tundra
and Exploring the World of Astronomy: From Center of the Sun to Edge of the Universe
and Concepts of Biogeography & Astronomy Parent Lesson Planner
OR get them all together: Concepts of Biogeography & Astronomy Curriculum Package
Christian Book: Concepts of Biogeography & Astronomy Pack, 3 Volumes
New Leaf Press: Concepts of Biogeography & Astronomy Curriculum Pack
Other curriculum reviewed on Thinking Kids
- Concepts of Math and Physics Curriculum Pack
- The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner (Master Books)
- Tapestry of Grace (Lampstand Press)
- All Through the Ages: History Through Literature Guide by Christine Miller (2001)
- Koine Greek Language Resources for Kindergarten to High School
- Bible Road Trip
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for
Thinking Kids Pinterest Book Boards
- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.