Disclosure: I received The Universe books to facilitate my Elementary Astronomy review. Regardless, all opinions are my own.
Finding Science curricula that is in line with our beliefs can be difficult – particularly for specific subjects – like Astronomy. When presented with the opportunity to review The Universe: From Comets to Constellations I was definitely excited to “investigate the possibilities” as the quote on the book states. The Universe is geared for 3rd through 8th-grade students but can be adapted for use with younger students like in our case.
Our older two children are both at the 2nd Grade level (ages almost 8 and 6). It is noted they should have good reading and math skills and while our children do have good math skills, reading is still challenging particularly for our oldest. Because of this, I do the reading and ask the questions verbally rather than having them take notes in the notebook. The best part is, we can go back and use it again when they’re older! With science I always find you can learn something new the second and even third time around!
The Universe is a Christian-based curriculum that helps us explore astronomy and God’s amazing universe. It encourages children through their natural curiosity and offers hands-on experiments (called Investigations) using mostly objects from around the house. For example, the first investigation simply uses paper, pennies, tape, pencil, ruler and tape. That’s it! Using just those objects from around the home we created visuals of the distance of the planets.
The Universe allows flexibility while also offering suggestions such as a grading scale and a recommendation of at least one project each week. Because our kids are younger, we don’t use a grading scale for Science, but I really like that it has that suggestion. I think the one project each week is fantastic because it really allows time for that full lesson. This is my preference with Science based subjects so I can devote the time needed and not rush through hands-on experiments that really help instill learning.
Of course, I appreciate that The Universe is Biblically based and includes unique opportunities to discuss God’s amazing design as well as Bible verses that relate to the lessons. I love that it offers a good balance of information and hands-on investigations. I do agree it would be most appropriate for 3rd through 8th Grade, but I am glad we have been able to adapt it for our use as well. I am also looking forward to studying it again when the kids are older and can form and write their own observations.
For More Information:
Visit The Universe page on New Leaf Publishing Group.