Science in the Scientific Revolution is the third book in a hands-on, multilevel elementary science series that introduces scientific concepts using history as its guide. It covers the scientific works of natural philosophers from 1543 to the end of the 1600s.
How it Works:
The student book contains 90 lessons divided into six sections—The Revolution Begins; The Revolution from the Mid-1500's to early 1600's; The Revolution in the Early 17th Century; The Revolution in the 17th Century; The Revolution Near the End of the 17th century, and The Revolution at the End of the 17th Century. Each section contains 15 lessons, each with about 3 pages of reading, and each centered around a hands-on activity or experiment. Twelve of these lessons are standard lessons, and three are challenge lessons for students who can't get enough. The challenge lessons include no content that is discussed in the standard lessons.
Wile suggests you do one lesson every other day, allowing you to complete the text in one normal 180-day school year. If your kids aren't super eager for science, you can also complete two lessons a week and leave out the challenge lessons, which will also get you done in one school year. Those who want the book to last longer than a year will have to shape their own schedule.
Every lesson includes a hands-on activity or experiment that illuminates the major point of the lesson. These all involve common household items, though things some families might not have around the house are listed first to give parents time to procure them. A master list for each 15-lesson unit includes all the items needed. Wile stresses that adult supervision is necessary for all of these activities, both to ensure proper execution, and for safety (some experiments require blades, flames, etc.).
Parents or your teenaged kids should read the lesson to your elementary students, and parents should oversee the completion of each activity. There are age or ability appropriate review assignments at the end of each lesson: youngest kids answer a couple questions orally; older kids write some basic information in a notebook; and oldest kids complete a more elaborate notebook assignment. There are also optional tests for oldest students included in the Helps and Hints for Science in the Scientific Revolution.
Helps and Hints for Science in the Scientific Revolution is a slim volume for parents/teachers that includes notes and tips for teaching and grading. There are also tests with answers, but Wile seems to think it preferable to leave these alone unless your elementary students are on the cusp of moving to junior high and need to learn how to take science tests. A brief appendix includes some reproducible pages for student work and review.
Beginning with Copernicus' On the Revolutions of The Celestial Spheres and Vesalius' On the Fabric of the Human Body, it takes a brisk walk through the Scientific Revolution, ending with Liebniz. The colloquial view of the Scientific Revolution is of a dark power struggle between religion and science. Jay Wile attempts to show that this is not the case. He does this by presenting, for example, the sixteenth century scientific objections to the heliocentric theory before presenting (and quickly explaining the errors in) the "theological" objections to it. He posts actual quotes from the scientists in which they mention God as creator. And he explains that some of the "scientific" beliefs of the day were based on popular Biblical interpretation that is quite obviously faulty.
Our Honest Opinion
The repeated reminders that these scientists mentioned God as a creator can get a little wearying, and Wile doesn't discuss or mention that this was in a time when everyone was at least nominally religious. That aside, his approach is balanced and entertaining, and there's nothing to offend in this third installment of an already excellent series.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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