This exercise varies somewhat in format. A complete answer key is provided at the back of the workbook.
While the content is roughly equivalent to a year's curriculum especially at the lower grades , the publisher recommends supplementing this program with hands-on activities and "field trips". Learning basic biology just got a little easier Like chemistry, learning the ins and outs of cells can be a little bit intimidating to middle-schoolers. Let's face it - it doesn't seem like a "grabber" topic and yes, there's a lot of vocabulary you have to learn along the way.
So if you're looking for a less structured or intimidating? The complete course is made up of two parts: an page student text and a page teacher's section. The student text is also available separately for multiple students, or if you'd prefer that the student have their own book.
The text is broken into nine meaty chapters: early cell discoveries and the development of the microscope; the cell membrane and cytoskeleton; ATP and mitochondria; proteins, DNA and RNA; lysosomes, ER and Golgi bodies; nucleus and ribosomes; cell metabolism and peroxisomes; mitosis and meiosis; and types of cells. The chapters range from pages in length, and although the pages appear to be packed with text, the concepts are well-explained, easy-to-read and yes, sometimes even entertaining! Black-and-white illustrations, photos and cartoons with the author's signature "thumbprint guys" help break up the text as well.
As a side note, I can appreciate the author's background in art and design here, as I've seen several otherwise good programs that rely too heavily on a mishmash of bad clip art or bad illustrations! Each chapter ends with a series of activities for the student, many of which include selected YouTube videos, recommended photos and images found online and even some online games. The author has helpfully organized a YouTube channel around all of her books, and even listed the selected videos in order for you.
These really give the course a more interactive feel, as you read the first chapter on early cell discoveries, then watch videos about early cell scientists, how electron microscopes work, and Brownian motion! The videos really complement the text content; I can tell that the author has done her homework as far as finding great video content! You'll find even more to enhance the program in the Teacher's Section found in the main course book, not in the student text.
There are additional supplemental activities for each chapter here, and this is where you'll find the hands-on activities like making a fluid mosaic model, baking Golgi body cookies, running a motor protein relay race, demonstrating transcription and translation using edible snacks, extracting DNA, creating a cell "mini-mural" and much more! Some of the activities will lend themselves more naturally to a co-op environment, or for use with multiple students, but you can easily omit those or adapt some of them for use with one student.
Activities include a brief description of the activity, a materials list, instructions, and often a black-and-white photo of the completed project, or the activity in progress. Worksheets and activity pages are reproducible for your own use, or you can print extra copies of the pages you need from the CD.
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