Sunday, April 22, 2007

Review: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Easy As 1, 2, 3: A Catholic Overview of Science For the Primary Grades by Nancy Nicholson
2002 (Second Edition), Catholic Heritage Curricula, 44 pages, softcover

This is the second edition of a 1998 volume by CHC with the same title. While it has an all-new layout, much of the content remains the same.

This is a teacher's manual of sorts for those "seeking a primary-level presentation less restrictive than a text", as the author states in the introduction. The author recommends using Childcraft: How and Why Library by World Book's editions predating 1980 and The Everyday Science Sourcebook to go together with this guide, along with library books. (Note: I found very inexpensive used copies of both of these resources available on the internet). The author also cross-references her suggestions here with stories from her volume entitled "Catholic Stories from Science 2", also available from CHC.

The eleven units are divided into two parts each, the first entitled "Find Out" and the second, "Faith". The first one offers suggestions of themes to read about, activities to do and interesting concepts to research about. Also, each unit offers three sets of topics for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. I find this helpful especially if you have an emerging first grader and a more advanced third grader, let's say. The third grader will be ready for more intricate topics, while the first grader will be happy to be included, focusing on more basic topics.

For example: on Chapter 3, "God Gave me Five Senses", 1st graders topics are sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch; the 2nd grade topics are sound--waves and vibration--and taste; while 3rd grade students study vision as well as the basic structures of the eye and the ear. Under Find Out several activities are suggested: testing the children's sense of touch by feeling things in a box; testing the sense of smell by smelling different items while blindfolded, and also tasting things while smelling an onion to see how smell affects taste. The activities for studying sound waves and vision are directed towards the student instead of the parent which I think is a good idea. Experiments with sound waves' speed using loud noises on an open field, and an interesting experiment with after-images and low-light vision are suggested, which can be done easily at home. The layout offers generous blank side columns for jotting down book lists and "new discoveries". These side columns also offer the related stories from Catholic Stories from Science 2.

Continuing to use Chapter 3 as an example, under Faith the author offers a brief discussion of how we cannot always rely solely on our senses: that something exist beyond them, and that trust in God is necessary. Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson and St. Thomas Aquinas are both quoted, the latter with the Adoro Te Devote, the traditional Blessed Sacrament hymn that address exactly how our senses can be deceived. A very clever quote!

Easy as 1, 2, 3 can be a very useful curriculum provided this is what you are looking for: a guide to lead you through science topics during the year, perhaps with more than one lower-elementary school child, tying it all with our Catholic faith.

Available from Catholic Heritage Curricula and Adoremus Books.

Reviewed by Ana Braga-Henebry, M. A.

1 comment:

Kaber said...

sunds like aneat book... very helpful!

RYC_ we also have a bumpy cushion the boys love to sit on for school. It helps my main SID boy a lot to sit on it.