- Reviewed on Friday, October 17, 2008
- Grades Used: high school
- Dates used: 2008
eScience Labs is a relatively new company which provides middle and high school student with college prep laboratory courses in life sciences and physics. The company also has a college level Biology laboratory course. Each course is written by a team of Ph.D. scientists and educators. The company received the 2008 Seal of Approval from Homeschool.com.
We reviewed Introductory Biology for High School which is a one year lab curriculum intended to supplement your base biology curriculum. It will complement any standard biology text and experiments can be run as you encounter the topies in the ext. eScience currently offers Life Science for Middle School (which can be purchased with or without the evolution lab) along with the following High School courses: Introductory Physics; Introductory Biology and Accelerated Biology. At the College level, eScience offers College Biology, College Introductory Biology and Biology (for science majors). Courses planned for the future included Earth Science and Physical Science (middle school), Accelerated Physics (high school), College Physics and Chemistry for all levels.
Introductory Biology for High School is affordable and compact, shipping in one large box. The lab kit includes a laboratory manual with 14 experiments and almost all of the reagents and equipment necessary to complete each lab. The items you provide are readilyy available at your local grocery store or pharmacy. The item that you will need to special order is a microscope which you can purchase online at various sources. Many science sites will walk you through this purchase by asking specific questions about your curriculum and how far you intend to go with you study of biology and then recomment a specific model for purchase. The lab experiments are designed to be run only one time; however, refill reagents are available in case you make a mistake in setup.
The unique aspect of the eScience lab courses, is that it strives to make science relevant to your student. Questions and introduction material contain information about how a biologic process applies to the "real" world. For example, in the introduction of the diffusion lab, there is discussion of how hemodialysis works and in the introduction to the respiation lab there is discussion of what happens in your body during physical activity. This information will also be in your base text, but it is valuable to have it in the lab manual as well because it bridges your text to your lab and to the real world, solidifying the scientific principles taught.
The lab manual presents very thorough and challenging experiments and end of lab questions. An electronic copy of the manual is the preferred method of use; hoever, printed copes are offered, resulting in a slightly more expensive kit. Each lab opens with a very detailed introduction and reinforces information in your base text. Lab procedures are written clearly and concisely; but depending on the level of your student, you may need to help in setup and in answering the lab questions. Teacher manuals, which included the answers to the end of lab questions, are available for an additional cost. We recommend purchasing the manual, as the questions are challenging and really focus your student's attention on drawing correct conclusions from the data and applying them to the theoretical information in the text.
A huge plus of eScience's courses is the significant amount of time spent discussing the scientific method. For example, the first three labs of Introductory Biology for High School are dedicated to the scientific method, writing a lab report and data measurement. Writing a lab report is an important skill to develop in high school because it is a critical component of the laboratory section of all college level science courses. Additionally, your student will learn how to set up experimental controls and how to analyze data and present it in various forms.
Finally, eScience provides a series of online tools for all registered students. There are video introductions, virtual labs, animations and demonstrations to complement the experiments. A monitored blog can be used by student to compare results, to pool data, and to communicate results and conslusions with other students.
Overall, this high school biology curriculum will be an excellent complement to your base text. We believe it is an exceptional choice to prepare your high schooler for college level science courses and for those students interested in pursuing careers in science.