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CMified Secular High School Biology Options
Tagged: biology, high school, science
- This topic has 8 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 2 months ago by totheskydear.
Let me start by saying that I know I’m probably on the hunt for a unicorn, and that I’m somewhat barking up the wrong tree here.
I am a Christian–you’d probably lump me in the Evangelical category. I believe that God created the world from nothing just by speaking, and that He created man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into his being. I am also trained a zoologist who who isn’t totally on board with macro-evolution. Beyond that, I’m open to the possibility that life is something of a mystery and there simply are some things we will never fully understand this side of the new heaven & earth (if ever). I was never once asked (in high school or university) whether I subscribed to evolution–it was simply assumed that I subscribed to evolutionary theory, and a lot of lessons/discussions following were based on that assumption. Because of the general assumption that college students will at least understand evolutionary theory from a secular perspective, I would like my students to learn it.
Having said all of that, I am not interested in using Creationist science texts for high school biology. I have no issue with using living books that address the debate (Darwin’s Black Box, etc.), but for a spine, or systematic series of spines, I am looking for secular recommendations. Thus, Apologia, BJU, Abeka, Masterbooks, etc. are all out. In addition to the Creationist bent, they simply don’t seem as rigorous as the biology that I studied in high school. I studied and loved Campbell Biology in upper high school and university. My understanding is that it’s considered the gold-standard in the biology world–it’s thorough, rigorous, and generally excellent. Using a textbook, though, is obviously not very CM.
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to come across a single living book that would suit as a spine (is it a crime to address the citric acid cycle or the ATP cycle?!), nor am I familiar with a collection of books that could be used systematically to cover the same scope as Campbell.
I’ve got several years, maybe I’ll just have to write my own spine (ha!). Until then, though, I’m open to suggestions!
*If it makes a difference, I’m open to two possibilities: Sabbath Mood-inspired sequence with a bit of biology every year, along with either physics, chemistry, or geoscience/astronomy OR an inverted sequence of physics, chemistry, biology, followed by an Honors/AP selection of the student’s choosing.retrofamParticipant
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Have you looked at Guest Hollow?</p>
Hi @retrofam, thanks for the response! Guest Hollow’s textbook (!!) is (by their own admission) edited to fit the Creationist viewpoint:
We’ve taken the well-known and rigorous CK-12 biology textbook and edited it (thanks to a Creative Commons license) to fit a Christian creationist perspective.
I took a look at CK12’s text as a secular option, but I found some of the process explanations overly simplistic/reliant on video. If we’re still in the “need a textbook” era, I’d much prefer that a textbook fully explains the concept and then uses a video to enhance understanding, rather than rely on the video itself to do the explaining.
I do like some of Guest Hollow’s additional reading selections–we have some scheduled for earlier years already, but there’s a few new ones on there worth taking a look at! Cells by Ellen Johnston McHenry, for example, looks a bit simplified, but promising! She at least hits ATP & the CAC.MissusLeataParticipant
I know this doesn’t answer your question, but I just want to say that Apologia’s 3rd edition biology is considered to be extremely rigorous. To the point that many say it’s too rigorous for highschool.
Also, many “creation” science text books do explain evolution. Are you wanting something that ONLY presents evolution or something that presents both sides? Because there are several that present both sides.AndreaParticipant
Sabbath Mood has a secular option. Have you checked out Build Your Library? She has secular curriculums, including science that is living books-based.
Hi @MissusLeata, thanks for the response. I did check the 3rd edition for Apologia and it does look more rigorous. If a text book truly is the only route for a thorough spine, I still prefer Campbell as I am looking for a strictly secular option if a textbook spine is the only option, with discussion of the debate added on as supplemental (not necessarily optional) reading from living books. I suspect that in the end, that’s what I’ll have to do–traditional text for the spine, heavily supplemented with living books.
Hi @Andrea, thanks for your response!
I took a look at CK12’s text (Sabbath Mood’s secular option), but I found some of the process explanations overly simplistic/reliant on video. If we’re still in the “need a textbook” era, I’d much prefer that a textbook fully explains the concept and then uses a video to enhance understanding, rather than rely on the video itself to do the explaining.
Build Your Library also uses CK-12’s Biology text for their spine, but I’ll take a closer look at some of the supplemental reading.
I suspect that in the end, what I’ll have to do is use a traditional text for the spine, heavily supplemented with living books.agreeseParticipant
I realize this is an old post, but I just stumbled upon it and you said you have several years 😊. Have you looked at Novare? While they publish “textbooks”, they are well-written by a single author whose enthusiasm for the subject shines through in the text. They include narration-style questions and are much more thorough and scientifically accurate than the other curricula I have seen. They have a biology book out now and are going to publish another next year. The book that is currently in print would be considered Biology 1. The new book will be AP level. It will cover about 70% of what’s in the Biology 1 book, plus advanced topics. (The subject matter left out of the AP level book is largely covered in their middle school Life Science text.) Hope this helps!totheskydearParticipant
But overall, CK12 is up to snuff? Why not just supplement for the parts that aren’t?
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