My Pals Are Here! Science International Edition 2nd Ed.
Newly revised, the new 2nd edition of My Pals are Here International Science offers an inquiry-based approach to science for grades 1-6 with a focus on global awareness, collaboration, and critical and inventive thinking. The program implements the BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study) E5 instructional model. This model has been shown to be one of the most effective strategies in science education today. The 5 E’s in this model are engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation. Every lesson is set up in this manner. Engagement makes a connection between past and present learning and leads students to think toward the current topic. MPH stimulates interest at the outset of each unit by showing an engaging picture and offering some thinking questions. Exploration develops concepts through discussion questions and hands-on activities – you’ll find this in the textbook and activity book of MPH. Explanation communicates information and offers opportunities for students to demonstrate their conceptual understanding. Elaboration involves applying concepts in context and extending understanding through real-world application. Evaluation is the fifth E, and provides opportunities for assessment of the student's understanding through the “Quick Checks” sprinkled throughout the chapter readings and the “Test Yourself” at the end of each unit. This evaluation material offers a variety of question formats including labeling, short answer, and higher level thinking questions.
The revised textbook is now all in one (no more A and B books for one year!), which is a welcome change. Comparing the content, you will notice an updated scope and sequence with fewer topics covered per year, which allows the student to dive deeper into the included research projects. Student textbooks offer colorful photography, illustrations and engaging textual information. If you are familiar with the 1st edition, the graphics are generally smaller and there seems to be a bit less “white space”. Textual information remains clearly and concisely presented with well-integrated graphics and illustrations. Each unit begins with an opener designed to introduce students to the topic of study through a relatable application and questions to consider. Throughout the units are various activities to reinforce learning. These include “Language Connect” activities to encourage understanding of the concepts; “Flashbacks” which review previously learned materials; “Quick Checks” to test understanding of key concepts; “We Care” ideas to encourage responsible global citizen thinking; “Creative Science” art and craft projects and hands-on experiments; “Activity Book Link” directing students to the related worksheets in the Activity book; “Research Projects” (internet recommended) and Explore activities that promote critical thinking and communication through discussion. Each unit ends with summaries, self-test questions, a science glossary specific to that unit and a “Science Today” reading that introduces current scientific developments related to that unit concept.
The Activity Book also contains the Student Worksheets, Creative Science activities, Review Questions, and the end of the year review (called Revision Exercise). It’s worth mentioning that many activities include items that are easily accessible, while others may require items that are more specialized. You may have to skip certain activities or substitute accordingly. Each activity is easy to follow and lists the aim or objective of the activity, materials needed, procedures, observations, questions, and conclusions. These books are the only consumable portion of the curriculum, so these are the only part of the program you would need to replace for multiple students. The Activity Book is illustrated with black and white illustrations.
The Teacher Guide begins with an overview of the science process skills, BSCS E5 model, the 21st century skills for success, and higher order thinking skills. Following is an overview of the teaching plan with an “at a glance” recommendation for number of lessons and time per lesson, as well as learning objectives, suggested resources, and vocabulary focus. Detailed lesson plans are included, and separate the lessons into the E5 instructional model and include step-by-step instructions for the lessons. Recommended web links are included to engage the student in the lessons. Differentiated learning activities are found here, as well as the answers to the Textbook and Activity Book questions. While many of the activities are group focused, homeschooling families should easily be able to modify for one or two students. If you are familiar with the 1st edition, you will notice the 2nd edition no longer includes the student pages. In this writer’s perspective, this makes the Teacher Guide more succinct and easier to follow, although some may prefer having the student readings in front of them.
Although this series has been revised, the curriculum is still written with metric measurement (no English units) and C° rather than F°. Some of the language used may also seem unfamiliar since the publisher does use European spellings for words like 'analyse' and groundnut (peanut). Overall, the curriculum is easier to use, more comprehensive, and more engaging for elementary students. There is currently no correlation to U.S. standards for this curriculum; however, it has performed well in science testing in the international arena. Please see individual grades for more specifics. ~ Deanne/Donna