By Design: Inquiry-Based Science Textbook

Boy writing in workbook

Our family loves textbook-based learning. While many homeschoolers totally reject textbooks as being too much like traditional schooling, we have found that textbooks are a great fit for our visual learners.

(Really, it shouldn’t be a big surprise to me that my kids enjoy learning through reading—that’s exactly the way that I am!)

When it comes to science, though, concepts are best learned by going beyond “just” reading. Students benefit from predicting, experimenting, observing, and explaining—and an excellent science textbook will encourage all of these.

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Boy reading science textbook

By Design: Inquiry-Based Science Textbook

By Design is a new inquiry-based science curriculum for grades 1-8. Published by Kendall Hunt, the curriculum uses a five-step instructional model:

  1. Engage – use thought-provoking questions to capture interest
  2. Discover – investigate using hands-on activities and scientific methods
  3. Explain – demonstrate understanding of concepts
  4. Extend – apply new knowledge to other subject areas
  5. Assess/Reflect – complete various activities to verify comprehension

Please note: By Design is a Seventh-Day Adventist curriculum, but does not contain any doctrinal material to my knowledge. However, I did find several references to Ellen White, an early Seventh-Day Adventist leader, and to her written works.

Teen boy writing in science workbook

Teacher’s Manual

The By Design teacher’s manual is a spiral-bound book with full student pages (two thumbs up on both counts!). Each lesson is packed full of teaching tips and extra information, making it a one-stop resource—no outside content needed.

Each lesson begins with a “Chapter Pacing Guide” which outlines the approximate amount of time that should be allotted for various parts of the chapter. This is so helpful for parents who like to plan ahead!

Hands-on learning is a big part of this science curriculum, and each chapter of the teacher’s manual includes a list of materials needed AND the page number on which each item is used. Another sanity saver!

Student Textbook

The student textbook is a beautiful hardback book. The large full-color pictures and detailed diagrams make the book very engaging. The text and activities are developmentally appropriate and provide a full learning experience.

Close-up view of a page of a science textbook

The textbook contains dozens of hands-on activities, and each one has step-by-step instructions and specific learning points. Activities are typically recorded in the accompanying student journals, allowing students to analyze and explain the results.

Each chapter ends with a fabulous review section. In addition to review questions, this section contains a Study Guide—all the key information from each lesson is summarized in a few points, making it so much easier to study and review. Love this!

Student Journals

Each level of By Design science includes four student journals. Our grade 7 set had four distinct themes:

  • Life Science
  • Physical Science
  • Earth and Space Science
  • The Human Body

These are so much MORE than just workbooks with fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions. I found the student journals to be more similar to a lab notebook than a workbook.

Of course there are also review sheets included, but even many of these are open-ended questions that require real comprehension of the concepts covered.

Boy's hands holding pencil and writing in textbook

By Design is an excellent option for parents who are seeking a hands-on, parent-directed learning experience for their child. The curriculum includes everything you need to build a solid foundation in science for students in grades 1-8.

More from Kendall Hunt

Kendall Hunt provides faith-based programs in Reading and Language Arts called Pathways and a new kindergarten program called Stepping Stones.

They also offer Talented and Gifted programs in mathematics (M2 and M3), as well as products developed in collaboration with the CFGE (Center for Gifted Education) College of William and Mary in subject areas such as language arts, social studies, and science.

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