Grades: Biology 1A: 97% A; Biology 1B: 100% A
Biology is all around us. It’s hard to escape… even right now as I use my skeletal system and my brain to tap out the words on my keyboard I can feel thanks to my nerves (a keyboard which, I might add, is covered in microscopic bacteria that might cause me great harm).
For my 9th grade Biology course at Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences (CMASAS), I utilized the Compass Learning class that is available at my school. You can see some fun demos at the Time for Learning which also sells the courses.
I loved Compass Learning. It’s comprised of not just learning modules with bright, engaging interactive graphics, but also quizzes and tests that will comprise your grade. It’s not a snoozer… you won’t catch yourself dozing off and wondering what exactly you spent the last hour learning. It requires too many clicks and drags to allow for your mind to wander. That’s great for me.
The Biology course, per the CMASAS website, taught me “about the life processes of plants and animals from the cellular level to the consideration of complex ecosystems. Topics include cell biology, genetics, ecology, evolution, and physiology. Students are encouraged to engage in critical thinking and to use the scientific process to conduct investigative learning activities.”
To make sure I excelled in the course, I took copious notes, and here’s a random smattering taken from more than 75 pages of them.
As a homeschooler, I supplement every course I take, especially something as fundamental as Biology.
One book I found essential was The Wonders of the Human Body published by Silver Dolphin Books.
It’s a pretty basic book and doesn’t go into nearly the detail that the curriculum will, but the graphics and see-through pages are exceptional and a good supplement to even a high school level course.
Another tool that’s helpful for memorizing anatomy is the Squishy Human Body by Smart Lab Toys. You won’t see this at any medical school, but it’s fun to time yourself putting his guts back inside in the right order. (Just take note: those intestines of his have a tendency to flop out. Poor guy.)
But by far, the best tool I enjoyed in my biology studies was an app called Complete Anatomy 19 for iPad. It’s one of those apps a person can get lost in, and you will walk away from it with a sense of wonder for how something as intricate the human body – with all the many things that can go awry – can even function in the first place.
Here are some other great labs that you can do to impress your friends and remind you that biology is more than just a bunch of terms to memorize and diagrams to draw:
While the Compass Learning Course was very comprehensive with challenging quizzes and test from which my grade is based, I found the supplemental learning was what really inspired me to appreciate the fascinating field of biology.