Our homeschool coop is teen-oriented. I rashly volunteered to offer a biology class for the high school students, since I was going to have to teach bio to my own 9th grader anyhow – I figured it would be more fun in a group. Our coop kids are a good bunch, for the most part.
I’d heard that the Real Science Odyssey biology curriculum level 2 could be used for high school, and that the author had posted extensively about how to use it in a coop setting. I have read both posts, figured I could make the curriculum work, and away we go.
All my students were responsible for purchasing their own copies of the curriculum. Our coop tech guru magically got us access to Google Classroom, so I made weekly postings about reading assignments and what papers they would need for each class.
Lecture: Characteristics of Living Things
Materials: a decent microscope (more on that later)
Because this was our first week back, half the class was given over to general housekeeping before we could get started on the book. The idea of what constitutes “living things” does vary somewhat – some things everyone agrees on, but others are subject to interpretation. Ask a room of scientists whether or not viruses are living things, and sit back to watch the feathers fly.
She has a plot study scheduled for this week, but we pushed it off in favor of getting to know the microscope.
About that microscope: What you get is, of course, going to be dependent on your needs and your budget. Particularly the budget. If you’re working with middle- or high-school level, though strongly advise against purchasing the cheap “kid” microscope kits, particularly if you have a student with a reasonable interest in science. Look on eBay or surf Camel Camel Camel for a decent quality student microscope – they can be had for under $50, and are well worth the purchase. I’ve had good luck with AmScope, but other brands like Omax or Celestron make good products as well.