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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Biology 101, Chapter 1, Introduction: Life Defined

In addition to Biology 101:
• Apologia Biology Exp. 1.1 - Biological Classification  (worksheet)

What is Life?
There are four criteria to actually be able to say something is alive.
1. All life forms contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
2. All life forms have a method to extract energy from their surroundings and convert it into energy that is useful to them.
3. All life forms can sense changes in their surroundings and respond to those changes.
4. All life forms reproduce.
(Apologia Biology, p. 1)

King Philip and the Biological Classification System - Taxonomy

During the video, he gives the genus and species for a mountain lion.  On the screen it says, "Felis Concolor."  The spelling and name are correct, but it should be written as Felis concolor with only the first word capitalized and both words italicized.
The genus and species are the only two categories in the Biological Classification system whose proper names will be italicized.
The proper name of a species is always written in lowercase.

Order of the Biological Classification system:
Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genusspecies

The words themselves, "kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species" are not capitalized in sentences unless they precede the proper name.  Such as Kingdom Animalia, or Phylum Chordata.
The proper name of the species is never capitalized.

Use this mnemonic to help you remember the order:  King Phillip Cried Out, "For Goodness Sake!"
Write your own mnemonic.  =)

There are 5 kingdoms.
Each is further divided into the levels mentioned in the video. 

--Kingdom Monera consists of bacteria, and are made of one cell.  Their cells have no nucleus and therefore are called prokaryotic cells. (pro-carry-ah-tic)
(All other organisms have a nucleus, and have what are called eukaryotic cells.)
--Kingdom Protista is made up of other organisms such as amoebas, and are also made of one cell, but their cells have a nucleus - a eukaryotic cell.  (you-carry-ah-tic)
Members of this kingdom are larger than bacteria but still are too small to be seen without a microscope.  

Anything you can see with the naked eye is made of many cells.

Part 1

Part 2 Single-celled kingdoms Monera and Protista

Part 3 Multi-celled kingdoms Fungi, Plantae, and Anamalia

Friday, July 19, 2013

Putting Together Our Biology Book

If you saw my last post, A Different Biology, you know we will be using Wes Olson's Biology 101 this fall, along with John Hudson Tiner's Exploring the World of Biology.
I bought the ebooks for both so I could print them out for each of the kids as well as for me.  With at least one of my kids I will most certainly be reading aloud, so it will be helpful to have my own.  We can write in them and make notes.  AND I can put everything together in one book, in the order I want, and not be going back and forth between books and maybe forgetting when I wanted to read a chapter from the other book.

I paid $4.49 per book at Staples to have them bound. (It depends on the type of binding and the size binder needed - mine was 22 mm.)  In one book there were pages upside down and I'm absolutely certain that was my fault.  The same book had the wrong size spiral binding put on it.  But there was no problem!  She cheerfully cut off the binding, turned around the upside-down pages, and re-threaded it with the correct size.  She also told me if either of the other books had pages upside down, they would fix them also. =)
I hated that they had to waste one of the spiral thingys, but I'm thankful the mistakes were on the same book.  =)

I used my own clear binder cover (actually it says 'frost' but it's pretty clear - these -- they are heavyweight).  The free one that Staples offered along with their binding was too flimsy to last an entire year of being tossed around by teenagers.  And me.   ;-)

I made the cover page using various pictures.  The central pic is from Biology 101!  =)
See the Science Fact at the bottom?  hee hee! =D

Next I put in a 1 page calendar, then the table of contents from both books.
I got this free school calendar from, then tweaked and added highlighted days where needed.

Since I had chapters from 2 different books, and since some sections would have more chapters than others and it could get confusing, I used a colored sheet of paper between each section.  This is also where I printed the verses for that chapter.

Next I put in the assignment page.  Biology 101 comes with the assignments already made up, but I had typed up a few extra instructions.  This was typed very small on the left side of the page so that I could run it through the printer onto the Biology 101 assignment pages.  I like all the assignments on one page.  =)
I will add to and/or tweak these as we go.

Email me if you want these.  Includes which chapters of Tiner's we will be using with each section of Biology 101.  You can also have the KJV verse pages too if you want.
hehe, I have "flower dissection" on there twice, lol.

Then came the Biology 101 chapter/section and the Tiner's biology pages.

At the end of each section, I put in a page with lines on both sides and a blank page.  Just in case I need them to write some notes or to draw something.
Last I added in the index pages from both books.

I did not include the answer keys in the kids' books; the quizzes will be open book.

For the back, I wanted a folder for a place to put in occasional loose papers, so I used a piece of cardstock as a guide to measure and draw lines, and cut down a file folder to fit.  =)
UPDATE: Either use plastic folders, or an additional heavyweight binder cover on the back of the cardboard folder.  With just a few days of use, I saw my cardboard ones were not going to hold up, so I had to get more holes punched in cut-down plastic folders, then cut one end off the spiral binding, and unbound and re-bound them myself.  You'll need needle-nose pliers to bend back the spiral binding.  Fun, fun.  =D  Actually not too bad once I got it going.
This is my book because I like green.  JohnDavid chose blue, and Bethany's is purple.

Including the pages I made up and added in (28), it ended up being over 160 sheets of paper, most printed on both sides.

I just love having our Biology made up into this cool book!  =)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Different Biology

I have put in many hours in gathering and saving "stuff" for Apologia Biology - videos that I went over with a fine-toothed comb, only using a small percentage of all the many I viewed; web links that I read through, keeping some and discarding others; web sites that had other links to peruse; saving everything that could be used again; keeping notes of what I did.... and that was for just one module!  But I have decided my kids and I will use something else this year. 

I have decided on Biology 101 with Wes Olson of  In my opinion, this biology seems to be more clearly explained.  It has some videos, some hands on, and less of the nitty gritty details.  (Plenty of details, just not nitty gritty ones!)
If you like the nitty gritty details, and memorizing weird-sounding names of phyla, that's great!  Although they were extremely interesting, I just didn't care for memorizing all that stuff in the first four chapters of Apologia Biology.  And in a few other chapters.  Made me cross-eyed.  Or maybe just cross.  hehe.  
I still have my Apologia books though, and plan to keep them.  We 
                                                    will use parts of them as a supplement.

Biology 101 consists of 4 DVDs containing:  9 videos, a printable Guidebook with quizzes, and a printable Course Accreditation Program.
This course is divided into chapters by the days of Creation.  Some days of Creation take more than one chapter, and each chapter takes three weeks to complete for a total of 27 weeks.  
--There is a video for each three week period that is assigned to be watched twice in those three weeks. (sample)
--The Guidebook (with quizzes) is a thorough review of what is in the video for that chapter, and is very well written and clearly explained.  This is assigned to be read two different times during the three week period.  (sample)
When first browsing through the sample pages, I actually understood some things I had struggled to remember before!  =)  
--The Course Accreditation Program has listed what assignments are to be done each week.  (sample)

Usually in the first week of each period, the child will read juvenile books of your own choosing from the library, then non-juvenile books suitable for high school the next week, again of your choosing.  Sometimes they're instructed to even watch an appropriate video if available.  
There are some written and hands-on activities assigned as well.  I will be tweaking these as needed and even adding in some extras from what we did with Apologia.
Read more by clicking on the Biology course at, then clicking Contents.

Per Biology 101:  *Intended audience age: 15 and up. However, every word, graphic, and picture in Biology 101 has been carefully selected and is appropriate for the entire family.

My plan for the reading/video assignments:
-Use some passages/pages from the books from Apologia's elementary series, and some from Apologia Biology as well.  
-Read coordinating chapters from John Hudson Tiner's Exploring the World of Biology.  (also available as a digital download - both paperback and PDF download are available at this link.)
-Watch some/all? of the videos I've already found as part of the assignments.
-Use library books when I can't find all I need in the above resources.

See how I put our book together 
Other Resources:
The Biology Corner - dissection labs
Home Science Tools - dissection kit
Additional #22 scalpel blades

Since I will be adding in experiments and probably other extras not included in Biology 101, we will be taking 4 weeks to do some chapters.

The scripture used in Biology 101 and Exploring the World of Biology is not King James, which is what we use.  In Biology 101 there is a verse quoted at the beginning of each video.  Both John Tiner's and Biology 101's written materials contain verses not from the KJV.  I will be watching for these as we go and will have them typed up for my kids before beginning each new chapter.  (I know *I* don't like to stop to look up things when I'm in the middle of something, and I figure kids will be more likely to read what is right there on hand rather than pausing to go look it up.)
If you want the typed up verse pages that I've made, and/or my schedule notes (actually a really loose plan) telling what extras and what chapters in Tiner's we are doing for that section, email me at and I'll be happy to send it.
Please correct any typos, ha!

►Biology101 is currently available at for $49.99.

If all goes well with Biology 101, we may be doing Chemistry 101 next!  My son will love it.  =)
And it has 19 videos!    =)