Title: Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day
Author: Jeannie K. Fulbright
Series: Young Explorer series
Major Themes: Animals, Ocean Life
Synopsis: This is an in-depth look at all sorts of creatures who live in the water, from a God-honoring perspective.
We have finally finished our science course for the year. It was very hard to find time for science this year, with a lot of time off school for one reason or another. Toward the end of the year, after several of the boys finished some subjects and I had more time, we were able to do lessons more often. I have thoroughly enjoyed our study this year, of Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. I am greatly enjoying getting an in-depth look at various topics from a strongly Christian, Creationist point of view. Jeannie K. Fulbright has done an excellent job with this book, as with the other books we’ve used that she wrote.
The lessons in this book cover aquatic animals in general and the oceans, whales, seals and sea cows, aquatic herps (reptiles and amphibians), primeval reptiles such as plesiosaurs, fish, sharks and rays, crustaceans, mollusks, cephalopods like squids and octopuses, echinoderms (sea stars and sea urchins), cnidarians like jellyfish and coral, and other aquatic animals such as sponges, worms, and some microscopic creatures. We learned a lot of very fascinating facts! I think this was the most interesting book from this series yet, for us, since we live very near the ocean and have seen many of the creatures covered in the book. In fact, a few days before we did the lesson on octopuses, a couple of my boys found an octopus among the rocks at the edge of the sea!
The favorite part of this book appears to have been the very last lesson we read. It was about microscopic creatures, specifically rotifers and tardigrades. That was apparently the most intriguing thing for a couple of my sons! Another of the boys remembered quite a few things. He enjoyed learning the difference between true seals and eared seals; we have eared seals in our area. He also liked learning about the sizes of some of the giants of the sea, such as manta rays and leatherback turtles. Another favorite topic for him was symbiosis, the way various animals work together to live, such as clownfish and sea anemones. He also mentioned being fascinated with the Man O’War, which is actually a colony of several animals!
As we have done other years, I purchased the notebooking journals that go with this book. They cost a fair bit, but they really help me organize our study. As we read each section of the lesson (which takes us about four days of reading together to get through), I have the boys write a sentence or two about what they learned in that section. After we finish the reading, each of them creates a mini book from pages provided in the back of the notebook, writing down information about the various animals and topics covered in the lesson. I do the writing for most of the boys, because they struggle so much with it and will come up with a lot more if they don’t have to do the mechanical part of the writing. There are also copywork pages for each lesson, vocabulary exercises, and usually a crossword puzzle for the older children. The junior notebooking journal has other activities to review vocabulary. There is also a page of review questions in the older book. There are book suggestions for most lessons to expand the study, but our libraries here don’t have many, if any, of the books. There are also suggested experiments, and you are supposed to build a diorama of an underwater scene as you go through the entire book. We don’t do a lot of those activities, though. Especially this year, we were struggling to just read the book and do the review! If we had more time, it would be fun to do more.
I highly recommend Apologia’s Young Explorers series. This is the best science course I have come across. It will take something pretty amazing to lure us away from using these books! I love being able to learn fascinating facts along with my sons. We also love the way the author honors God and shows His design in the way the animals are made and act.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15