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Novare Science & Math: Introductory Physics ~ Review

We are currently reviewing Introductory Physics in our homeschool from Novare Science & Math.

The author and teacher, John D Mays, cares that students retain what they have learned.  He has revolutionized helping students master learning the sciences and mathematics that will benefit them the rest of their life, no matter what they choose to do in their future.

My son is so impressed with this Introductory Physics course, that he has told me he would love to review several more courses written by John D. Mays at Novare Science & Math.

Introductory Physics

General Chemistry

Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home

Science for Every Teacher

Memoria Press and Potter’s School have recently began carrying Novare Science & Math curriculum products for homeschoolers.  The Homeschool Review Crew is currently reviewing Novare Science & Math courses for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  Be sure to see the links at the end of this post to find out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using these products with their families.

Introductory Physics

Hardback Student Text Book

376 Pages

Illustrated

   Grades 9-12

Retails $75

This course contains 13 Chapters broken down into numerous lessons, 28 quizzes, 23 reviews, 2 semester exams (1 mid and 1 final), experiments, etc. and is meant to be used over the course of an entire school year.  A sample schedule is given for how the course can be started in the fall semester and run the entire school year over the course of approximately 53 weeks.

Introductory Physics can be used with high school students who have had Algebra 1.  The Author, John D Mays, mentions in the text book that he has taught a modified version of the course to 9th graders who have taken pre-Algebra.   He recommends that if teaching this course to 9th graders, then you should modify the course by leaving out chapters 8 and 13 because these two chapters contain more challenging Algebraic math meant for older high school students who have taken Algebra 1 or higher level math.

John D Mays teaches this Introductory Physics course from the perspective of the Christian faith. He not only cares that students master and retain the material, but he cares about their soul and cares that they know the truth.   He shares his faith with the students, and teaches that the foundation of science and mastery of every subject in life cannot be separated from the truth of the bible.

Introductory Physics text book includes:

  • Preface for Teachers
  • Preface for Students
  • 13 Chapters:
  1. The Nature of Scientific Knowledge
  2. Motion
  3. Newton’s Laws of Motion
  4. Energy
  5. Momentum
  6. Atoms, Matter and Substances
  7. Heat and Temperature
  8. Pressure and Buoyancy
  9. Waves, Sound and Light
  10. Introduction of Electricity
  11. DC Circuits
  12. Fields and Magnetism
  13. Geometric Optics
  • Glossary (Large list of words and definitions)
  • Appendix A (Reference Data)
  • Appendix B (Chapter Equations and Objectives)
  • Appendix C (Lab Experiments)
  • Appendix D (Main Scientists and their contributions)
  • Appendix E (Making Accurate Measurments)
  • Appendix F (References)
  • Appendix G (Image Credits) there are a lot of images!
  • Index

Prerequisites:

  • Algebra 1
  • Pre-Algebra (for 9th graders if leaving out chapters 8 and 13)
  • Scientific Notations
  • Perform Unit Conversions
  • Use Metric Prefixes
  • Determine Significant Digits
  • Able to solve equations for unknown variables
  • Able to use a calculator, compute (add and subtract) to the power of 10 or use the EE or EXP buttons on their scientific calculator.

Lab Experiments & Journal:

There are five lab experiments in this course.  Students must maintain a Lab Journal for their experiments / written work during the duration of the course.  Lab experiments must be written on graph paper (quadrille ruled), written in pencil, and it will also include everything they did in all five laboratory experiments.

Instructions for the Lab Journal and Lab Experiments are included in “Appendix C” located at the back of the text book. Each experiment requires a written report and it is recommended that you purchase a copy of “The Student Lab Report Handbook” from the website for detailed instructions on how to write these reports for all of your Science courses.  Each experiment in Introductory Physics will require supplies.  Some supplies may be items you already have on hand and others may be items you will need to purchase.  Be sure to look through the items needed and have them on hand a head of time for each experiment.

Companion Products:

The textbook is excellent and can stand alone.  However, in addition to the text book, it is recommended to pick up a few of the companion products, especially the Resource CD, to maximize the learning experience for the student.

Resource CD $50

(contains teacher resources, weekly reviews, quizzes, tests, ect.)

The Student Lab Report Handbook $22.50

Solutions Manual to Accompanying Introductory Physics $15

Favorite Experiments for Physics and Physical Science $30

Teaching Science so that Students Learn Science $17

Experiments for Introductory Physics and ASPC $20

(contains teacher instructions and experiments)

Our Experience with Introductory Physics

We received the Introductory Physics hardback student text book, and were also given access to download the material from the Resources CD for the purpose of writing this review (the download option is not available for sale, the Resource CD is only available for purchase on CD).  My son has read through the Preface for Teachers and Students, Chapter 1 “The Nature of Scientific Knowledge”, looked over the Appendixes for vocabulary and to familiarize himself with some of the learning objectives, and is currently working through Chapter 2 “Motion”.  He is taking it slow and loving it so far.

After using this course for the past several weeks, we are very pleased with the materials.  The book is wonderful and a great read!  The author expresses himself very well and my son likes the personal touches the author has added about his beliefs and experiences.   The Resource CD is very important to use with this course .  It contains the course overview, sample course schedule, 28 quizzes, 23 weekly reviews, verbal prompt questions, both the semester mid-term exam and year final exam, and teaching tips and sample answers to verbal prompt questions. Beginning with week 3, the students are given a weekly review guide to follow and their are 23 of these guides.  You could just use the textbook only for this course, and keep meticulous study notes, but I think you would miss out on a lot of the learning comprehension without also using the Resource CD.

In each chapter of the text book, key Physics concepts are reviewed, and then rehearsed over and over throughout the year while new material is being added lesson by lesson, and chapter by chapter.  Verbal prompts and written technical communication is also emphasized.

 

It is a good idea with this course to have a quiet place to study and make a “study kit” so your student has everything they need on hand.  The concepts are challenging and the more your student can focus without distractions (a quiet space away from younger siblings, etc) the better.  Plan to spend an hour a day (at least three or more days a week) to stay on top of the learning and reviews.  Homeschooling is flexible, so go at a pace that feels comfortable to your student.

We are taking it slow.  My son likes to go outside to study if the weather is nice.  He says it connects him to God’s creation and it is more enjoyable.  So I made a portable study kit for him specific for this course and it contains a highlighter (to mark his book), a pencil, an eraser, a notebook, a Lab Experiment Notebook made of graph paper, a ruler for measuring and drawing lines, and a scientific calculator, and I stored all of these items in a three ring binder.  I will add in additional things as the need arises.  He will need several items for the lab experiments.  In the 3 ring binder, I put a zippered case to hold the loose items, and the notebook, subject dividers, and it is wide enough that his text book fits easily in it too.   I also printed and hole punched PDF copies of the weekly schedule, weekly review guides, and chapter quizzes and put them into the binder too.  So he is able to study outside or wherever he finds a quiet comfortable spot to focus on learning the material.

The notebook is needed for taking chapter notes such as summarizing the main ideas and understanding chapter objectives and writing down vocabulary words, etc.  In addition, the weekly reviews have projects for students to complete to build on their mastery of the information.  The weekly reviews are handed out at the start of each week starting with week three.  A handy way to store these is organized in your binder for review. Students are also instructed to make their own flash cards for each chapter and review these regularly.  You can store flash cards in a rubber band and put them in a zippered case in the binder, or an index card filer, or for ease of use to start out, or into a plastic sleeve page designed for the three ring binder.   I hope these steps will help my son be organized, successfully master this course.

I really like the concepts John D Mays has built into his Novare Science & Math curriculum.  He emphasizes starting with Introductory Physics as the basic foundation for learning science and math, then building on this with the upper level science courses from there.  His strategy is to focus on three areas that he says has proven again and again to boost student academic achievement: Mastery, Integration, and Kingdom Perspective.  Please take a few minutes to check out the videos below where the author explains his strategy in helping students strengthen their faith while they master the information they are studying.

Mastery:

The goal is to master the subject without getting overwhelmed or distracted with information that won’t be remembered.  The way to master a subject is to reduce the amount of information that is manageable.   A reduced-scope curriculum enables students to learn a reasonable amount of material deeply, instead of giving shallow attention to topics that they will not understand or be able to remember.  Students who master material they learn when they are younger, will most likely outperform their peers when they reach upper level classes.

The Mastery strategy uses:

  • continuous review,
  • ongoing accountability for retention of material,
  • building with basic skills
  • adding in new material

Integration:

Integration involves developing and integrating critical points that are effective. These integration points should include:

  • integrate math skills in science classes
  • integrate science skills in math classes
  • develop good written expression on exams, lab reports, etc.
  • allow the truth of God and his goodness and beauty to point the nature of science and math knowledge
  • develop specific learning objectives to be understood and evaluated in assessments.

Kingdom:

Instead of conflict between faith and science, Novare Science & Math has set it’s sights on improving how teachers can share with students the relationship between science/mathematics and the loving Creator, our Heavenly Father, who made the universe and everything in it, and then lovingly gave it to us.

We were thrilled with the opportunity to use this curriculum in our home and share our experience with you.  Be sure to check it out and see if it will be a good fit for your family too.

About the Author:

John D Mays is the author and founder of Novare Science & Math.  He has been teaching in various positions (highschool, college, state and Christian schools and various workshops, etc) since 1985.  He is a well known speaker and educator.  He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, a Master of Education degree in Secondary Education from the University of Houston, a Master of Liberal Arts degree from St. Edwards University, and graduate studies in the field of Physics. John has also worked in various fields including teaching, engineering, engineering management, Math and Science Department Chair, Optics Lab Director, etc.  He has put together a team of people, including some of his family members, to help him accomplish great curriculum and programs through Novare Science & Math and point students and teachers to a greater appreciation of Father God, the true Creator of everything.

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Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using Novare Science & Math products with their families.

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