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Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2 Paperback – November 16, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1432706104 ISBN-10: 1432706101

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Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2 + Elementary Science Education: Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, Vol. II, grades 3-5 + The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1432706101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432706104
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


By receiving this comprehensive groundwork, I gained a newfound confidence enabling me to pass on the information to my children. -- Mary Soto, Hayes, VA

I have never seen an approach (especially to science) that is so well thought-out, so reasonable, so do-able, so inspirational. -- April Duritza,

This material far surpasses any other material I have come across (and I frequently do a lot of digging and research for my lesson plans). -- D. Schmidt, Kansas City, MO

From the Author

"Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding" is the product of four things:

My conviction that scientific literacy, which includes both factual information and ways of thinking and reasoning, is pivotal in our addressing global environmental issues;

My belief that scientific literacy can be improved by presenting science in logical, systematic increments that build thinking skills of inquiry (observation, questioning, reasoning, and interpretation) at the same time as they develop a broad base of knowledge and understanding concerning scientific facts and concepts;

My background, which includes over 40 years of experience in researching, teaching, and writing about all aspects of environmental science as well as working with children;

A passion for learning and teaching.

"Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding" is the resulting product. Lessons address all the major areas of science. Lessons build in systematic steppingstone increments so that there is a continual reinforcement and integration as learning advances. I am hopeful that this text will prove useful to teachers, homeschoolers, and parents interested in presenting science to beginning science learners, regardless of their age.

I stand by to offer tutorial assistance so far as I am able.

Best wishes,
Dr. Nebel
Bernard J. Nebel, Ph.D.

Customer Reviews

She really KNOWS it).
This book introduces science concepts in a way that each builds on the previous, just like you would teach math, making it so much easier to understand.
Happy Mama
With BFSU Dr. Nebel provides the best science curriculum I have found.
Nikki Loscalzo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 89 people found the following review helpful By April P. Duritza on February 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Building Foundations for Scientific Understanding is a newly released collection of 41 thorough, brilliantly organized, and fascinating lesson plans, covering scientific ideas appropriate for grades K-2. It is suitable for classrooms, learning co-ops, homeschooling, and more. I am using it as a tool in homeschooling my 7 year old twin daughters.

I think this book is best described to homeschoolers as a living book about how to teach science. Dr. Nebel (who has a long career in teaching college level environmental science) is clearly passionate about his subject - science is his life's work. It seems that the goal of this curriculum is not just to have the child read a book and pass a test, but to encourage people to become scientists - thinkers who actually use scientific knowledge in their own lives.

Dr. Nebel's approach is systematic, yet flexible.

He compares science to math - Just as you would generally introduce addition before calculus, BFSU introduces foundational ideas first. This allows the child (and the parent, at least in my case!) to develop a good appreciation for and understanding of the terminology involved, as well as encouraging them to relate to how the concept fits into the real world.

At the same time, there is flexibility built in to the lesson plans.

The 41 lessons are divided into 4 different threads:

* The Nature of Matter
* Life Science
* Physical Science
* Earth and Space Science.

Each thread is carefully developed in a logical manner, with every lesson building on the foundation laid by the ones that came before.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Tracy L. Polyak on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased BFSU a couple of months ago with the intention of using it in the fall. After seeing the book, though, I ditched the $100 1st-grade science that I thought I loved, because BFSU was so much better. Dr. Nebel knows science and knows children, and that is a rare combination. And for a quarter of the price, I received three times the volume of lesson plans.

What is BFSU?
BFSU is neither a traditional nor a classical science curriculum. Rather, it is an entirely new approach to teaching science. There are two main ideas that drive this curriculum: (1) People learn more when it is relevant to their own lives, and (2) People retain more of what they learn if they are making mental connections. BFSU attempts to create and take advantage of "teaching moments," that is, those times when children are seeking to learn, asking questions and wanting to know. Although it is not marketed as using the Socratic method, I find the Socratic method used heavily to create these "teaching moments."

BFSU covers the following general areas of science, called "threads": Nature of Matter, Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth and Space Science. There is not a specific schedule or order in which you have to teach the lessons. The lessons, however, are intended to be taught approximately in a spiral such that you are teaching one or two lessons from one thread and then moving on to the next. Each lesson plan tells you what lessons from all threads that are considered prerequisite. The earlier lessons are designed for the younger K level students, and the later lessons for the older students. In this way, the child learns to integrate the different areas of science.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Lydia M. Netzer on April 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Learning science in kindergarten is a privilege that most public school students do not enjoy. Teachers have enough to do teaching them to read and do math and stand in line and answer to bells and wait their turn to speak and print their names properly and wait for paste and line up their crayons in a row. Ironically, the kids probably get more science education in preschool when they do themed unit weeks like weather week or ocean week than they do in the early elementary grades.

That's the kind of science little kids get, when they do get it: topical stuff. Let's learn about fish. Let's learn about plants. We'll learn about fish this week and plants next week, but we're not going to learn about what connects fish to plants or how the sun is connected to both fish and plants, because little kids don't typically get trusted with that kind of information. They aren't asked to see the big picture, draw lines between their thematic units, understand science as a whole, as a system of interconnected disciplines. A privileged first-grader who's getting a bigger-than-average helping of science is going to know the names of the planets and how bees make honey and that their eyes allow them to see, but that's where it stops. I can't honestly say that I've ever seen a whole-world approach to teaching science to young children until I saw Dr. Nebel's books.

His first book was a how-to manual addressing all aspects of elementary education, not just science. As an elementary level homeschool curriculum, it doesn't provide a box of workbooks, but teaches a philosophy of teaching and learning. It's called "Nebel's Elementary Education: Creating a Tapestry of Learning.
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