REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry by Pandia Press

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REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry

Chemistry is one of those subjects that people seem to either love or hate. And I think most people hate it. I say this because my husband is a chemistry teacher, and after he meets someone and tells them he teaches chemistry, over 75% of them say “Yuck, I hated Chemistry.” OK, so maybe not those exact words, and no, I haven’t actually recorded the data.When I opened my package from Pandia Press to find that I had received R.E.A.L. Science Chemistry (level one) to review, I was very excited. Even though they say that opposites attract, in our home, my chemistry loving husband married a chemistry loving chemical engineer.

About the program:

R.E.A.L. Science Chemistry (level one) is designed to be used by students in the 2nd – 5th grade for a full year of study. The text (available in bound, loose-leaf, or e-book format) contains:

For My Notebook Pages – These page are to be read either aloud by the teacher or by the student himself. These present the new material and vocabulary.

Lab Sheets – These are the sheets that the students complete as they are performing the labs.

The Instructor Pages – These pages contain the supply lists and detail the laboratory procedures.

Poem Pages and Crossword Puzzles – One of these is included per unit for reinforcement of vocabulary and concepts.

My thoughts:

This program is very clearly laid out, and the explanations make the chemistry concepts understandable.

It is FULL of labs, which is absolutely essential for a chemistry program. Also, the labs use household materials with a master list of all the supplies conveniently placed at the beginning of the book. The labs emphasize the scientific method in a meaningful way. I have seen some science programs where the scientific method seems “tacked on” to an otherwise fun activity.
R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Chemistry

This photo is of part of Lab #2: Telling Things Apart. The objective of this lab was to learn about physical tests and chemical tests and to determine which were more effective in telling the difference between 3 white powders: baby powder, powdered sugar, and baking powder. The lab sheet was clearly laid out, making it easy for my daughter to record her data and draw her conclusions. I also want to point out that we are using regular kitchen materials. A word of warning, these labs are not quick. This one took my daughter over an hour. She enjoyed it, even though she was resistant at first. (She has this crazy idea that she doesn’t like chemistry, which is not allowed in our house.)

The course also contains other hands-on activities like making element models from marshmallows and making an element book.

Why you might not like this book:

You won’t like this book if you don’t want to do hands-on-activities. They are time consuming, but an absolutely essential part of this program. If you’re looking for a book to read about chemistry for younger students, this is not a good choice.

You might not like this book if you don’t want to do any lapbooking type activities. These types of activities do not make up the majority of the activities, but you would be skipping too much of the text if you left them out.

You won’t like this book if you’re looking for a Christian chemistry text.  We are a Christian family, and we do tend to use Christian science texts. However, I think that chemistry is the easiest science for a Christian to use a secular text, because it doesn’t involve discussions of the origin of the earth or the origin of life, like geology and biology do.

I am planning on going back to our regular science to finish this year, BUT will come back to R.E.A.L. Science Chemistry next year for my older daughter and younger son. I would recommend this program to people who don’t fall into the categories I mentioned above. If everyone had such a fun, early chemistry experience, maybe there wouldn’t be so many chemistry hating people in the world!

How to order:

You can order R.E.A.L. Science in an e-book format directly from Pandia Press. They list the advantages of an e-book on their website. One of the advantages is a lower price. This text is only $47.99 in the electronic format, plus you don’t pay shipping.

But honestly, for a book this size, I would recommend a paper copy. You will need to be printing almost every page anyway, so unless you’ve got a VERY low cost way to print (the book is 431 pages!), you won’t be saving any money buying the e-book. Plus, you are permitted to make copies of the pages for your own family’s use, so you don’t have to worry about buying extra student pages. (That’s assuming you have an easy and inexpensive way to make copies.) There is a list on the Pandia Press website with links to suppliers that sell the printed copies. The price varies, but I did notice that Rainbow Resource currently sells R.E.A.L. Science curriculum for $38.50 for either loose leaf or the bound format.

Disclosure: This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are our own.

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6 thoughts on “REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry by Pandia Press”

  1. I'll have to take a closer look at this, since we weren't selected to review this 🙁 We're looking for good hands-on chemistry/science curriculum. Did DH get a chance to look over this one? Just curious as to what he thinks about it.

  2. Thanks for the review. I have been using History Odyssey from Pandia Press and have liked it. My younger son is in 5th grade now, so I may wait and see what Level 2 for science looks like.

    Do you think the Level 1 grade levels are appropriate, or would you say older kids could use it?



  3. What age is your baby? I have waffled back and forth about this program. A very solid science education is important to me, so I would also be interested to hear what the Chemistry teaching dad thinks about it.

  4. But I will have him take a look at it so I can share his opinion. My baby is almost 3-1/2, so she won't be using R.E.A.L. science next year. But knowing her, she'll want to "help" with the experiments.

    As far as using it above the 5th grade, there is definitely plenty of material that a 6th who had never studied chemistry would not know. I think you could use it with 6th grade along with younger children. I probably wouldn't buy it if my youngest were 6th grade, but would look for the level 2 product. I don't know when that will be available though.

  5. No, I don't mean how old is your BABY, I meant how old is the child in the pictures who is using the material! Sorry! I still call all my kids The Babies when I am talking about them, even though practically all traces of "baby" has disappeared from my oldest, who is 5. What I was getting at it is, what would you say is the optimal age to start using the R.E.A.L. Science stuff?

  6. It is funny, my husband is a chemistry major and taught high school chemistry for 2 years. He is a pastor now.

    Have you ever tried Real science 4 kids? I am leaning towards RS4Kids for next year, but was curious about R.E.AL science odyssey.

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