My first experience with Apologia Science was when I decided to try Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day with my daughter instead of the same old science classes I’d been teaching for years.  Exploring Creation with Zoology 3 ended up being the best science class I have ever taught.  My daughter and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back and do Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.

Strengths:
Did you know that the Arctic Tern flies more that 20,000 miles every year as it migrates from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic and then back?  Did you know that Bar-headed Geese fly above the “death zone” elevation of 25,000 feet that humans can’t survive in?  Did you know that the Bristle-thighed Curlew and the Short-tailed Shearwater fly 5,000 miles without ever stopping?  Did you know that some birds use the magnetic field of the earth to navigate, others use the sun and stars, and many recognize landmarks? These are just a few of the interesting facts students will learn about in Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.

Apologia takes an immersion approach in teaching zoology, allowing for a much more in-depth study of specific types of animals.  In Zoology 1, students spend the entire year learning about flying creatures, taking learning way beyond the typical couple of weeks spent on one subject in traditional science books.  Since so much time is devoted to one area of science, students are able to gain a much greater understanding of the animals they are studying.

For years, I have taught the traditional spiral-method of science that barely scratches the surface of many different areas in one year and I greatly appreciate the immersion approach that allows students to focus on one specific area and dive deep into learning.

Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day begins with a unit that teaches what zoology is.  Students learn all about classification from kingdom to species, why Latin is used for scientific names, about the two-name classification system, what a habitat is, what instincts are, what it means to be extinct, and more.

After gaining a good grasp of what zoology is, students then begin to learn all about birds.   This section starts with a lesson thoroughly covering what makes a bird a bird.  The study of birds continues with lessons full of information and interesting facts about feathers, flying, migrating, nesting, matching, and hatching.

After the study on birds, Zoology 1 moves on to bats.  This section begins by pointing out false myths about bats and replacing them with truth and facts.  Students then learn all about the anatomy of bats, how bats “see” in the dark, different kinds of bats, how bats are beneficial, bat habitats, hibernation, bat babies, and more.

Next, is a section on flying reptiles.  This covers the extinct pterosaurs like the pteranodon, pterodactyls, quetzalcoatlus, and rhamphorhynchoids.  Students will learn some amazing facts about these animals of long ago.

The study of flying creatures continues with a section on insects.  This section starts out with how to identify insects, the anatomy of insects and how to know animals that are mistaken for insects really aren’t.  The lessons cover a ton of information and many interesting facts about life cycles, life styles, social insects, (including insects that actually farm and shepherd), beetles, flies, true bugs, and many other insects.

Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 finishes with a special insect study on butterflies, moths and skippers.  In this section, students will learn all about the anatomy, migration, and metamorphosis of these beautiful creatures.  These lessons also show you how to tell the difference between these delicate fliers, how to attract them to your yard, and how to raise butterflies as pets.

Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day is filled with colorful pictures and has activities and experiments throughout the book that are fairly easy to come up with the supplies for.  The book also has a password at the beginning to the Apologia website that gains you access to a bunch of videos and articles about the animals studied in the book.

Weaknesses:
Several of the activities in Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day are rather involved, requiring a lot of supplies and time.  Some of the activities require cutting and building that can be difficult to do with younger students.

Recommendations:
I highly recommend Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day as an alternative to the same old science classes.  I also recommend that you take advantage of the website as it adds so much to the study.  As far as the activities go, I recommend picking the ones that work for your class and skipping the others.  Activities that are too difficult for younger children can even be saved for a later school year.

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