My family had the privilege of trying Biology 101 of The 101 Series from Westfield Studios for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.
Westfield Studios was founded in 2004 by Wes and Tammy Olson for their two oldest boys. In 2003 Tammy was looking for a Biology curriculum for her homeschool that fit her needs and could not find it. Wes decided that since he had 15 years of corporate film production experience and a natural love of science he would produce it for his wife. Thus Westfield Studios was born and now it has three science productions: Biology 101, Physics 101, and Chemistry 101, with a forth, General Science, possibly coming in 2017. Before production these films were also reviewed by experts in the fields of biology, physics, and chemistry so they are scientifically accurate.
Biology 101 is a full Christian biology high school course designed specifically for ages 15 and up for homeschoolers. It comes as a set of 4 DVDs and Biblically teaches biology following the book of Genesis and the creation days. There are nine individual segments and a guidebook that you can print out to accompany the film. The combined running time is 4 hours and 37 minutes.
- Introduction: Defining Life and Life Classification (15 min.): Classification and Taxonomy.
- 3rd Day - Plants (37 min.): Vascular Plants - Plant Parts (flowers with fruit and seeds, leaves, stems, roots), Grasses, Annuals & Perennials, Trees. Nonvascular Plants - Moss & Liverworts, Algae, Fungi, and Lichen.
- 5th Day - Aquatic Creatures (40 min.): Vertebrates - Osteichthyes (bony fish), Chondrichthyes cartilage fish), Agnatha (jawless fish), Aquatic Mammals (nursing), Aquatic Reptiles (creeping). Invertebrates - Mollusk (soft body), Arthropod (joint foot), Protozoa, Worms, Cnidarian (stinging), Porifera (with pores), Echinoderm (prickly skin), Extinct Aquatics.
- 5th Day - Avian Creatures (44 min.): Flying Vertebrates - Birds. Flying Invertebrates - Insects.
- 6th Day - Land Animals Part 1 (22 min.): Vertebrates - Warmblooded (Cattle & Beasts), Coldblooded (Creeping Things) - Reptiles & Amphibians.
- 6th Day - Land Animals Part 2 (28 min.): Invertebrates - Land Arthropods, Land Mollusks, Land Worms, Bacteria & Viruses.
- 6th Day - Mankind Part 1 (27 min.): Anatomy & Physiology - The Brain, The Five Senses, Skeletal System, Muscular System.
- 6th Day - Mankind Part 2 (24 min.): Anatomy & Physiology Continuation - Circulatory System, Digestive System, Lymphatic System, Endocrine System, Human Development.
- Genetics: A Brief History of Biology, Cells and Genetics (40 min.)
- Guidebook and Accreditation Booklet (PDF): accompanied by a printable 114 page fact-filled guidebook that also includes multiple choice quizzes and discussion questions to review all the information covered in the film. This also has labs/activities and field trip recommendations. A 12-page “Course Accreditation Program” booklet is included for those families who want a year-long biology course.
SOME OF THE THINGS WE LEARNED SO FAR...
- Vascular plants have tubes that are a lot like trachea (windpipe) that take in nutrients and water.
- An easy way to remember the male and female part of a flower is to look at the ending: stamen is male and stigma is female.
- Algae played a roll in the making of dynamite.
- Grasses are essential for our survival.
- Trees are the oldest living things on the planet. The oldest living one is 4500 years old.
- The scales of fish have ring segments providing a record of their age similar to tree rings.
- Seahorses are classified as bony fish even though they do not look anything like a fish.
- California flying fish can glide up to 500 feet!
- Sharks use and loose as many as 2000 teeth every year!
- The word walrus means horse whale.
How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
Since The 101 Series is appropriate for the entire family we had everyone in the family watch the Biology 101 course. We had not had a taste of this series before, so this was new to us. My 16 year old did the questions in the guidebook, which goes along with the DVDs seamlessly.
I love that it teaches biology along with the Bible. The way the curriculum went along with creation was genius! I love that we could also reference back to the scriptures while we learned.
We completed aquatic creatures for this review. The Biology 101 course so far has been tremendously interesting and engaging. The videos are visually rich with pictures and illustrations. Wes is a great narrator and host for this program and he is both interesting and entertaining. He captivates his audience well. My children, even my younger ones, were fascinated with this course so far and are excited to learn and watch more. I was even learning things that I did not know!
We cannot wait to continue this course! It is fantastic and not just for homeschoolers!! You can use this as a supplement if your kids are in the public/private school system, especially if you want to have Christian education in your home. This is a great homeschool science, middle school science, and high school science course. We highly recommend this to anyone that wants to teach their children a biblical worldview of science.
You can purchase Biology 101, Physics 101, Chemistry 101 for $69.95 each or save money as a bundle for all three at $168.95!
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