Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Merlin Science: For the Alchemist in You

Thanks to my friend, Gina, for posting this link! Merlin Science offers distance learning classes in Alchemy (Chemistry), Astronomy, and Genetics. The program consists of a hypertextbook (you read it off the screen) with a notes section, question & answer section and an online quiz at the end of each unit. The really cool part is that the textbook covers high school and beginning college level chemistry in dialogue format, so it's much more interesting to read than your average textbook.

I think this is a terrific resource, mostly because it mimics exactly how I teach. ;-) I prefer to tell stories rather than give lectures. DH teaches science by asking probing, open-ended questions. And we teach for mastery--if the boys don't do so well on the text, we teach them again until they've mastered everything. Merlin does all these things. The Q&A questions are open-ended, requiring critical thought, and answers are fully explained. The quiz questions give you instant feedback (correct or incorrect) and explain the questions you've missed. Once you've gotten a perfect score, you get a certificate of completion for that section.

The Merlin curricula are not accredited, so not eligible for high school credit except through homeschooling, or perhaps through the SAT II subject test. Some schools do use the Merlin program to help prepare for AP tests (genetics for AP Bio, for example. I ran it the introductions section by Xavier this morning and he was suitably impressed, so I guess we're not going to run out of science for him to do when he finished 8th grade sci next year, after all. Yay!

1 comment:

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