Dreaming Spires Home Learning is offering three different science courses for 2018-2019. One of them is General Science, aimed at middle school and early high school. The other two - Biology and Chemistry - are honors' level, lab-based sciences for high school credit. 

Learning the skill of scientific enquiry!

All our science courses use a unique approach to scientific study - instead of boring, dry textbooks, students are drawn into the subject through reading modern, award-winning books like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for Biology, or Elements of Murder for the forensics unit in Chemistry. We focus on not just scientific facts, concepts, and principles, but often looking at the ethics of a topic and how the issue applies to our modern world.

This a perfect approach to someone who has found all other science courses feel like doing chores instead of learning something that's fun and interesting and exciting. It's particularly good for students who have aspirations in science because you don't just slog through lists and vocabulary, but you read about the science in a modern context.

Here's how Dreaming Spires' Science courses work:

  • A full year's course lasts 30 weeks, though we do accept mid-term entry as well. These part-year courses are generally 17 out of the full 30 weeks, depending on how the holidays fall; 
  • Students will read between 60-100 pages a week depending on which course you choose; they will have homework due each week, generally study questions and summaries;
  • Students will attend the weekly one-hour, live, online webinar where their comments and contributions are generally made via chatbox, typing while the tutor uses the mic to present information that expands, deepens, or broadens what was read during the week for homework. Occasionally, we will make use of webcams and microphones, but this is only ever optional
  • The weekly time commitment for the whole course - webinar and homework - is envisioned to be at least 4 1/2 hours, most of which is undertaken in the student's own time.
  • In between these live webinars, students have 24/7 access to the course environment where there are pdfs of the webinar Powerpoint, links to recordings of webinars, additional background resources, and discussion forums, both those that are reserved for posting homework as well as those that are purely social. There are also optional lab instructions for anyone who wants to repeat one of the tutor-led online demonstrations in their own home.
  • The ultimate aim of the Dreaming Spires Science courses is to obtain a working and applicable knowledge of the principles of science, to engage students in an active and enjoyable way, and to encourage them to see how science is something real and concrete and seen all around them.

    This one looks like a fun guy!

Dreaming Spires Biology

Dreaming Spires Biology will encourage students to observe and question the world around them.   We will explore Biology concepts through observation, vocabulary building, ethics and discussions of current events, using scientific methods and labs.  Concepts to be explored include different types of cells, how cells work and their organelles, cell reproduction, botany, animal classifications, genetics, and will include theories related to evolution, creation, and intelligent design.  Some of the books we will explore together include The Hot Zone by Richard Preston which will help understand why one’s understanding of cells and viruses is exciting and important.  We will be reading the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack as we explore cell reproduction and cancer cells and how these concepts help us in our life today.  We will also be looking at the book, The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee, and The Hidden life of Trees by Peter Wohlenben.  

My goal is to light a fire of understanding of how science, and in particular biology, surround us in our daily life by exploring living books while learning about biology concepts.  Our secondary students will leave the course with real-world understanding of biology concepts and how they pertain to them in the world, all while supporting them for any future exam syllabus they may want to follow.

Resources are provided to re-create labs at home

For days and times of Dreaming Spires Science courses, see the current timetable here:

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