I’m making a quick post to keep you updated on my progress with the Otter’s Christian High School Biology program. I pretty much finished the schedule and have researched and scheduled lots of extras like “living books”, a huge variety of labs for different budgets and interest levels, videos, activities and more. Now I’m putting most of my efforts into the textbook itself. I’ve already edited and changed some of it. I’m continuing to work through the chapters slowly but surely. One of the things I’ve added are custom graphics. One thing I really like about this textbook is how graphics intensive it is. I’m a very visual person and appreciate lots of pretty stuff in books, lol. I also think pictures and illustrations really help students connect to the material being taught.
Here are a few examples of some of the graphics I’ve made for Otter’s Biology:
I’ve added in graphics that explain vocabulary words by breaking them down into Greek and Latin roots:
I’ve also added in custom graphics to explain specific concepts.
By the way, Mr. Carrot is sort of a personal joke between Otter and me. I first introduced Mr. Carrot on one of the notebook pages I made for Otter on nutrition. Mr. Carrot then appeared on a math worksheet (hand-drawn), wondering how he ended up there and thinking he was in perhaps the wrong place. He’s since decorated many of Otter’s worksheets and other creations I’ve made for him. He’s like a recurring character that ends up all over the place.
I replaced the very “unfriendly” illustration about diffusion that was in the text with this (Hello Mr. Carrot!):
This graphic helps illustrate what an enzyme does and introduces a simple experiment:
This one below helps make ATP more memorable. The caption in the textbook explains how the character below is actually ADP and why.
Besides all of the work in the textbook, I’ve also started working on editing (actually redoing) the CK-12 biology workbook to better reflect the new textbook content (as well as to only feature creationist beliefs) and to also be more visually engaging. I will be adding some interactive notebooking activities to the workbook pages as well, but haven’t gotten around to that yet.
Here are a few screenshots of some of the workbook pages. They are pretty basic adaptations of the current CK-12 workbook although I’ll be adding my own stuff after I’ve adapted the rest of CK-12′s work (gotta love that open source creative commons license!!). When I’m done with it, it won’t be all this true/false, multiple choice, blah blah blah. LOL. That kind of thing has its place, but I don’t want it to be the only sort of activity to help retention.
There is also an answer key being developed at the same time.
You’ll notice in the screenshot below that there is a Bible verse for students to fill in some of the blanks. That verse is featured in the textbook and so I took the opportunity to reinforce it.
I like to add a little humor to some of the sheets. The deer in the picture below is commenting on one of the true/false questions…
A graphic of a hummingbird and flower help students think about question number 5…
Otter enjoys jokes, so I’ll be putting a few on some of the worksheets to liven them up a little.
So, that’s it for now!
Everything is coming along and I’m devoting a HUGE amount of time to this project. If you’d like to get involved and help out, I would love to hear from you. I need help “dumbing down” and/or sprucing up some portions of the text to make them more accessible/interesting, researching vocabulary roots, adding Christian material and/or Bible verses that are tied to some of the concepts, etc.
Stay tuned to my blog for more updates!