Sunday, October 27, 2013

(Review) Bridgeway Academy Learning Labs~~Marine Biology

If you have read my blog even a few times, you know that my daughter is an animal-enthusiast and a lover of all things animal science. She was thrilled when I told her we were selected to review Bridgeway Academy’s new Learning Labs: Fun with Science: Marine Biology.

Bridgeway Academy has been serving the homeschool community for many, many years, and is well-respected, accredited, and trusted.  Besides Abbey's love for the subject matter, the BridgewayAcademy name is what made me want to try this class. 

The online classes are easy in which to register.  Besides Marine Biology, other classes that are available at different times throughout the year include Backyard Biology, Architecture with Legos, Magic Tree House Detectives, Weather and Climate Science, just to name a few.

This hour-long class, for nine weeks, is a live, interactive class in which a certified marine biologist lectures and teachers with tools such as an interactive whiteboard, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and interactive chat boards.  Carla Berg was our instructor for this course, and she definitely knew her stuff. She had a ton of knowledge to share with the class, and I could tell she was passionate about the subject matter, and had taken a lot of time to prepare for each class.

The recommended age for this class is 5th to 8th grade, and the content is definitely geared for this older elementary/middle school age group.   The homework assignments were extremely advanced, and while my daughter had a tough time doing it completely by herself, she did enjoy the process, and wanted to please Ms. Berg each week. 

Homework assignments varied from multiple choice (through an online site called Moodle), to essay, presentations, newsletters, and more.  The scoring system found on this site was confusing, so there were many weeks I simply emailed the assignment to Ms. Berg for grading.   Ms. Berg stated that the students should be spending about two hours per week on homework, but some assignments were taking Abbey over four hours to complete, because of the amount of research involved. I am not saying that is a negative aspect, because certainly Abbey learned in her homework, but it was a bit overwhelming for her some weeks. 

Here is Abbey’s assignment on the alligator gar (on which she scored an A):

Some of the other goals we accomplished during this class: 

  • Understand the basic components of marine environments.
  • Identify different families of marine animals based on common characteristics.
  • Use a dichotomous key.
  • Differentiate between marine ecosystems.
  • Understand different technologies used to explore the oceans
 Abbey learned terms and organisms that she did not know about, and truly retained a ton of information after each class, even when I wasn’t sure if she was absorbing it all or not.  I will make one note here that this was not taught from a Creation-based nor from an evolution-based perspective.  It was simply the facts about the marine organisms and how they relate to each other.

Online learning is such a great break for homeschooling parents, and Bridgeway Academy offers so many unique choices.  Each Learning Lab is $145 for a 9-week session.   Each lab is approximately an hour long, so that averages to $16 per class.  For most homeschooling families, that price is going to be too steep for a single class, but if you are considering it, the content is most definitely worth the price of admission.

There were several other families in this class with Abbey and me, and in other Bridgeway Academy Learning Labs over the last several weeks, so don’t just take my word for it, click here or on the blinking banner below to read their reviews!

Ready to register for the next class or just to learn more? Then start here and have fun!


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