Endorsed by Dr. Jay Wile for use with his Apologia Exploring Creation With Biology, Science Roots from Double Portion Publishing, Inc. is a nonconsumable course designed to teach Latin and Greek roots that form words found throughout the study of life sciences. Indeed, Nancy Paula Hasseler's 72-page softcover could benefit the student in any life science course, though it teaches the roots of science terms in the exact sequence of Wile's Exploring Creation With Biology. This means that ECWB module one words like metabolism and photosynthesis show up in chapter one of Science Roots. According to Hasseler, she has made minor adjustments to the newest printing of her curriculum because Apologia's second edition is now available. "The biggest change is that now I refer to textbook chapters (modules) instead of pages, so SR will match your textbook whether you're using 1st or 2nd edition Apologia." As a homeschooling mother, I appreciate that display of Hasseler's sensitivity.
Science Roots additionally teaches almost 50 roots from other life science fields. In all, you'll have at your fingertips the ability to learn 123 roots, which are keys to thousands of biology, botany, medicine, and life science terms. As students memorize these roots, they'll learn new terms more easily, understand the science course better, and gain a life-long tool that will help in future studies. Students also can gain a deeper understanding of the English language since approximately 70-percent of our own words are derivatives or advanced derivatives of these roots. As the book's back cover queries, "Which is easier to learn: fifty roots or 100,000 new words?" In all, remember, you'll have opportunity to learn 123 roots.
And why should you give much thought to learning that extensive nearly-new language found in a biology book? "Latin and Greek roots build an overwhelming majority of life science terms," Hasseler explained. "Learning one root can unlock as many as nine new study terms from your biology course. This book gives you that knowledge of the roots, which gives you a boost in your biology studies. Not only does this make your biology studies easier, but it also helps you learn terms from other science studies in future years." Students shouldn't look at Science Roots as "another subject" or "just more work to do" but as a means to solve the puzzle of a new vocabulary. Hasseler said, "Learning one root can unlock three, five or even nine new terms from your biology course. That certainly maximizes your study time. Many of these roots keep popping up throughout the life sciences and in advanced vocabulary outside the sciences, so they enhance your general vocabulary, too."
Hasseler suggests that if you are taking high school biology this year, get Science Roots now and learn the roots as you learn the related biology terms. However, if you'll take biology next year, you can start Science Roots now and spread the memory work over two years. "The appendix suggests a two-year study sequence, so you learn general life science roots (derm, cardio, etc.) the first year and biology-specific terms (cyto, leuco, etc.) the second year when you're taking biology." If you're as young as even the sixth grade and really like science, medicine, animal care, botany, and similar life sciences, Science Roots will help you learn generic life science terms now, and then you can progress to learning more biology-specific terms when you're older.
The program works this way: you typically learn one root each school day (three-to-five each week) by creating study cards. Each card will contain the root, its meaning, the source language, and at least three derivatives. You then compose your own definition for the sample words from your knowledge of the roots. More than 160 of these sample words/study terms are study terms from Exploring Creation with Biology, and those terms will show up on your Biology tests. Here is Hasseler's example of how you can make Science Roots work in your homeschool. "Let's imagine you are studying `hypo.' You create a card and write the root, its meaning, and its language on the top. Then you list the example words found in the book. One Example Word is `hypodermic,' so you compose a definition which emphasizes the meanings of its roots. For `hypodermic' you could write, `puts medicine UNDER the SKIN,' since `hypo' means `under' and `derm' means `skin.'"
Though learning roots - even with Hasseler's method -- places the onus on the student's memory, the author takes some of the "hassle" out of memorization with suggested games, and with her quick-and-easy plan. Formerly entitled Vocabulary Vine: Living Roots, the course recommends 15-to-20 minutes per new root. As a time-saving bonus, you can buy Partially Completed Study Cards to lighten the work load - the cards have the roots and the example words, and the student completes them by adding definitions for them. Otherwise, you'll need your own index cards, plus a card box and alphabetizing divider cards. If you get creative with learning and "discover" some new words, Hasseler invites you to share them with her; she likes to post them to her website.