Sunday, May 17, 2009

Question: HS Biology Textbook

Question from April L.:
Do you have a recommendation for a high school biology text book(s) to use with the "Good Science, Good Faith" curriculum?

I teach science at a Christian high school and they have asked me to find a biology text book for next year. I am an old earth creationist. I have taught here for three years, and a state teaching certificate for science.

Thank you very much.
First of all, keep those questions coming! Love 'em.

Second, I'm glad to see that this is a question about what to use in conjunction with the "Good Science, Good Faith" curriculum. I really want to stress that GSGF is NOT a substitute for, but rather a supplement to, a standard high school science curriculum.

Now onto the answer to April's question. I recommend using a standard (secular) biology text for middle school and high school. The reason for this is because this is the viewpoint and research students will encounter in their university studies and mainstream culture.

There are really only a handful of options - Prentice-Hall and Glencoe being two of the main ones. Big publishers have become more friendly with homeschoolers in recent years. If you're heading up a co-op class, call the publisher and tell them, they might be willing to send you some free review copies since students will be required to purchase whichever text you end up choosing.

Reece and Campbell (2008) is considered by many to be the “gold standard” for high school biology textbooks because of its sophisticated discussion of evolution. In fact, Reece and Campbell was personally recommended to me by Jonathan Wells (author, Icons of Evolution). Wells thought that this text dealt the most responsibly with the actual data for biological evolution. (I have a hunch that this text is somewhat advanced, similar to an AP text.)

Biology, Eighth Edition [NOTE: There may be a more current edition now. I haven't checked.]
by Neil A. Campbell; Jane B. Reece; Lisa A. Urry; Michael L. Cain Steven A. Wasserman; Peter V. Minorsky; Robert B. Jackson
Publisher: Benjamin Cummings
Copyright Year: 2008
Publishing Date: 2007/11/27
Print ISBN-10: 0-321-54325-4
Print ISBN-13: 978-0-321-54325-7
eText ISBN-10: 0-321-54844-2
eText ISBN-13: 978-0-321-54844-3
Course: Introductory Biology
View the Table of Contents and sample pages here.

You could then use the Explore Evolution textbook, along with the Icons of Evolution DVD and the forthcoming Darwin's Dilemma DVD, as supplements to address the issue of biological evolution (as I'm sure this will be a concern for Christian parents and administrators who will wonder why you've chosen to use a secular biology textbook).

Good luck!


Jaime said...

If I were to use the Reese and Campbell text would I need to supplement with labs? Are there labs listed in the book? Would I need to purchase additional equipment? A lot of the homeschool materials (which are young earth) spell out how to pull off a biology course for a parent who isn't a scientist. Any help on this would be great.

Anonymous said...

As a general rule, mainstream science publishers provide a lab manual (usually a separate purchase).

If you're feeling uncertain about your ability to teach science at the high school level, then I would suggest enrolling your child either in a good co-op (that uses a mainstream science textbook) or a community college. Most community colleges will accept high schools students and often they can earn college credit at the same time. You could then supplement at home with material addressing the Christian worldview (such as Good Science, Good Faith) and evolution (such as Explore Evolution).

Jaime said...

I'm not feeling so uncertain with my ability to teach the material. I'm more uncertain about what additional materials I would need. If I were to use Apologia--as an example--when I purchased the text book they would also list any extra materials I might need such as lab manuals, microscopes, specimens for dissection, etc... I'm wondering if there is a place that would list what materials would be needed in order to have a complete biology curriculum and whether there is a good place to purchase such things. I guess I'm hoping that the author of this blog could give further direction in making this secular textbook a more complete curriculum, labs and all.
Thanks again. I really appreciate having found this blog and all the help that it has been to me.

Anonymous said...


Sorry, I misunderstood your question. I think the point you raise here is a good one. To my knowledge, there is no such list of materials for specific texts, but you could try calling the publisher and asking them directly. Certainly you aren't the first instructor with this question. In terms of obtaining materials, there are many web sites available, such as Sorry I can't be of more specific help on this question. But, again, I do think this is a really good question - one that I'm going to reflect on further.