Fascinating Biology ~ Review

One of AJ’s favorite subjects is science, so she was excited when we were given the chance to review a biology course from Fascinating Education. We received year long access to the Fascinating Biology  course and a short review course on chemistry.

What is Fascinating Biology?

Fascinating Education is an online science curriculum that uses audio and visual aids to teach science concepts in a fascinating way.

It is a self paced program, geared for high school students, that is broken down into 18 lessons. Throughout the course your child will learn a variety of topics including:

  • Components of life
  • Cell membranes
  • Taking in nutrients
  • Creating chemical energy
  • Growing and repairing
  • Reproducing
  • Maintaining a stable internal environment
  • and adapting to a changing external environment

Each of the 18 lessons has a presentation to watch where information is read to the student. It is really more like a slide show. On the left side of the screen there is a list of each slide. Your student can watch the presentation straight through or they can skip to the section they need to revisit.

The lessons themselves are long and cover a lot of information, too much information in my opinion. Your student may decide to only watch part of the presentation at a time, and it is easy to jump back in the next time they work on science. In addition to the audio presentation, there is also the option to print out the lesson script.

At the end of each lesson there is an optional multiple choice test. The test can be taken online, or you can print off a PDF version for your student. Progress and test results are not recorded in any way, so if you need or want a record of the test results you will need to print the results immediately following the test.

The program doesn’t contain any worksheets, labs, or experiments. It is more like listening to a professor lecture in a classroom setting.

This is a secular based course, so it talks about evolution and refers to the world being millions of years old. While I disagree with that opinion, I do not have an issue with it being taught. By the high school level I feel a child should be able to listen to differing beliefs and stand firm in what they believe.

How We Used Fascinating Biology

When I looked at this program I thought it would be a great fit for AJ. She is in 7th grade, but I thought she would be able to handle the information. The real selling point for us was that it had audio and she wouldn’t have to read through a science book.

Unfortunately, this program was not a good fit for us. We tried using it a few different ways. In the beginning I had AJ watch and listen to the presentation, we discussed some of the information and then she took the test. It was the first time she ever failed a test!

We went over the lesson again, but no matter how hard she tried, there was just too much information in the lesson for her to remember.

For the next few lessons I had her take notes, that still didn’t help. She has pages and pages of notes from the lessons, but couldn’t pass the tests or explain what she was learning.

What did we think of Fascinating Biology?

The program was a bad fit for AJ! I think the lessons really had too much information jammed into them for her retain the information. We both found the narrator to be monotone and I even found myself not paying attention during the lessons because I was not interested. We both thought that some of the test questions were poorly worded and confusing.

I think that at this time a lecture based program is too advanced for AJ. She needs a way to practice what she is learning and the lack of worksheets or experiments had her dreading the subject. Even when she took notes, there was so much information that she had problems knowing what was the most important information.

I really feel that this program would have worked a lot better if there would have been optional worksheets to go with the lessons. It would have helped to reinforce key topics.

If you have a student who doesn’t need the hands on element and is an audio learner, this may be exactly what you are looking for. It is easy to navigate and does a good job of covering a lot of information.

See what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say.

Fascinating Education Review
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