One Big Fat Notebook Resource Books for Study Help


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is hard to believe the end of the school year is upon us. We have been lucky this year. Hazel's small private school has been open all year so she has been in person since the day after Labor Day. When I was a teacher this was the time of the year where we were trying to cram in what we had left to cover and then get the kids ready for finals. As a student I hated final exams. There was just so much to learn and remember for them. And if you struggled with some topic it was sure to show up on the final exam. Today I am going to share with you three books from a series of books that are perfect for helping kids in middle school and high school ace hard classes. I have already shared the geometry one with you (since you know I'm a sucker for math books). Then Hazel's fifth grade teacher shared that she was using some of the middle school books to prepare lessons for her on-line classes and she loves the books. (She left the school and is only teaching on-line now.) I decided to give the books another look. Today I am going to share the middle school book on computer science and the high school books on biology and chemistry. All three books are really well written and explain the topics in simple terms that kids will be able to understand. I'm really hoping they come out with a physics one so I can really learn physics after awful experiences with it in high school and college. 

We will start with Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook by Grant Smith. Technology class was the class at Hazel's new school she was most worried about. She hadn't had much experience with technology at her other schools and at the new school the kids had been taking technology since kindergarten. She was afraid she would be so far behind. I wish I had seen this book before the school year so she could have had it all year. However her technology teacher is wonderful and Hazel is excelling in the class. This book breaks down computer science and coding for any middle schooler to understand. It starts with things like what a computer is and throughout it there is a bit of history. I was happy to see Ada Lovelace and Grace Murray Hopper mentioned in it. Besides what a computer is and how it works there is information about coding. There are basic information like understanding input and output and loops and then it gets into Python and html. 

The book is color-coded and vocabulary words are highlighted. Important concepts are also marked and there are different tips throughout it. Plus there are fun jokes and puns throughout it. Each chapter ends with a check your knowledge as well as answers to the questions. 

This book is perfect for a middle schooler (or high schooler) new to computer science and/or coding. It is also a great resource for a teacher or a blogger. The last chapter teaches html and how to code a basic webpage! I'm going to go back and read that chapter and play around with it some more! 

Now I didn't check out any of the other middle school books in the series, but as I mentioned Hazel's former teacher did and she loves them for using with her lesson plans. There are a total of six middle school books in the series.

Our next book is Everything You Need to Ace Biology in One Big Fat Notebook by Matthew Brown. This book has everything you need for biology in high school (besides the experiments and dissections). It begins with an introduction to biology and then goes from there with talk about atoms and molecules to cells, bacteria, viruses, protists, fungi, plants, animals, human body, genetics, evolution, ecosystems and more. It is set up in a similar fashion to the other books with color-coding, highlighted vocabulary words and more.

The pages look like notebook pages. The books however are about 6-inches by 8 inches and about 2 inches thick. Think really thick composition notebooks. The words and pictures are so easy to follow and really are how a teacher would ideally want a student to take notes but who can really do it like this.

Every chapter ends with questions and then the answers to make sure the reader is understanding and learning from the pages. On the sample page above you can see the answers to the questions for Chapter 19. I love the colors in the notes that help draw the eye to what is important and I love that the chapters/sections are color coded by the page numbers. 

This book is ideal for anyone taking high school biology. It would be a great review of the year to get ready for the final. It would be a great resource to have while going through the year. For a student who wants to get a head start reading this book to preview the subject would be an amazing summer project. Plus it is great to help teachers organize their own lessons. 

Our final book for today is Everything You Need to Know about Chemistry in One Big Fat Notebook by Jennifer Swanson. Once again it is color coded and looks like the pages from a notebook. It begins with an introduction to chemistry then goes into matter, atomic theory, periodic table, bonding, chemical compounds, chemical reactions, gases, solutions, acids and bases, thermodynamics and more! It has all the key concepts from high school chemistry.

Each chapter ends with questions and answers for the reader to check his/her understanding (see last photo on page). The important things are boxed or highlighted and the concepts are easy to follow and understand with the explanations given. 

The illustrations aid in the understanding as do the different colors and different markings. I love how these books are written to help kids learn hard subject. These books are meant to aide students while they take the class. This book explains different topics so well including the math in chemistry. I always say the best math teacher I had was my chemistry teacher. He had a way of explaining the math needed to use the chemistry formulas. He also had a love of teaching.

This book is perfect to help a student review for a final or get ready for chemistry next year. It is also perfect to be a resource while taking the class and once again can help a teacher with organization of lessons and notes. Plus these books also are amazing reviews of these subjects for adults who may not have studied the subject in quite awhile! I hope you will check them out!