Monday, April 15, 2013

Supercharged Science {Schoolhouse Review}

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Our Science studies over the past couple of years have primarily centered around nature. Why? Because it's fairly easy to do. You go outside, see something that interests you, and learn about it. But other more technical and advanced Science studies have scared me. I guess since I don't feel like I know much about it that I won't be able to adequately teach it. And, where do we start? Thankfully we were given the opportunity to review e-Science by Supercharged Science.

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Al and Aurora Lipper have a true passion for science! I have received Aurora's free e-mails for a couple of years and we have tried some of her experiments at times. She also gives great webinars and a summer e-camp! The video instructions clearly demonstrate how to do the experiments and, scientifically, why things happen. She not only speaks to children, but to us parents, as well, who don't know the answers our children seek.

My favorite thing about the Supercharge Science way is that the Lippers believe that doing experiments and activities FIRST will spark an interest into digging deeper and learning more about the topics. And I have found that my children learn science best this way, as well.

How We Used the Curriculum

To be honest, there are so many units available on e-Science that I didn't know which ones we would do. One of our weeks happened like this: Prompted by one of the Lippers free e-mails of the disappearing beaker experiment we decided that Unit 9 on "Light" would be the unit we would do first.

We watched the video on the disappearing beaker and then conducted the experiment ourselves. The next day we moved onto the bending light experiment with the pencil.

Then we were attracted to the experiments on Infra-Red Light. We did the Light Waves experiments of "How to 'See' Infra-Red Light" and "Crazy Remote".

These experiments taught us that snakes can see Infra-Red Light, but humans cannot. We looked up a Youtube video showing a viper hunting down a field mouse at night by seeing it's Infra-Red heat.

The third day we did the experiment "Making IR Visible to the Human Eye".

And then we made microscopes and telescopes with two magnifying glasses.

We learned a lot with very little effort! And we had all of the materials needed already in our house. A couple of other units we dabbled in were Unit 2: "Motion" (which was prompted by our love of the Blue Angels from Pensacola) and Unit 18: "Biology 1" (we used as a follow-up to our recent science studies on birds).

Here is another example about how e-Science and Supercharged Science can be used. My son is in Cub Scouts and one of the electives he is working on is Space. One of the requirements for this elective is for him to "Build a model of a rocket or space satellite." I went straight to e-Science and in the search box typed in "rocketry" which led me to the Pop Rocket activity. We will be able to use e-Science to fulfill a Cub Scout elective!

My Opinion

The e-Science program by Supercharged Science is exactly that ... supercharged! It's exciting, fun, simple, and very informative! The lessons we learned hooked my kids time and time again during our review time and caused us to ask questions and dig deeper to learn more.

I believe that Science will continue to be that one area where I struggle as a teacher, at least until the kids are in high school and are studying more concrete subjects. But, it's nice to know that I can log onto e-Science now, choose an activity and GO with it! OR if we are studying a certain topic, I know that I can go to the website and choose a unit to correspond with our regular studies.

It is possible that we will use e-Science for stand-alone unit studies throughout our schooling, or we may use it to supplement something we are already learning.

Product Details

The e-Science program we reviewed is intended for children ages K-8 (and their inquisitive parents!). The cost for a membership is $37 per month and includes (from the website):

  • Videos of teaching real science to your kids, just like I do in an actual classroom
  • Text-book type reading to support the material in the videos
  • Hands-on activities and experiments, with videos that guide your kids through them. These activities and experiments are what really ignite a passion for science in most kids.
  • Homework exercises/quizzes so you can see what your kids are really learning, and tips for how to keep track of your progress in a real a science journal
  • A live science class in difference science areas every few weeks where you can connect with me personally
  • Parent resources for helping you give your kids the best science education they can get
  • A place to ask me questions (lots of them!)
  • Recordings of everything so your kids can do the program on whatever schedule AND at whatever pace suits them. 

There is also a program for K-12 that is $57 per month. Both programs can be ordered at the Supercharged Science website. Your monthly membership gets you total online access to all of the e-Science videos, readings, materials, exercises, activities, experiments, support, and more.

All information Homeschool Parents need to know about the e-Science program can be obtained by going to the "For Homeschool Parents" page on the Supercharged Science e-Science Online Learning Program website.

Still not sure if e-Science would be a good fit for you? You can do a free lesson and get a copy of the Science Activity Video Series and Guidebook by going to this link.

Other reviews by the Crew can be found at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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