Thursday, June 26, 2014

Go Science DVDs (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Library and Educational Services is an education wholesaler.  When we first ordered the Go Science Series 2 DVDs, I was a little nervous because we're not an "official" school or library.  (I know some homeschools are considered private schools in their states; in our state, we're pretty much off the educational grid.)   Ordering was easy (we used our semi-official school name, Adventure Academy, as the school we were ordering DVDs for), and next thing I knew, our DVDs appeared in our mailbox. 

Go Science Review

 Go Science is a compilation of science experiment demonstrations.  They are hosted by Ben Roy, a science teacher at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and former director of a television science program.  He engages with the children, involving them throughout the experiments.  Not only does he have them come up to help, but he points out safety issues. They are geared to students ages 4 to 12, and the children present in the mini-classes are about the same age (perhaps up to about 13 or 14).   These DVDs explain fundamentals of science, and make laboratory experiments accessible to all children.

There are a total of seven DVDs in the series. Available for review were:

Volume 1: Sound, Gravity, Space
Volume 2: Life Science, Weather
Volume 3: Air
Volume 4: Motion, Friction, Electricity, Light
Volume 5: States of Matter, Water
Volume 6: Chemistry
Volume 7: Engineering, Design, Flight

We reviewed Volumes 1 and 4.  Each DVD costs $8.97, but you can also purchase the entire set for just about $60.

Go Science ReviewFor Volume 4 (Motion, Friction, Electricity, Light), Jude and Damien were passive observers. We added this DVD to the rotation of things to watch on the way to the hospital.  This mostly kept their attention on the rides.  Jude just finished a unit on Light Energy, so this was probably his favorite sections from this DVD, because it was familiar.

Go Science ReviewWe placed a lot more "Science Class" emphasis on Volume 1 (Sound, Gravity, Space) because Jude has been concurrently studying Sound Energy.  Being a boisterous second grader with three notches on his volume control (loud, louder, and deafening), the Sound sections were his favorite.  I liked that there were a variety of experiments to observe (like using sound waves to shatter a glass) and some that we even attempted, like making a whistle out of two soda cans.

What makes this program really unique is how Mr. Roy correlates science with God's creation.  Mr. Roy states at the end of each episode, "When we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator, God."   I really, really like this part.  As Catholics, we believe that God created the universe out of nothing, but do not follow a strict literal interpretation of the Creation story in Genesis.  The Catholic church allows for the evolutionary process to scientifically exist while still seeing God's hand and design in everything; science may be able to explain logically how something happened, but none of it would have happened but for the will and design of God. Through the experiments in the videos, we see specifically how God has designed the universe, and how through these we learn not just about science but God's plan for us.  For example, in the above experiment, Mr. Roy points out that while there are lots of sounds, some aren't so pleasant -- they can be loud and screechy.  God hears all of the sounds our voices make, even the screechy ones, but is most pleased with the sound of voices in prayer.  I really appreciate how the viewers are not made to feel they must choose between God and science, but are shown how intimately intertwined they are.

We thoroughly enjoyed these videos, and will be adding the others to our collection.  I think they're a great introduction to laboratory science for younger students, and a way for bigger kids to see experiments in action (Luke often sat in with us because some of the experiments were great to watch but were impractical or unsafe for us to re-create at home.)  I liked how they showed God's hand in all things without becoming preachy.  These DVDs are on their way to becoming a big part of our homeschool science curriculum.

For reviews of other volumes of Go Science, click the banner below.
Click to read Crew Reviews

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