Monday, April 15, 2013

Supercharged Science (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

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 photo escience-full-600px_zps738b5d59.jpgSupercharged Science is a program that we were happy to review.  From first glance, it seemed like it would fit Matthew almost perfectly.  Their e-Science program is all about experiments.  Yes, there is plenty of theory to study, but the heart of the program is "lab" work.  Matthew loves science experiments.  He did this as a supplement to his usual school day.  Supercharged Science gave Crew members access to the entire program, so we were able to correspond the units to what he was already studying, so he could dig deeper into his current curriculum.  His favorite sections were Matter (Unit 3), Chemistry (Unit 8) and Genetics (Unit 16).  I liked how the program allowed us to involve multiple ages.  In the end, it was not just Matthew who liked the program.  One of the experiments for Matter involved squishing and weighing bread -- Jude was excited to be allowed to poke at his food!  In Unit 8, we actually made bread too, studying how yeast grows.  Science = arts and crafts!  Happy Jude!  I liked how the labs mainly used things already in your kitchen, or easily found a a local megamart - very little fancy equipment, and lots of places to make science part of the "real world" and not just "another boring subject to study."

Even just as a "supplement," using the program was really helpful to learning.  Matthew had an assigned project on Gregor Medel and his genetic theories.  He was able to take what he learned and create an "original" explanation of them.  After spending a week in school focusing on pea plants and flowers, he especially loved the "Mend-aliens" that Supercharged Science used in their explanation of how genes are passed on.  It made things "click" that all genetics hews to the same principles.

example of Mendel's theory on genetics 

The creators of this program are genuinely excited about science, and it shows throughout the site.  The Best Way to Learn Science portion of their website says:
We recommend teaching science from the inside-out, meaning that you start with an experiment or two that really hooks your kids . . . the kind that makes them (and you) say: "Wow!" or "Cool!"
We definitely said, "Wow!" and "Cool!" with this program!  Every year, Matthew's school participates in a local college-sponsored science fair.  This year's Fair occurred mid-way through the review period, so his project was already well underway.   However, he's already reading through both the section on Science Fairs and other study units and considering what he's going to do next spring.  He can't make up his mind - which is a great thing, because while he loved the past two Fairs' experiments, he was struggling for something "different," and I really think he's going to find something unique that suits his interests. 

e-Science is organized into 20 different teaching units, plus additional sections that focus on the scientific method, science fair ideas, etc.  Online access to all of the materials for Kindergarten through 8th graders is $37 per month; there is also a K-12 option that costs $57 per month. Upon signing up for the program, access is given to the first seven units plus the extra sections. Each additional month that the subscription is renewed, access is given to the next two teaching units.  (If there is a later unit or two that the member would like to access early,  immediate access is available upon request.)

Supercharged Science is giving away a complete mini-program as a sample to review readers.  Click on this Science Activity and Video offer link set up especially for Schoolhouse Review Crew readers and enter your e-mail address.

Lots of families were checking out Supercharged Science's program.  Find out what they found that made them say "Wow!" and "Cool!" by clicking on the banner below!


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