Thursday, April 11, 2013

Product Review - Supercharged Science

Teaching science is usually reading a textbook, which very easily, can become boring and lifeless. And that is where Supercharged Science comes to the rescue. And how does it do that? By offering an incredible array of experiments and videos for you and your children.


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What It Is:

Supercharged Science is an online science learning program. The teacher Aurora, who is not only the one who does the experiments but the creator of the program, does a great job of making science meaningful. This curriculum can be used as a self-guided stand alone science program, or it can be used to supplement your current science textbook.

What is covered on the website? Too many things to list. There are 20+ units to choose from; these range from Chemistry, Life Science, Electricity, Sound, and Matter. And the list is continuing to grow; right now there are three units that will be available very soon: Earth Science, Advanced Astronomy, and Science e-Camp.

Each unit starts out with a section that describes the unit, and gives goals and highlights. The focus of the material is on experiments and videos. And this does grab your child's attention...think about it, seeing and doing an experiment whets the appetite and makes it that much easier to teach why something worked a certain way. To round out the experiments there is reading material for each of the units, written in an engaging style that captures the student's attention. And so you know that your child has learned the material, there is also a list of questions to ask your child, with the answers conveniently given at the bottom.

What You Get:

This is a very well rounded science program. You will get access to videos which are of the teacher, Aurora, explaining the concept and experiments in detail. There is text reading to support the unit material and the quiz-type questions to test your child with. The site is in blog format, so underneath each chapter, you can ask questions about the subject or get teaching advice in a comments section. Aurora answers these questions herself and in a timely manner, which can be a big help for us non-science people! And every few weeks, Aurora holds a live science class that you can take online.

To access the units you need to purchase a subscription. There are two different levels of subscription. For $37 a month you will have access to the content that is appropriate for grades K-8th. You also have the choice to buy the premium level for $57 a month; this includes not only the K-8th grade material, but also the advanced units as well.

And to make it not too overwhelming, in the first month you will receive the first seven units, with two units being 'unlocked' each month after that. But if you do see a unit that you want to get to sooner, you can email the company and they will give you access immediately. There is a very helpful Members FAQ that you can check out here.

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How We Used This:

I love learning about science with my kids but the experiments? Not my forte at all. Right now we are going through Apologia's Anatomy and so we took a break from that while we used Supercharged Science. And since we are studying anatomy this year, I chose to do Biology 2, which covers:

  • Skin, Bones and Muscle
  • Digestive System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Respiratory and Excretory Systems
  • Controlling your Body
  • Diseases and Defenses

We would start by going over the reading portion for each section. These took about 20 minutes to read and were a great overview of the topic. The fun part was what came next; the videos and experiments. When you look at this site you think that all the videos will be on experiments, but I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of educational videos to watch that help to teach the topic. Our favorite was in the Digestive System and showed what happened to a bite of pizza, from that first bite to all the way through.

We also enjoyed doing this experiment, which showed how our bodies use oxygen and also explained air pressure.



I chose to have the kids watch the video of the experiment first and then do it themselves.  I was scared the kids would watch it and then not want to do the experiment, once they knew what would happen, but the opposite happened and watching the experiment made them excited to go do it themselves.

We also had fun checking our reflexes and learning about how quick our eye reflex is in this experiment.



Each of them measured how long it took their visual reflexes to respond, then kept track on a log and averaged the amounts.



We also watched videos about the part of the ear, photo-reading, and how we see with our eyes.

Each section has at least 5-10 videos and experiments to do; plenty of fun things to make science come alive. Some of the experiments only need things you might find around the house; other larger experiments need further planning.( Like the hovercraft, rocket car, or robot projects.) To make that part easy, there is a shopping list for each unit so you can see at a glance what materials you might need.

What I Thought:

I really liked this product. First off, I liked the flexibility. You can choose from so many science topics and move around as you see fit. and the flexibility also extend to how you use this...it could either be used as a full science curriculum, or you can supplement your current science program with extra reading, fun videos, and meaningful experiments. I liked how simply Aurora described the experiments. I also appreciated that there was a list of needed supplies I could see before we watched the experiment, so we would know what we were getting in to.

Aurora is very accessible; if you have any questions about the topics, or have teaching inquiries, she is quick to answer and give advice. She also sends encouraging emails to you, with easy experiment ideas and hints. And for the price per month, with access for the entire family, this really is a great science resource for homeschoolers.

Check out what other members if The Crew thought about Supercharged Science by clicking below.


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