The one word that can make me instantly groan. In fact, I struggle with science so much, I give a workshop at conventions called Science for Moms Who Don't Like Science. Truth.
And if you've been here awhile, you know I've written about other science curricula we use and like, but I'm pretty quiet about jr. high and high school science because, well, I don't like it. I hired a tutor this year. Not kidding.
When the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew posted an opportunity to review a video-based, labs-included science site called Supercharged Science, I decided I'd give it a chance here. My current 8th grader likes science and I knew she'd have a lot of fun with it. Weird girl!
Before I tell you more about the Supercharged Science e-science program, you need to know that this is a site with many facets and LOTS of information. I'm going to try and be as thorough in my review as possible, but I'm telling you, there is a TON of stuff here.
First of all, you can start right here and take a tour of all the site has to offer. For us, a tour in pre-high school science was what we needed, and I allowed Abby to choose which lessons she wanted to do. The lessons are provided in "study units" by topic, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Good if you are a lover of unit studies and totally comfortable with the fact that you'll eventually cover everything you need to; bad if unit studies make you nervous because you are afraid that there will be gaps in your child's learning.
Guess what? There will be gaps.
But really, if that's difficult for you (it is many times for uptight me), then you might not be comfortable with the Supercharged Science units approach.
When you first sign up for Supercharged Science, you get access to units 1 through 7, then each month you'll get 2 more units until you have access to all of them. In this way, choosing the units doesn't seem so intimidating. The first units we had access to were:
- Energy I
- Energy II
Supercharged Science does cover K-12th grade Physical Science, Chemistry, Life Science, and Biology. But for now, I'll give you a little tour of the most recent unit Abby did:
Now, you as the teacher can print out the pdf guides and also the quizzes. By having the lesson plans yourself, you have full control over what is being covered and how you're going to use it. For Abby, the best thing to do was to watch the video, do the experiment, and then keep a notebook on my desktop (she was using my laptop to do her lessons).
The pdf documents contain an overview of the material, give you an idea of the lesson's objectives, and include vocabulary words. They also include a materials list, organized by materials. There are noted specialty items with links to websites where you can purchase them. Score! Most, however, are simple household ingredients, although we did have to buy some chalk and washing soda (I have an aversion to chalk and chalkboards, and washing soda?)
There are also lessons to read to the child, or in our case, for the child to read. Experiments are there, too, and questions that can also be used to test a child's knowledge or for the child to answer themselves. These are what Abby wrote in her notebook.
But the real strength of Supercharged Science is its founder. Aurora Lipper is a former NASA scientist and mechanical engineer with a passion for teaching kids science. It shows all over the site, too. She is enthusiastic, magnetic, and she knows how to communicate to kids. And then there's this:
Every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific (4pm Eastern), Aurora will be on the phone answering any questions you have about any part of this program. These Q&A calls are for folks on any level of the e-Science program, whether at the beginning or with the more advanced stuff. We stay on the phone as long as there are questions to answer.
I find that astounding proof that Aurora is an educator who is doing what she's doing because she cares about her students and not just about making a buck with her site. The site's content (over 900 videos!) is fantastic, the lessons are excellent, and the cost is not prohibitive, particularly if your student wants to do them every day!
Wondering about Supercharged Science's take on creation or evolution? From the site:
Note: We focus on how to build the robot, take data and measurements, work a microscope, launch the rocket, why a laser works…basically sticking to the physics of what’s going on and how to build the projects. The e-Science program does not cover creation nor evolution so all families may participate.)
Supercharged Science also meets the National Standards for Science. It costs $37 per month for grades K-8, and you can get Your FREE Homeschool Science Guide With Over 30 Fun Activities!
E-Science supports the following operating systems with the latest available versions of the indicated browsers: Windows Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10Mozilla Firefox 10.0 or higher, Macintosh OS X Safari 3.0, 4.0, 5.0Google Chrome OS Google Chrome
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