Thursday, April 10, 2014

A TOS Review: Supercharged Science 2014

Josiah and I were given the opportunity to review the fantastic e-Science Program from Supercharged Science last year. It was really a great experience. I was excited to see my name on the list again for the Supercharged Science review again this year.

What I Received

I received a 6 month premium membership to the e-Science Learning Program from Supercharged Science. It is a monthly subscription service that gives the user accesses to a plethora of Science Units, which include lessons, videos, experiments and other valuable helps. Aurora Lipper is the genius behind the program. She is a former NASA Scientist whose contagious enthusiasm for all things “science” help make this program top-notch. 

Her engaging teaching-style along with fascinating content make the video lessons and experiments a highlight of the program. Supercharged is appropriate for K-12.

Here are the units available with the e-Science Program. 

Unit 1: Mechanics
Unit 2: Motion
Unit 3: Matter
Unit 4: Energy 1
Unit 5: Energy 2
Unit 6: Sound
Unit 7: Astrophysics
Unit 8: Chemistry 1
Unit 9: Light
Unit 10: Electricty
Unit 11: Magnetism
Unit 12: Alternative Energy
Unit 13: Thermodynamics
Unit 14: Electronics
Unit 15″ Chemistry
Unit 16: Life Science 1
Unit 17: Life Science 2
Unit 18: Biology 1
Unit 19: Biology 2
Unit 20: Earth Science

A couple of other units dealing with the study of science itself, science projects and math are also available.
The user will get access to 2 units per month, but we are guaranteed that we only need ask if we want access to a particular unit we haven’t yet accessed. I got access to all the content and Units on the site for the purposes of this review. 

Something new to the e-Science Program is that you can now see topics based on grade level. I actually really liked this. There are sooo many choices that last year I had trouble deciding what to tackle first. Though most would undoubtedly choose Unit 1 (duh), I really wandered all over the place. It’s a habit. 
I want to share some our Supercharged Science adventures this time around. 
I first went on the site and wandered (again). Then I asked Josiah to browse around and see what he thought he would like to study. He chose Earth Science and Meteorology. I should have known. He has plans to be a Meteorologist when he’s grown (or a Superhero). It also worked out that we started a weather unit in our little Co-op. Woo Hoo! 

Earth Science just happens to be Unit 20.  On the left of the main page for Earth Science are all sorts of options. It allows me to look at the shopping list of materials needed for the experiments, download the unit itself or just go to the reading, experiments and exercises as I need them. 

We chose to first start with the Lesson on Atmosphere. Of course! Here is a portion of the reading for the lesson.

Even the reading had a hands-on activity to try. One of the things I love about this program is that the experiments can be as simple or as advance as you need them to be.

It wasn't that hard to come up with a piece of paper for this activity. It was simple, yet made its point. 

One of the big pluses of  Supercharged Science are the quality videos that are provided. 

On this day we are attempting the impossible. Could this balloon fit into this mason jar? 

A little heat was applied to the situation. Any day Josiah can mess around with matches without dire consequences is a good day for him. 

We watched as the bottom of the balloon slowly sagged into the jar. 

Aurora has a terrific section on how to create a Scientific Journal. Courtney here is only in Kindergarten. We don't expect her to jot down astute observations.  She simply drew pictures of the experiment.

The girl has a future in illustrating scientific publications. I can feel it. 

Now, I expected a bit more from Josiah because he is 12. However, he is also dyslexic. I love that Supercharged Science emphasis the hands-on approach to Science. Josiah's Scientific Journal wasn't complicated, but he enjoyed the processes of keeping one because he could make it his own.

Here is one of the experiments we did at home. We also made a rain gauge on this day. Part of being a meteorologist is knowing the instruments.

We are a bit behind in our rainfall for the year, but Aurora even has a solution for measuring rain without rainfall. 

For this experiment, Josiah was testing to see if air really took up space!

 This was a fun one he completed all by himself. He found the materials and made it happen.

 For this experiment, we had help with our Co-op friends. 

We wanted to see if we could make it rain inside the jar. By the Way, this picture was taken weeks and weeks before the previous picture of Josiah in this shirt. You can tell because his hair is shorter in the first pictures (when he is wearing the shirt). He does have more clothing (I promise)...I think he just reaches for the closest thing...which is usually in his laundry basket. Back to the topic at hand!

And would you rained! Coolest thing ever...

The next lesson in the Earth Science unit is on Geology. But because we are going to be studying pond life for a time we might move over to Biology 1.  He's been looking at the videos and is really excited.  The first section is on Invertebrates. Good Stuff.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the additional material that I found to be so helpful on the Supercharged Science site. The Resources section has tremendous helps on actually teaching science. I mentioned this in my last review. This was so beneficial to me...primarily because learning Science in my own early school days wasn't actually a positive experience. I found it dull, dry and excruciatingly boring. I realized later that it wasn't that Science itself was was the way in which it had been taught.

Supercharged Science steers away from the lifeless and dull.

Just a few additional thoughts...

There is really a lot of material on this site. 100's and 100's of experiments and resources are available. If you are like me and get lost in the details I would recommend starting with the free Science Lessons available. It will get your feet wet. 

Right now Supercharged Science is offering full access to the e-Science Learning Program for $1. (for the next 30 days)

Pricing for the K-12 Plan (which is what I reviewed) is $57 a month. The K-8 option is available for $37.

All you need to utilize the program (other than the subscription) is a computer and a reliable internet connection. I didn't have to purchase any special equipment (though I have my eye on a microscope for the next Unit) and many of the experiments Josiah was able to complete on his own.

This program can be used as a supplement or as a stand alone science curriculum. There are even helps available to help you incorporate Supercharged Science into your box curriculum. 

Again...we had a great experience with Supercharged Science.

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