Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review: Supercharged Science

Supercharged Science is my latest review for The Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I was given an e-science subscription to review.  This program is the brainchild of Aurora and Al Lipper.  About 10 years ago, they decided to try and make science fun for kids to learn and easy for parents to teach.  The result is e-science.  Did I mention that Aurora is a Real Life Rocket Scientist who has worked for NASA and has a graduate degree in mechanical engineering?  She's now a stay at home mom of 4, and she obviously loves science.

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E-science is a hands on, K-12 science program that covers life science, physical science, chemistry, and biology.  It's very easy for parents, because Aurora teaches most of the content in online videos, and the lessons are self-guided, so the parent doesn't have to be very involved.  There are downloadable lesson plans for each unit and downloadable readings for each lessons  There are many experiments for each lesson (many have a video component) along with a materials list so you can plan ahead, and each lesson ends with exercises/questions to see how much your child has learned from the lesson.  You can access a free sample of the program here.

There are currently 19 Study Units, with more coming soon.  The way the program works, when you sign up  (at $37/month for K-8 or $57/month for K-12), you receive access to the first seven units:
  • Mechanics
  • Motion
  • Matter
  • Energy 1
  • Energy 2
  • Sound
  • Astrophysics 
You'll also gain access to some extras like "The Scientific Method". Every month after, you receive access to 2 additional units in order.  However, if there is a unit that you're dying to do (like Chemistry, Thermodynamics, or Magnetism), you can email them directly and they will unlock it for you.  If you are already working on another science program, there are conversion charts available to help you line up many popular programs with e-science.

We love Supercharged Science.  We started with the Life Science unit.  The first thing I did was print off the lesson plans and checked the materials list for the unit.  We watched the introductory video and we watched the video on how to create a Scientific Journal.  From there, we were prepared to jump into the content.  We read the provided readings on the topics, watched any videos on the topics, and then worked our way through experiments.

I appreciated the fact I could use this program with all five of the boys (ages 7-13).  Experiments ranged from easily understood by my younger sons (classifying things as living or non-living) to more involved (finding out if a person's thumb or wrist size affected who would win thumb wars).  I was thrilled that my boys were encouraged to keep track of their experiments in a Scientific Journal.  I know we've often "done science", but haven't taken the time to record what we've done or the outcome.

Most of all I loved the fact my boys kept asking to do e-science. It's easy to use, thorough, and engaging.  I think Aurora and Al Lipper achieved their goal of making science fun for kids and easy for parents, and I look forward to continuing to work through e-science.

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For more reviews of Supercharged Science, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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