TOS Review: Supercharged Science

Supercharged Science is a company started by Aurora Lipper, a former engineering instructor. Her love of, and passion for, science led her to create a program designed to get kids excited about science. Her e-science program is a complete online science program for grades K-8.

When you sign up for the e-Science program, you get access to the study units. These units include lesson plans, videos, reading materials, questions , and experiments. The units are on a wide variety of topics, from chemistry, to magnetism, to electricity and electronics. There are 19 units in all, and you will get gradual access to the units with each month of your membership. There are currently about 19 units total. Some of the units take longer than others, and you are free to set your own schedule for each unit.

So, how did this work at our house? Well, we actually began with an extra project they had on the website, building a simple hovercraft. My 6th grade son has wanted to build a hovercraft ever since he found Jimmy Neutron on Netflix, so he was very excited to do this! The project was explained in detail, with an easy to follow video of how it worked. Building the hovercraft only took a few minutes, but it was fun, and my son was really excited. There are also directions for building an advanced hovercraft which he is currently working on with his dad. Here is the video of our simple hovercraft:

http://s1134.photobucket.com/user/bbrockhausen/media/review%20pics/VID_20130314_112723_zps3b619ecc.mp4.html

There are additional projects you can make for fun, like a robotic arm that looks really cool! Those projects do a really good job of getting your kids excited about science! Since we were doing a review, we were given access to all of the units in the e-Science program so we could check them out. After talking to my son, we decided to work on the unit for sound , because that is what he wanted to study. I began with reading the lesson plan, which gave me information about the goals and objectives of the unit. The lesson plans also included a list of materials for the experiments for the unit, as well as the key vocabulary, additional reading, exercises and answer key.

We began by watching the video about sound waves. I really like Aurora’s delivery style in the videos. It really feels like she is right there just talking to you and your child. My son was interested in what she had to say, and I didn’t have any problem getting him to watch the whole video. From there, my son wanted to skip to some of the experiments, so we did.

We played “telephone”:

And we made sound using bottles with different levels of water in them:

And we played this really neat game where you put a blindfold on and tried to determine which area of the room the sound was coming from. This one was interesting, because it wasn’t as easy to pick out the sound as you thought it would be!

My older son wanted to take part in some of the experiments, and his favorite was the one we did using the speaker in his car. This experiment allowed us to “see” the sound vibrations as they moved through the water in the bowl:

Once we had done some of the experiments, we went ahead and did the reading for this unit. It wasn’t difficult, about seven pages, and we broke it into sections. Finally, we did the exercises. These were simply questions about the topics we had studied. You can either answer these orally, or in writing if you are keeping a science notebook.

Currently we are working on the unit on light, and we are enjoying that as well. I will say that my oldest son makes sure he is around for almost all of the experiments that we do for Supercharged Science, and I know that they do have high school material, so, judging by his interest in what we are doing, I think that program would be worth looking at too.

At our house, we do science three days a week, for about an hour each day. Depending on which unit you choose, and how many experiments you decide to do, it could take you two-three weeks to finish a unit. If you are working with younger kids, or you want to go more in depth with the topic, you could easily stretch the units for a month. There are detailed directions for use of the program, including how to use it alongside another science program, on the website. There are also very easy directions for how to set up a scientific journal to keep track of your experiments. I will admit, this is something I usually skip, because I find it intimidating, but after watching the video with my son, we grabbed a notebook, followed the directions and got started!!

An additional benefit of e-Science is that you have access to Aurora directly, to ask her questions about what you are doing. If something didn’t work, or you are confused, or your child has asked a question you don’t have an answer to, you can simply ask! This is great for a non-science minded mom like me!! The website also has a shopping list set up for each unit, so you can look ahead and decide what materials you need (I had most of the materials for our experiments in our cabinet, and what I did not, I bought at the dollar store. The exception is some of the more technical stuff we needed for the advanced hovercraft). We are having a lot of fun with the e-Science program, and my son is already thinking about what unit he wants to do next!

A subscription to e-Science for grades K-8 is $37.00 per month. When you think about the fact that you are getting a complete science program for that lesson, it doesn’t seem like too much of an expense. If you are a person who loves science and has no problem coming up with awesome experiments and lessons on your own, than you might not be interested in this. But, if you’re a mom like me, who struggles with even the idea of science, let alone making it interesting and doing experiments, this is well worth a look! You can find out more about e-Science and view some videos that will tell you more about the program, by visiting the website here:

http://www.sciencelearningspace.com/getting-started/

To see what other members of the Crew had to say about this program, and the high school program that some Crew members got to check out click here:
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One thought on “TOS Review: Supercharged Science

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Posts of 2013 | kingdomacademyhomeschool

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