Monday, April 15

Supercharged Science Review

We're a geeky family, with an inherent love for math and science. The kids are full of questions and we love finding the answers together. We especially love doing experiments so we can see WHY the answers work. Supercharged Science gave us a great opportunity to learn science in a unique way. This is Online E-Science Curriculum combines quality videos, experiments, and text for a fascinating science education for all ages.

Aurora Lipper created Supercharged Science after teaching students at Cal Poly State University and seeing the lack of enthusiasm her students brought with them to college. She spent years investigating how students learned before entering college and developing an exciting, hands-on approach to helping students truly learn science. The welcome letter I received from Aurora Lipper sums up her method very well:

"My kind of science starts with building something first to make it exciting, and to get kids invested in the process. Once they think it's cool, then we do the academic stuff – usually, THEY can't wait to learn it because they want to make their experiment or project work better."

Supercharged Science is a complete science program that covers every topic remotely related to science and can be used like a regular lesson plan, beginning with Lesson 1 and progressing through subsequent lessons. It can also be used as a virtual science library, choosing lessons that spark students' interest and flying with it. There is so much to choose from, it can almost be overwhelming. But Aurora walks you through everything step by step.

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I am very impressed with Aurora's ability to present such complex information in such an understandable way. Easy experiments flow right along with her explanations. Reading about her experience in scientific fields makes it even more impressive that she is able to convey things at a student-level. She was a rocket scientist! And though they are approachable for all ages, each lesson can be studied at each student's challenge level. For instance, when studying motion, there is a simple experiment using 2 cans of soup to illustrate the concept of inertia. High school students are ready to move beyond recognizing the concept and are taught how to mathematically calculate the inertia of both cans of soup.

We are nearly finished with our regular science programs this year, so we have opted to just hop around Supercharged Science topics for fun, supplementing the lessons we were already doing. We found a very handy feature that matches Supercharged Science lessons with corresponding lessons in just about any science program available. There is a conversion chart showing 23 popular science curricula and corresponding Supercharged Science lessons, but if you would like to use something not listed, you can request it as well. Supercharged Science is a complete science curriculum in itself, so honestly, pairing it with another program is overkill. Next year, we will use it as a stand-alone curriculum for my high school student's Physics class.

I volunteered to use the program with my high school students, but my younger daughters sat right in the middle of the lessons and they have loved it, too. We scrolled through available topics and found experiments and questions that sounded interesting. For instance, we cooked Ivory soap in a microwave to better understand how a microwave oven works. My boys said they had always wondered and now they know! We learned about light as we built a solar oven. They even built a hovercraft in a lesson about friction.  Nearly all of the experiments use household items, or items that can be purchased inexpensively. We also took advantage of an online seminar, which was fun. I intended this program to be supplemental, but we're hooked now!

Our soap experiment, before and after. 
To use as a full curriculum, you can choose the subject you want to study and then work through the lessons step-by-step. There is a PDF lesson plan ebook for each Unit. These are approximately 30 pages long and include an overview of the lesson, vocabulary terms, experiment shopping lists, questions, and answers. Students begin by reading text about the topic they are studying. This text is informative and interesting, with an option to download a high school level textbook excerpt so that your student can study it at an even deeper level. The available reading is very involved, and averages 25-50 pages per lesson. Each lesson also includes around 5-10 experiments and exercises. These can be used to beautifully illustrate the principles being taught or as teasers to introduce topics and spark interest. Honestly, even if you ONLY did the experiments and ignored all of the reading portions, your students would still learn SO MUCH, it's incredible!
Our hovercraft! And it really worked!
A feature that I really appreciate is a "comment" section with each lesson and experiment. Families can ask questions as they go and Aurora is very good about answering these questions. She really has a passion for inspiring a love of science in families.

This is going to sound a little stalker-ish, but I love Aurora's voice. I am very picky about voices when we do anything video-based. Aurora's voice is fabulous. I could sit and listen to her read the phone book. And I'm pretty sure she'd find a way to make it interesting, too.
The boys, building their solar oven.
Aurora has generously offered to give my readers a chance to try out some activities to see if they are a good fit for your kids. Check out Science Activity Video Series for free! Once hooked, you can subscribe to Supercharged Science for $37/month for the K-8 levels and $57/month for high school levels. While this is more than we have ever paid for a curriculum before, it is very comparable to other online science classes we have considered. I'm a penny-pincher and I don't say this very often, but it's worth the money. Be sure to check out the free access option. You'll be impressed!

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1 comment:

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

What a fun way to learn science facts that kiddos will remember!!! It almost sounds like one of those too good to be true things!

You rock!!!

Have a greatly blessed day sweetie :o)

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