Review of Supercharged Science, An Online, Hands-On Approach to Science Learning
Science has been one of the curricula areas that I have struggled most with for Charles. Reading a lengthy textbook just isn't his thing, and we've really gone round and round trying to find a homeschool science curriculum that worked for him. I was excited to be able to review Supercharged Science. We received a six month subscription to the e-Science Learning Program.
Supercharged Science had first come on to my radar a couple of years ago when I saw the opportunity to sign up for a free activity series- which you can sign up for here! I signed up and was flooded with emails about Supercharged Science. Unfortunately, I let that turn me off, and I didn't pursue it any further. After that initial contact I heard so many very good things about the program that I was intrigued again. So I was very excited to have the opportunity to review it with the Review Crew.
I signed up for the freebie again when I went on to the website to look around, and again I was swamped with emails. But I did learn that that is an easy problem to solve- either by unsubscribing or by sending the emails to a specific group which some email systems allow. And there are some good things in the emails if you take the time to read through.
When I first opened up my access to the e-Science Learning Program I was very impressed by all that was there. There was a great Getting Started page to help me find my way around without getting too overwhelmed. There are science lessons divided by topic or by grade. There is a great section about keeping a science journal because many of the lessons have something for students to record. And there are plenty of places to ask questions for any experiment.
Supercharged Science has experiments for all grade levels K-12. I wanted to use it primarily for Charles since we had been having so much difficulty finding a science that worked. He is an 8th grader and had been using Apologia for science. When I read through the Getting Started guide, I realized that there were conversion charts that help you link the lessons/experiments of Supercharged Science with well-known science curricula. And there was a guide for how to coordinate the experiments with the Apologia Exploring Creation With Physical Science- which is what we had been using with Charles. So that's where I jumped in with him. I chose some lessons that went along with Apologia material we had already covered.
Using the conversion chart, I chose lessons by topic. Charles worked primarily in Unit 3 (Matter), Unit 6 (Sound), and Unit 10 (Electricity) during the review period. I think there are many ways that you could plan your lessons. The Getting Started page has some ideas. But here's what I did.
I looked at the whole unit and the supplies needed page for the unit. Some units needed quite a few supplies. Each unit has some reading with it. Charles's kindle was messed up for a while, so I ended up printing the reading for each unit for him. His kindle is fixed now, so I will be sending the reading to his kindle. (It's a PDF document.) I tried just letting him know the assignments day by day. But that didn't work out very well. So I sat down and wrote out assignments covering these units that I knew matched the Apologia science. Then I printed out all the reading for a unit at a time. And I printed out any worksheets that went with the lesson. (Not all lessons have worksheets.) Now I send him a week at a time worth of lessons. He usually does science four days a week.
Charles watches the lesson himself and then does the experiment with not much guidance from me. The videos are very good about presenting the information and guiding in how to conduct the experiment. I've made sure that we have supplies on hand- when I checked the supplies at the beginning of the unit. And he gathers them, completes the experiment, and fills out the worksheet if there is one. Some of the videos are long and others are short. There are some days when he is finished with science quickly. But, on average, he spends 30-40 minutes a day.
In each unit there is a review section. It is called "Exercises." There are several questions that discuss information from the reading and the video lessons and there is an answer key. I've been using these as a quiz/test grade.
So, here's our verdict:
This hands on science is much better than a textbook for Charles. He enjoys the lessons and the experiment. I think that with all the tools that there are- the videos, the text, the quizzes- there is certainly enough depth here to make this a complete curriculum. I wouldn't use it for Kathryne's complete curriculum as a high school student. The grade levels only go up to 8th. After that there is a category for advanced topics but not a whole grade level.
Although the amount of content seems overwhelming at first, there are many tools to help you use it effectively. Besides the Getting Started page, there is a User's Guide available to help you make the most of everything available.
Product: e-Science Learning Program
Equipment/Materials Needed: Computer with an internet connection good enough for streaming video; printer for worksheets and possibly reading material; materials for each lesson (specified on the main unit page)
Grade Levels- K-12
Price: K-12 Level Plan is $57 per month (There is also a K-8 Level Plan for $37 per month)
For my readers: Access to a $1 trial of the program and the free sample experiments.
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You can click below to read what other Crew members thought about Supercharged Science.