Monday, March 10, 2014

Science Experiments with Amazing Science {A TOS Review} Review
I may have mentioned in the past how much we love hands-on science exploration. This is not limited to just the children and myself. Hubby loves hands-on science experiments as well. Of course, he would rather explore how things go boom (did I mention he is a big Myth Busters fan?), but that isn't something he can do with the children. Last summer the children had "purchased" a Kitchen Science Kit with their earnings from Summer Reading Program at daddy's encouragement. So, I just knew he would love the chance to work on the Amazing Science, Volume 1 DVD from This was one of our latest review items from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Review
Amazing Science Volume 1 is a set of 2 discs of science experiments geared for children in grades 1-3 to watch and preferably try out for themselves with parental supervision. For the most part they use easy-to-find materials that you can find in your own home. Out of the 23 experiments there are about 6 or 7 that used materials we didn't have in our home, such as a neodymium magnet and a copper pipe. While these supplies may not be in your house, they really shouldn't be too hard for most people to find. Unfortunately we live in a really rural area and it is quite the distance to get to a decent store. The good news is, there are enough experiments to do that we didn't feel that we were missing out by not being able to do a handful of them. 
What exactly will you encounter when you watch these DVDs? As I mentioned, there are 23 different experiments and they range from about 4-16 minutes long. Each segment starts out with a materials list, both in list form on the screen and showing the actual materials used. 

The instructor then gives step-by-step instructions on how to complete the experiment. He explains what is happening very clearly, explaining larger vocabulary in words children will understand and sharing the science behind the reactions. As we watch the video we are able to get really good views of what is going on. The instructor is filmed from the front, but also from the side and from overhead, so you can get in close. 

He makes sure to emphasize that care is to be used, reminding the children to use safety goggles and get parental permission/supervision before trying out the experiments for themselves.

After the experiment is concluded he spends more time explaining exactly what happened and asking questions like a good scientist should, which is a wonderful example for the children. 
Some of the different subjects being explored are:
  • Air pressure
  • Chemical reactions/molecular bonding
  • Surface Tension
  • Batteries and Electricity
  • Magnetic Forces
  • States of Matter
  • Heat Conduction and 
  • Light
We have used the DVD in a couple of different ways. While we were working with our other curriculum, studying states of matter, I made a point of making sure we watched the segment called "Lift an ice Cube with a String." Technically, daddy was the one who watched the DVD with the girls and then we worked on the experiment together. 

The majority of the time we just choose an experiment to watch that looks interesting. If we have the materials on hand we head out to the dining room and try it out then and there. As I mentioned, very simple materials are needed for most of the experiments. For example, we needed water, an empty glass, cardboard and a sink for the "Inverted Cup of Water." Instead of our sink we brought a big bowl and towel to the dining table so everyone could gather around to watch.

After we are done, the children will take a sheet of computer paper and draw what they observed. We have been taping their work to our living room wall. After a while I will take the papers done and turn them into a "Science Experiments" book. 

We have even taken experiments a step further. One of the first experiments daddy tried with the girls was the Color Changing Milk. I had asked him to work on their science with them while I was away one day. The children loved watching the reactions of the soap on the milk and food coloring. They were working on their papers when I returned home. (Confessions time: it was daddy's idea to do the "What We Observed" papers.) They enjoyed it so much they jumped at the chance to do it again. This time however, I wanted to try something extra. The instructor had mentioned that it is the bonding with the fat and protein molecules that brings about the reaction. I decided I wanted to find out what sort of difference there would be with using fat free milk as opposed to whole milk. 

They only thing is, we are now confused, because we got the reaction he got with the whole milk, but, we got it with the fat free milk. We might just have to try this out again to see if we get the same results. I don't think it will break the children's hearts to have to do it again. 

The children and I are loving this DVD set. The experiments are fun and even when we can only watch them, we are learning. I do love that so many of the experiments have been doable, because the hands-on aspect is wonderful! 

There are a few things that I wanted to mention that bothered us. We were fortunate to have a link supplied to us through the Crew so we could have a list of the supplies needed. This list was made by someone who had reviewed the DVDs a couple of years ago. I would love to see the DVD's actually come with a supply list, because it is so much easier to be able to gather the materials prior to watching the DVD. 

Additionally, there were times that the children would lose focus and get bored as he went into the details of the scientific explanations. Yes, Hannah and Amelia are below the recommended age, but Tabitha is at the younger end of the range. I tried to get them to listen, but decided as long as they were listening during the experiment they were getting quite a bit of scientific knowledge. The extended explanations did help me to explain what was going on while we worked on the experiments.

Also, while we appreciated that safety is emphasized, it did seem to be taken too far at times. I can understand using safety goggles when using fire or even while doing the lemon battery experiment as their is a nail involved, but to put on safety goggles to lift an ice cube with a string or watch an unlit match zing through the water with the help of soap? That seemed a little too much to us. It seems that it would be better to emphasize the use of goggles when there really was a potential danger involved, instead of with just any experiment. Obviously, this did not take away from our learning or our enjoyment of the experiments. 

I would recommend this DVD set for hands-on learning fun. The age range of 1st-3rd grade seems to be perfect, though I am thinking even older children would enjoy participating. The younger children loved watching the actual experiment and trying it out. Even Harold got involved at times, though we do try to do the experiments while he is sleeping. 

You can purchase Amazing Science Volume 1 through for $17.95 (the list price is $24.95, so that is quite a deal). It is also available as a download for $14.99. You can check out the trailer on the Amazing Science page.

Check out these reviews from my fellow Crew Mates to see what they think of the Amazing Science DVD. Some of the Crew reviewed math DVD's instead, so you can check out the reviews for Mastering 5th Grade Math-Volume 1-Essential of Fractions and Algebra 1: Volume 1.

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1 comment:

  1. Those disks look amazing! My boys are big science fans.


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