Friday, June 27, 2014

Science Experiments for Kids with Go Science {A TOS Review}

Go Science Review
I think I would be safe in saying that children are naturally curious and love finding out how things work, making them mini scientists. Well, my children are anyhow, what about yours?  We love science and exploring in this house, and I love finding new resources to expand their knowledge. Of course, I was thrilled when we were chosen to review a couple of Go Science DVDs from Library and Eductional Services. And as icing on the cake, these DVDs have a Biblical worldview.
Go Science Review
As you can see, there is quite the collection of Go Science DVDs, featuring Ben Roy, teacher of science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and former director or News Channel 9 Science Theatre. When looking into which DVDs I would like to review, I asked the children what they would be interested in. As they are getting older, I figured they should start having more of a choice in what we ask to review. Between us, we decided we wanted to watch Volume 1 (which focuses on Sound, Gravity, and Space) and Volume 2 (which focuses on Life Science and Weather).  This worked out nicely as we have been focusing on weather with a couple of our other curriculum as well.
Both DVDs are a little over an hour long and contain quite a few Go Science Learning Time segments. Each episode is between 3 to 6 1/2 minutes long, with the average being about 5 minutes long. Just the right amount of time to hold the attention of the younger children in the age range, while including fun facts and interaction for the older children. These DVDs are recommended for ages 4-12.
In each episode Ben Roy and an audience of children of various ages  in the recommended range explore one science experiment.  In most episodes, they are all gathered on a set comprised of the front of a house and the yard where they are sitting on the porch, excited to see the new demonstration. Occasionally, they can be found at another location, either in a gym or outside for VBS.  Usually 3 children, sometimes 1 or 2 more, are chosen to be helpers. He asks each a random question to get to know them better and then invites them up to help him. He introduces what they are going to be exploring and will ask questions of the helpers and the child audience at the beginning and at other times during the show. There are times the helpers will help with the experiment, other times they are handing things out to the audience or just holding things for Mr. Roy. Occasionally the audience group will get to participate in the experiment as well, though usually they are just observers.  
As they do the experiment, Mr. Roy will explain what is happening, using appropriate scientific terms along with the definitions at times. Sometimes a portion of the experiment has already been completed so he will be able to show the children what the result will be if it takes more than the few minutes.  After the experiment, he will then turn the conversation toward God, sometimes using a Bible verse, other times how the specific experiment points out some characteristic or work of God. He then ends every segment with the following line, "Every time we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator, God!"
Please, be aware, you're not going to be getting a hugely, in -depth scientific explanation. I think of these more like small scientific object lessons that capture the children's attention and show that God can be seen in everything we do and see, as he is the creator of this world.
What episodes will you find on these DVDs? Here, let me show you:
Go Science Review
Volume 1: Sound, Gravity, Space
  • Piano
  • Screaming Pop Can
  • Simple Telephone
  • Reuben's Tube
  • Breaking Glass
  • Organ Pipes
  • Stick with String
  • Water Whistle
  • Candle See-saw
  • Drop Book with Paper
  • Sun-Golf Balls
  • Solar Bag
  • UV Beads
  • Bang Barell

Go Science Review
Volume 2: Life Science, Weather
Life Science:
  • Flashlight Animal Eyes
  • Animal Skulls
  • Bobby Pins 
  • What Are You Looking At?
  • How Much Do Your Lungs Hold?
  • Eating Nails for Breakfast
  • Naked Eggs
  • Fire Tornado
  • Ping Pong Cannon
  • Liquid Nitrogen Cloud
  • Cloud in a Bottle
  • Garbage Can Vortex
We mainly used these DVDs as an educational show for them to watch when they wanted some television time. Surprisingly, they wanted to watch the entire hour all in one sitting, though the younger children wandered, which is not surprising. There is a downside to watching these back to back. As I mentioned, at the end of each segment Mr. Roy states the catch phrase, "Every time we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator, God!" Now, this is a wonderful thing to remind the children of; however, it does tend to get a little old hearing it every 5 minutes or so. I just remind myself that these segments are meant to stand alone and were compliled into a DVD.

I can definitely see pulling these out to watch if we are learning about a subject that can be found in one or more of the episodes. For example, are you going to be learning about the sense of touch, then the episode on Life Science called "Bobbby Pins" will teach your child a little bit about touch receptors and how you can feel pressure more on your hand than going up your arm. This is one of those experiments that can be done at home, by the way.  If you were learning about predators and prey, you could pull out the "Animal Skulls" episode. And if you are learning about cloud formation you could watch "Liquid Nitrogen Cloud" or "Cloud in a Bottle."

As I mentioned, some of these experiments can be done at home; however, one of the reasons I enjoyed this DVD is that the children can watch experiments that we would have no way of replicating here at home, for either safety or lack-of-materials reasons. I mean, could you imagine blasting a barrel off like a rocket in your backyard (wait, don't give my husband any ideas), or watching flames through small holes of a muffler pipe rise and fall with the sound waves of music?

We were able to try out one fun experiment. I just happened to find a nut in the kitchen and we just happened to have balloons in the house for another project, so I surprised the children by sneaking into the living room, waving the blown-up balloon with the nut inside it. I have to say, it really does sound like a swarm of bees. Of course, the children wanted a turn.

I can't wait to try using different objects to see how the sound changes. I probably would have already tried, but the balloon ended up popping and I need the other ones.

Another use for these DVDs would be for group gatherings, such as VBS, a children's church group such as our Venture Club or a homeschool co-op. You could choose which Biblical concept or science lesson you would like to focus on and watch or replicate the experiment (if possible) and perhaps find a related Bible verse. For example, you could focus on simple concepts such as, God has given us all we need to survive in his creation (with "Eating Nails for Breakfast) or God designed animals or humans just the way they need to be able to survive (with "Animal Skulls" or "Naked Egg"). You can get a little deeper and learn that James teaches that words, like fire, can get out of control and destroy (as disussed in Fire Tornado), or focus on the fact that there are frequencies all around, but Jesus wants us to be in tune with him which will give us energy and power (which can be found in "Breaking Glass").

Are these great videos? Yes, most definitely. I do however have a few concerns. There are times that Mr. Roy can be a bit cheesy for an adult. I do wonder if some children on the older end of the age range could also find him so. He interacts wonderfully with the children, but there are just some things he says that I could see an older child getting irritated at and rolling their eyes. For instance, "That is interesting!" and "Isn't that cool?"  There are also a couple of times I have watched and, as a mother, gotten a bit nervous about the thought of having my children in the audience, that close to liquid nitrogen or with only hands to cover their ears against loud sounds while Mr. Roy and the 3 helpers wear ear protectors. I know, I tend to be on the overprotective side.

The children and I have enjoyed watching these videos, and I would love to purchase more in the future.

Here are the other available titles:

Volume 3: Air 1, Air 2
Volume 4: Motion, Friction, Electricity, Light
Volume 5: States of Matter, Water
Volume 6: Chemistry 1, Chemistry 2
Volume 7: Engineering,, Design, Flight

Here, check out one of the segments from Volume 1: Sound, Gravity, Space.

These could be a great supplement to any science curriculum.

I think these are especially beneficial in this day and age of evolution, where they will say creationists and Christians are ignoring or are flat out againt science. These DVDs show children from a young age that Christians are not ignoring science and that all of His creation points to Him.
You can purchase these Go Science DVDs from Library and Educational Services. The wonderful news? Library and Educational Services sells their products at discounted prices for certain groups, such as churches, libraries and resellers. Homeschoolers are also able to create an account to receive these discounts. The list price for the Go Science DVDs is $14.95, yet as members the price is only $8.97 per DVD.
You can also find Library and Educational Services on Facebook.
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1 comment:

  1. I love this. I am always looking for something fun that is educational for my epileptic 2 year old granddaughter that I keep. Due to her condition her future may be a home schooled child and I love all of your resources!


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