Ever want to learn from a rocket scientist? With Supercharged Science, your students will get to do just that! Aurora Lipper is the creator of Supercharged Science and really has an interesting take on what makes science learning interesting and fun. Whether your child is in 4 or 24, there is so much information jamb-packed into this site and program that it is impossible to experience all that is there.
Supercharged Science is an online science curriculum. It can be your foundation for homeschool science or it can be a supplement, depending on the needs of your students and curriculum. Each lesson includes a video explanation and example of the experiment, activity, or project, as well as written information, some of which is included in the video. Many of the lessons also have a printable file with the experiment and questions to be answered. The file also includes the acceptable answers for the questions. There are over 900 science activities, projects, and experiments on www.ScienceLearningSpace.com.
We are using e-Science Premium Membership. This is intended for all grade levels PK through 12. The cost for this membership is $57 per month. If you would prefer to use only K-8th materials, it costs $37 per month. For details or to sign up, please visit their pricing and benefits page.
We mostly used the videos, with me including some of the pertinent written information. We would do the preliminary journal work (title, date, materials). Next, we would watch the video. I had the girls do some of the journal work first because I felt it was helpful to know what materials they would be seeing Aurora work with in the video. After the video, I would add whatever I felt was needed from the written materials and then we would do the physical experiment following the directions in the written part and/or the video. You will need both because sometimes the video did not have complete instructions or skipped a bit for time’s sake. The girls finished up each activity by completing their journal work.
With so much on the site, it is hard to know where to start. So, let’s start at the beginning on this one. Decide what your priorities are and that will help you choose whether to work by topic or by grade level. There is a helpful user’s guide at Supercharged Science that you may want to view. We decided to begin each giggly girl within her grade level and let her choose the topic within that grade level that interested her. The oldest, 4th grade, chose magnetism. The middle, 2nd grade, chose chemistry. The youngest, PK/K, chose physics. We began working through each of those modules. In theory, this was a good plan – put each child at about the age level she should be working on and in a topic of choice. We’ll get energy and enthusiasm and speed along the road to learning.
As is often the case, theory and reality did not align. In reality what we got was a whole slew of unrelated ideas that each of the girls wanted to be a part of. When the 2nd grade giggly girl did her experiment on growing crystals, the other two wanted to do the same. We ended up doing 3 versions of that experiment three different times. It was cool and they all learned a lot but we didn’t experience much variety that week! When the oldest was doing her work with some magnets and cereal, the youngest wanted to be a part of that instead of her own work. This is fine but we doubled up experiments for both of them that day because they both wanted to do both. This was a constant. Not bad – lots of learning went on; just unexpected and we ended up spending a lot more time than was planned. This, in turn, caused some burn-out pretty quickly.
After a bit of this, we decided we would redirect everything and start over again. So, we began working through the topic menu, beginning with Unit Zero: An overview of e-science and the 18 scientific principles. This has been interesting and I think we’ll make more progress this way.
A benefit of working through by unit is that this is really how the site is organized. Or, at least, this is how it appears to be organized to me. I feel that the grade level organization of it is a secondary organization but I can’t find things as easily. For example: when working on magnetism by grade level, I did not see any of the textbook readings that are available or the vocabulary words and definitions. When I went to the unit on magnetism, all of that and more was easily accessible.
Another benefit of working through it by unit is the shopping lists. When working through by grade level, I had to spend quite a bit of time piecing together the materials list for each of the girls. If we work through it by unit, however, there is a complete shopping list already made up. All I had to do was go click on it and print it.
Something that really impressed me with this program is the emphasis that is placed on keeping a scientific journal. It is done simply and explained clearly. The purpose was explained (“great ideas” are worth nothing if you can’t tell others about what you are doing) and the process is quick and easy. Three steps:
- Grab – grab a notebook
- Title – title the page with the name of the lesson or experiment and date it
- Record – describe what you are doing
With this simple explanation, the girls quit balking every time they were asked to get out their science journal and write down procedures and materials. It made sense finally and they saw it as easy to do.
Another area that I was impressed with was the unit dealing with math: Mathemagic. This unit has been a fun supplement to our math instruction with unique activities for applying mathematical principles. The very first time I pulled up the site, the girls really wanted to play Hex, a critical thinking and mathematical game. They played over and over, asking for a blank copy to put in a protective sleeve so we didn’t have to keep printing the game. We have really enjoyed this part of the site.
We will continue to use this program for a while but it will definitely be in a supplemental way. Doing experiments every single day, while it sounds like fun, was in reality quite a burn-out. We will change to doing one or two experiments a week and continuing the science journal. If they girls ask for more, we will do our best to fit in in. Because if they are interested, we want to encourage that interest and desire for learning. After all, that is why they are here. At Home.
If you would like to connect with Supercharged Science through social media, feel free to do so with these links.
This review is part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. There are a total of 100 reviewers who have been using Supercharged Science. Click over to the Review Crew to read the post there about Supercharged Science and then click on the button at the bottom to find the rest of the reviews and get a different perspective on this program.