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Linking learning together creates for long-term memory and stronger understanding. This is the goal of CrossWired Science. The name comes from the way in which they cross-link all of the learning into what they call Global Topics. This brand-new company has a subscription program that gives you access to their entire site. The site is growing and changing with new additions all the time.
At this point, there are two Global Topics up but there are plans for 2 more in the immediate future and multiple others in the more distant future. When the Global Topics are all up, there will be six years of science on the site. The current Global Topics are Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.
What is a Global Topic, you ask? This is a broad science category that has multiple application areas. CrossWired takes a look at as many of those applications as they can for each topic. They do this through targeted videos they have made. They also have a variety of related videos from others (not hot linked on the student pages but copy and paste works simply or you can use a hot link from the teacher’s account), experiments, readings, and drawings. They have cross-wired every related application and use they can think of, it seems. That is where the name comes from – relating everything together and letting the brain wire the knowledge that way. This kind of knowledge transfer is long-lasting and strong.
Our Family’s Use
All three of the giggly girls were using the program. We got access about a month ago and have been using it almost daily during our regular school days. As I mentioned the program is brand-new and so materials are still being added daily to enrich and expand the program. Two of the girls chose to use the Fluid Dynamics topic and one chose the Sound topic.
They log on to their own individual student account. It has marked what they have completed in their topic so they can choose something different. There is not a set schedule, direction, or plan. This is almost a “rabbit trail” curriculum, meaning the student chooses what looks interesting that day and explores it.
- The exploration may be through the core videos, which are targeted videos that explain and demonstrate the topic. Each video has its own page and has a link to a printable worksheet to go along with it. After watching the video, there is a quick quiz to test the student’s knowledge based on the video. Once the test has been completed, it cannot be retaken. Each video page has a link on the right for helpful information and directions for the teacher who is looking for more on how best to use the core videos.
- It might be through related videos. For Fluid Dynamics this included things like space or underwater animals or waves.
- It could be through a suggested reading plan. There are several of these to choose from, including the YWAM biographies, science books, Creation magazine, or books of the student’s choosing. There is one reading plan linked at this time but the rest of these reading plans should be linked soon.
- There are experiments. There are a significant number of experiments and hands-on activities for the topic. Each one is a clickable link that takes you to a printable PDF. It includes information on the project and helps the student understand the points structure, which is helpful for the parent grading each project. The PDF also has hot links for videos, materials, or information that will help complete the experiment. There is also an approximate time frame on each one to assist with planning. There is a printable journal for the experiments that includes all of the project pages.
- Field trip ideas are also suggested. As is well-known, field trips are a great way to really deepen a student’s understanding of a principle. Thus, it is highly recommended that field trips be taken during the study of each Global Topic to really help reinforce the learning.
- Gold Dig (Fluid Dynamics) or Digging Deeper (Sound) is a section that is set up differently, with a lot more reading, rather than videos, and diagrams. It is still related to the Global Topic but takes the student on a bit more of an in-depth study of one part of it. For Sound, this was a study of human sounds, animal sounds, sonic booms, and more. It ends with a longer quiz and a short essay question.
- There are two devotionals at the end of each topic. They are a more reading directed study. Both ask the student to think carefully about the devotional at the end of it. One of them on Sound has just a couple of short essay questions. The other has some multiple choice in addition to short essay.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, y’all. There is so much here! It is a fabulously interesting program and the site allows for delight-led learning to reign freely. Two of the girls have absolutely loved having the freedom to get on and see what looks interesting to them that day. One child like structure a whole lot more and prefers check lists and specific assignments, so this was not such a good fit for her. However, it is doable both ways.
For the child who likes structure, we could easily give her a check list of what to do each day. For example, I told her to spend a minimum of 20 minutes on the site and then told her to pick videos one day. Another day I told her to pick from the experiments. Another day, I told her to do the reading plan (which actually was to go find a science book and read). So, while I didn’t have a pre-set curriculum to follow, it was easy enough to give her the checklist her heart desires with classes.
For the other two, I often ended up having to tell them to get off the site and get busy with their other classes! They would spend hours, literally, watching the videos in the topic. This is the type of learning that resonates with them well and ties many ideas together. It is wonderful to see them really digging in.
Each of the Global Topics can be gone through multiple times. There is a First Timers curriculum and a Second Timers curriculum. At this point, I have not noticed much difference in the two, as they seem to contain the same videos and links and activities. It is nice though, in that when you go back through it with the Second Timers page, you will be marking off the materials again, so you can see what you have done the second time. It is recommended that this second time through happen a year or two later so that your brain can process it differently, cross-wiring the learning to other knowledge you have gained in between times.
A neat feature that we have not used yet is a note taking pop-up box. I can see some great usefulness with this feature. You click the little box down in the bottom right and it pops up a small box to make notes in. It will save those and you can look at all the notes you have taken.
There is a teacher’s area where you can do many things, including where you add the student accounts. There is access to view the students’ scores on the quizzes, though you have to look them up individually. These scores can even be looked at question by question if you need to pinpoint what to work on more specifically. There is a link to tips for the teacher to help plan or schedule. There is a calendar link that gives you planning information to schedule the topic, including a high school, middle school, and elementary portion. The calendars as scheduled are downloadable but there are also blank calendars for planning six months or a year.
Another link you find in the teacher’s area is to the worksheets. When you click through on these, you have access to the answers for all of the worksheets so you can grade the student work. The next link you have in the teacher area is to the links in the General Links area of the student account. Here, they are hot linked so you can play the videos directly in the teacher’s account. The same is true of the Unit Links, which are linked to be able to play directly from the teacher’s area.
Guys! This is a great site. I find it an appealing site, with the freedom to move around and find the things that are interesting. Curiosity is fed through this kind of freedom and with children who really focus on delight-led learning, this is perfect.
Within just a short while, this will be a site that can easily work as a full curriculum for the whole family. But it doesn’t have to. It could also work as a supplement to a different core curriculum or even just a site to explore for fun. There are hours and hours and hours of materials here with just the two Global Topics. When they get all of them up (I think they are aiming for something like 30), watch out! There will be endless hours of materials to learn from.
Take a minute to visit the CrossWired Science site and read up on their educational ideas, as well as through the information under General Info. The General Info is like the FAQ page and will answer many questions you might have.
This is a wonderful resource and I am so glad to have access to it! Use this code when you sign up and receive $5 off – gg17.
Lori, At Home.
Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog and see what other families thought about this new program presented by CrossWired Science.