Friday, May 11, 2012

"Every Time We Learn Something about Science..."

"...we learn something about our Creator, God!"

These words are echoed after every experiment on the Go Science videos.  Presenter Ben Roy, who combines the enthusiasm of a fitness trainer with the sparkle of a magician, puts a ton of energy into teaching kids about, well, energy, but also about motion, magnetism, electricity, engineering and design.  Mr. Roy "teaches science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is the former director of a science program on television."  He also puts on mobile science shows.  You can find out more about him at  the Science Zone

I was privileged to view Volumes 1 and 3 of a six-volume DVD set.  I set the player to start without telling my kids what I was doing.  My 13 year-old son almost immediately came over, lay down in front of the TV and began watching.  My 15 year-old daughter pretended not to be too interested, but she kept peeking over the newspaper and watching as well.

On Volume 1:  Motion:  Discovering the Laws of Gravity and Motion, we liked the Gyroscope experiment the best.  Besides using a regulation gyroscope, Mr. Roy set a bicycle wheel spinning on a small rope.  You wouldn't think it would keep steady, but it does!  He explained the science behind it in simple terms, but then went on to use the gyroscope as an object lesson about how Jesus Christ helps us maintain our balance in life.

The next experiment, the Newtonian Cradle, was another favorite.  Mr. Roy used a hugely over-sized version of the five clacking balls you sometimes find on people's desks.  I think this was the best demonstration I have ever seen of Newton's Law of Motion:  "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

There were seven demonstrations on Volume 1, each averaging about 4 to 5 minutes, for a total of 30 minutes.  Some other experiments were the Ring and Chain (we still can't figure that one out!), the Frisbee, the Egg Spin, and Inertia.  The final experiment on that disc was the Ball, Ring and Sphere.  For part of it, he used one of those crazy toys called a Hoberman Sphere to explain how atoms can be close together or far apart.  That was pretty neat!

On Volume 3:  Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering, Design, there were one or two experiments that would probably only appeal to the younger crowd:  mixing colors, monster magnets, and making a compass -- pretty basic.  But, then Mr. Roy brought out some heavy equipment like a Tesla Coil, a Jacob's Ladder, and one of those Static Electricity makers which everybody loves to watch.  These would capture the interest of the older kids, plus they are things you don't generally have laying around the house!

The final discussion on that disc was about plastic pre-forms, and since he was just showing a small test tube and a 2 liter bottle and talking about how one can turn into the other, I was thinking, "This is not too exciting."  But, then, he went on talking about how we are like that pre-form tube, waiting for when Jesus returns and changes our flawed sinful bodies into new, perfect, and whole ones.  Then I thought, "This was the best one of all!"

Volume 3 was a longer video, almost 55 minutes.  This one held 14 demonstrations, averaging 4 minutes each.  Obviously, these short video segments are only supplements to use with your regular science curriculum, but I think they would make a nice visual addition to your teaching arsenal.  

The suggested age-range for these videos is 6 to 14.  I would probably cut that to 6 to 12.  Not because the demonstrations wouldn't interest the older crowd, but because the explanations weren't detailed enough for them.


I loved how unashamedly Christian these DVDs are.  You can buy the set of 6 for $47.95 or individually for $8.97/each (a savings of $6 off retail).  I ordered them through Library and Educational Services which is a small Christian family company in Michigan who offers the same wholesale discounts to homeschoolers as they do to other types of schools.  Be sure to check them out as well!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given Volumes 1 and 3 of the Go Science videos for free in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I may have to look at these! Thank you for sharing a review.