Super Hero and I had the opportunity to use the Science4Us.com Online Subscription program during the last few weeks. As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a free 6-month subscription to the complete program in exchange of my review. Science4Us.com is intended for young children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Additionally, the website invites children in 3rd through 5th grade, to use it as a review or refresher program.
Science4Us.com online science curriculum has been a lot of fun, and totally worth our time. Both, Super Hero and I, loved it and appreciated the vast collection of funny, well-produced, clearly-explained science concepts. Dynamic and colorful videos present the lesson, and require Super Hero’s interaction at different intervals in order to move forward. I found this strategy very effective, rather than having a quiz or worksheet at the end (don’t we all know how boring those can be sometimes, right? Right!), the reinforcement is interspersed throughout the movie or lesson. And since the cartoons or animations are lively and fun, often with upbeat music or outright singing, the child feels compelled to comply to continue onward. (Actually, there are fun quizzes at the end too 😉 )
Aside from the student guide, some handy tools and a summary of Super Hero’s latest activity, the student dashboard presents the main material organized into 4 categories labeled “Books of Science”:
- Physical science
- Life science
- Earth/space science
Each Book of Science has its own units, each clearly labeled with titles and images. As you mouse over each image, the title of that particular unit is spoken aloud. Since some children may not be able to read just yet, I thought this feature was not only thoughtful, but instructive as well. Since we didn’t follow any particular lesson plan (more about this later), Super Hero can pretty much choose anything he likes in no particular order. Each lesson is self-contained.
Each unit contains many modules.
And lastly, each module comprises a collection of activities. Clicking on any activity will fire up the fun video mentioned above. The Student Guide suggests you begin by choosing the first three: Engage (orange icon), Explore (blue icon) and Explain (green icon). Afterward, Super Hero is free to choose any video he fancies from the assorted collection of Elaborate activities. These are designed to cultivate interest and cement understanding. Lastly, Evaluate activities are built-in throughout the videos to assess understanding and progress. Constant access to the child’s notebook is readily available, as well as to the student guide and the very nice audio-enabled glossary.
Here’s a sample of one of Super Hero’s entries into his online notebook. He can save any work he wants to at any time for further reference or printing.
Cross Curricular Teaching
In addition to the interesting science lessons, Science4Us.com also incorporates math and language arts through stand alone activities such as SillyBulls, where the child separates words into syllables “silly bulls”. And by intertwining language arts into its interactive plots. Take the Weather Report activity, for example, here Mr. Dewey Storms, a newscast meteorologist, “raps” up the evening news singing his weather forecast to a hilarious rap tune. Not only was this funny, it actually was very instructive. Mr. Storms’s explained who a meteorologist is and what he does, about the type of clouds and how they affect the weather. Lastly, Mr. Storms tied past patterns and predictions to past, present and future tenses. I put together a collage with some of this movie’s screenshots, I wish I could include the music too 😉
Super Hero got a real kick out of Weather Report and many other favorites such as The Weird and Wacky, Lemonadium, Memory Match, SillyBulls, and so many others. It’s hard to pick just one!
Science4Us.com accommodates both, parents that like to plan the lessons ahead of time with structured lesson plans and teacher guides; and those, like me, who let the child explore what interests him and build from there. You can get all the assistance you might want with prepared lesson plans, student reports, assignment tracking, etc. Or, you can get this substantial extra material to follow up on any activity your child does decide to study.
In addition to all this wonderful library of resources, Science4Us.com also offered a free webinar right after my account was created to help us, parents, get the most out of the program. I very much appreciate that kind of support.
In a Nutshell
We loved Science4Us.com and we will continue to use it during our 6 month-subscription, there’s still a lot of activities Super Hero can explore. The fact that offers science from a secular perspective is a big plus for us. The Science4Us.com team has definitely created a robust online core science curriculum for early elementary students. It’s been built with research-based guidelines to smoothly engage the child into the learning process in an easy-to-follow and very entertaining way. Super Hero has very much enjoyed it, and I have appreciated the first-class work the folks at Science4Us.com have put into developing this fine program. Thank you Science4Us.com.
Should you decide to enroll, it costs $7.95 per child per month, with no commitments. You can unsubscribe at any moment.