Thursday, June 26, 2014

Science and God in bite-sized pieces {Go Science! DVDs review}

Over the course of this year, studying science with Lauren (our second grader) has fallen by the wayside a bit. I was excited about our recent opportunity to review two new Go Science DVDs from Library and Educational Services.

I picked the Life Science and Weather DVD because we are currently doing a unit study on weather, and Addison suggested Sound, Gravity, and Space DVD as our second choice.

Go Science is the brain child of Ben Roy, a former elementary school teacher who is now teaching education classes at the college level. Each DVD lasts about an hour and has 10-12 different video clips on it. All of the presentations present both a science concept and a concept about God. Ben Roy ends every video with the statement, "Every time we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator God!"

Since we're not doing full days of school during the summer, I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to use these DVDs. It's actually a good thing that I didn't have a set plan because it took a while for me to figure out how they would work best for her.

My first attempt to share the DVDs with Lauren was on a long road trip. I was hoping to sneak some science in while she was stuck in the car. On the first day, she kept asking me, "How much do I have to watch?" On the second day, she stopped the video after each segment, told me what it was about, and asked if she had to watch another one. Later, when I sat down and watched some of the video with her, I understood what was going on. Each individual segment is self-contained and therefore the video seems to be completely over after each 5-10 minute clip. The repeated starting and stopping can be bothersome or confusing if you're watching it from beginning to end in one sitting.

I then decided to pick out a few video segments to go along with our current unit study on weather. The video clips for that topic weren't exactly what I was looking for. I was hoping that the fire tornado segment would help her visualize a tornado like the one she read about in literature yesterday. Unfortunately, the swirling flames in his experiment didn't help her understand the swirling action of the winds in an actual tornado. Similarly, the cloud he created with liquid nitrogen looked like steam to her and didn't help her understand cloud formation any more than she did before. It would have worked better if I had started with specific videos in mind and then created a study about that topic.

We found that the DVDs are a wonderful way to introduce science concepts. Lauren's favorite segment showed the inside of a piano and how the sound is made by hammers hitting the strings. She also told me specifically about the demonstration of UV beads because it reminded her of a necklace we had made out of similar beads a few years ago. At times, Lauren became a bit frustrated because many of the experiments and demonstrations contained materials that we didn't have access to at home. She wished she could have tried more of the science demonstrations for herself.

The one thing that sets these science videos apart from any others I have seen is Ben Roy's enthusiasm for sharing God's message with kids. Every single segment talks about God, some of the video clips were filmed at Vacation Bible School, and there was even a Jesus Loves Me sing-along during the demonstration of Reuben's Tube. While talking about UV beads, Ben Roy talked about how God cleanses us from our sins in a similar way that the UV beads turned colors when the light shone on them.

For Lauren, I've found that I'm having the most success by watching just a single video clip or two at a time. Each segment provides a bite-sized piece of science information and a corresponding devotional type thought. I don't necessarily look for a topic that relates to her other studies; we just enjoy learning something new. And as Ben Roy says, "Every time we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator God."

Go Science DVDs are recommended for ages 4-12 and are available from Library and Educational Services for only $8.97 each. Library and Educational Services offers all sorts of books, CDs, and videos for schools, churches, libraries, and resellers at big discounts. Homeschoolers are welcome to set up a wholesale buyer account and take advantage of their great deals.

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