The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Science Experiments in a Bag E-Books 1 & 2 Review by Charlotte GochnauerBy Sherri MacLean
Activity Bags LLC
8090 Downing Drive
Denver, CO 80229
For a lot of homeschooling moms, science can be a hard subject to teach. There are all those experiments to be done, with materials and supplies that need to be purchased. It is enough to make a mom wait until the next year, or the next year . . . If this sounds familiar to you, then these handy e-books from Activity Bags would make a definite improvement to your science curriculum.
Each e-book focuses on three aspect of science. In Book 1 the experiments are about biology, nature, and general science. Some of the experiments are titled "Catch a Web," "Pulpy Paper," and "Geotropism." In Book 2 the emphasis is on chemistry, the human body, and general science. Some of the experiments in this book are about chemical reactions, eye parts, and taste. There are 25 experiments in each book, each with step-by-step instructions that even young children can take part in. The experiments are meant for children from grades K through 6th, with the older children reading and recording the findings, and the younger ones helping and observing. For each experiment there are a couple pages you can copy for your student that include the instructions, observation questions, and a space for notes. Some of the student pages include space for sketching as well as follow-up experiments. There is also an answer key page for the questions in each experiment.
Not only do these books give experiment instructions, they also give instructions and hints for an Activity Bag Swap. The Activity Bag Swap is a great way for you and a group of friends to get all the materials for these experiments. First, you and your group decide which of the experiments you want to do, and then you divide the chosen experiments among all the participants. All the materials needed for each experiment can fit into a plastic, 1-gallon bag and are listed at the top of each experiment page. The supplies needed list also has different quantities on it, from 1 bag to 20 bags, depending on the size of your group. This makes figuring out how many supplies to buy for any number of participants an easy job! A couple of weeks later, your group will meet together and, forming an assembling line with paper bags, fill them with all the prepared materials in their neat plastic bags. Each experiment would have in its own bag the non-consumable supplies, the student's experiment log, and a label listing a description, supplies needed, and any applicable warnings. This works well for a co-op, a homeschooling support group, or just a group of friends wanting to help each other set up the experiments.
I found these e-books to be a great asset to our science curriculum. In both of the books, there is a page that categorizes each experiment according to where it takes place (indoors or outdoors) and which of the sciences it emphasizes. This helped immensely in the decision-making process. There were also many helpful hints for the coordinator of the Activity Bag Swap. The experiments themselves were easy to use, with common materials and simple instructions. They answered everyday questions, like why earthworms are so important, how the air moves things, and how salt makes it harder for things to freeze. And one of the best things about this product is that each experiment is meant to cost only about a dollar to assemble. All of my children, ages 4-13, enjoyed this fun way to learn about the wonderful world around us and the amazing things God has created.
Product review by Charlotte Gochnauer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010