Category Archives: Science

Schoolhouse Review ~ EdTechLens #hsreviews

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens ReviewAs part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we had the opportunity to review an online science course (Rainforest Journey) through EdTechLens. This program is made for grades K – 5; we are using the 2nd Grade level of this program. EdTechLens is a fairly new program with Rainforest Journey being their first major project. They are NOT a faith-based nor a young earth based company. [It is apparent in some areas but we didn’t find it to be much of an issue. This is something that is found all over our world and something we have already discussed (and continue to discuss) with our son. Additionally, this curriculum is very specifically centered (rainforest) and is more of an “add-on” item. So for us these didn’t make much difference.] With that said, let’s get to the meat of things…

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

The set up of this system was extremely easy and flowed without issue for us. I went in and set P up as a student without any problems. Now, one thing I did miss (as did several other reviewers) is that somewhere along the set up process, you are actually setting up a login for your student. If you don’t realize this quickly, you will miss out on the tracking of the program with the student (unless you have them go back and do it again). You do have two choices when you set it up – the student can or canNOT move around freely within the program. I chose for him to be able to move around as he chose as that makes it easier for doing reviews. However, as you’ll see later, for us there was another benefit to doing it this way (which I didn’t realize when I set it up).


The above screen is the main student screen. It shows their progress as well as all the different parts of their course. This 2nd Grade Science Course has five units. If you click on the unit, the areas for that unit are then shown. You can then click on whatever part of it you would like to work on. Below is a partial picture of Unit 1. The check marks in the upper right corners mean they have been completed.


EdTechLens recommends using this program for 15 – 30 minutes a day. I’m not sure we used it that length of time simply because there is a lot of clicking and a small amount of information covered.

This program uses pictures, videos and audio and is packed full of facts. It is “short and sweet” and gets the points across quickly. Each lesson is one or two screens with each being about a minute or less of audio information. This is what each lesson page looks like:


There is a picture (normally) or a short video at the top. There is a “magnifying glass” you click on for verbiage or you can choose to listen to it using the audio choice. Most times this is about 15 – 30 seconds of information. You can then click on “Enrichment” and do the same as above.

Each lesson has a pdf file you can print and have your student complete. My son doesn’t like to write so we didn’t do these but they are nice reinforcement for what was covered. Additionally, answers are not provided for these sheets.

You then click “next” and go to the next lesson. Super easy.

In working through this program, before I realized there were two logins (one for me as the teacher and one for my son as the student) we accidentally got in to the Unit 1 Quiz – of which we were not able to get out of. We had not covered but only the beginning of the lessons so we really badly on the test. [We could have gone back in to take the test again at a later time, but we chose not to.]  We chose not to do any of the further quizzes. Here is a screen shot of the “My Quiz Results” area for the student:


You do have the choice of printing the tests off as a pdf or taking them online, we did the above online. The quiz was multiple choice using pictures (as shown below). Then there is an “open ended assessment” where the student provides their own answer to the questions. Then a “factual assessment” which uses sentence multiple choice. The first and third are graded online if you do the online test, the middle one shows acceptable answers but is not considered graded until the teacher evaluates and enters it. I feel the testing was adequate for the information covered.


Each unit also offers vocabulary and illustrations. The vocabulary consists of around five words with their definitions. The illustrations are full color pdf files you can print that provide additional information of what is being covered. Here is an example of one of the illustrations in our second grade curriculum:


Here is what the teacher can see on their progress page:


Teacher resources are also provided which consist of:

  • Teaching Guidance
    • Pedagogy
    • Lesson Planning
  • Course Materials
    • Lesson Reviews
    • Unit Assessments
  • Support
    • Quick Start Guide
    • User Guide
    • Contact

Overall we did enjoy this program but we did find it to be extremely easy and pretty simple overall. It definitely would not be an entire curriculum but a supplement you would use. It costs $50 for a one year license for one student (at the time of this review).

Ways to keep up with EdTechLens:

Google +:

Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew as many different grade levels were covered! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 3/16 and 3/18 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!


Crew Disclaimer


Schoolhouse Review ~ Go Science #hsreviews

Go Science Review 

We had the opportunity to review two Library and Educational Services DVD items from the Go Science series (series 2). This video series is recommended for ages 4 – 12 (but our ENTIRE FAMILY enjoyed them!).

These videos contain several “mini segments” (running about 10 minutes or less each) and are done as a “group show” meaning there is a group of children attending his show. In each one, he has several of the children be his helpers.

Our family LOVES Science…I think because it is very hands-on…so we were REALLY excited to get these opened up and watched! As it turns out…Science is still fun just by WATCHING experiments (and mom doesn’t have to clean up a mess!).

Volume 5: States of Matter, Water

Go Science Review 

This DVD covers different “states of matter” such as: ice cream, oobleck, density column (pictured below…that is water, oil and alcohol with different items dropped in),

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ice block melt, corn starch and water, cold water in warm water, ice in water, making butter, traveling water, antimagnetic water, pouring water and burning money.

and Volume 2: Life Science, Weather

Go Science Review 

This DVD covers: flashlight animal eyes, animal skulls, bobby pins, what are you looking at, how much do your lungs hold, eating nails for breakfast, naked egg, fire tornado (see picture below)…

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ping pong cannon, liquid nitrogen cloud, cloud in a bottle and garbage can vortex.

The titles of the segments (shared above) don’t necessarily let you know exactly what each experiment is about but we found EVERY SINGLE ONE to be extremely entertaining as well as a wonderful learning experience. The segments are short enough to hold even my super busy six year olds attention!  I was regularly amazed at how simple his experiments were yet how they EASILY and CLEARLY showed what he was wanting the kids to learn.

And…as I was writing this review I had one of the DVDs in so I could write down the segment titles…my six year old wakes up for the day, comes out and is SO EXCITED one of these DVDs is in the player. My heart was SO HAPPY! I LOVE that my son LOVES to learn through these! And then he was excited to learn (again LOL) that these are OURS TO KEEP (for forever, as he said).

Ben Roy’s “key phrase” is: “Every time we learn more about Science, we learn more about our Creator God.” Love it! Now, with that, these are not “religious videos” but he does like to make the connection between everything being created by God with a purpose – which we loved!

As a side note: I have had an account and have ordered through this company PRIOR TO this review and have always been satisfied with my orders!! Here is “who they are” as posted on their website:

Each of these two videos were just about an hour in length. The normal cost for these DVDs is $14.95 but they are $8.97 through Library and Educational Services.

Our family does have plans to purchase the remaining DVDs…these things are excellent!

You can follow Library and Educational Services on Facebook!

Read more Go Science reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!




Crew Disclaimer

Schoolhouse Review ~ #hsreviews ReviewWe had the opportunity to review Amazing Science, Volume 1 offered from This DVD Science set is recommended for Grades 1 – 3 and sells for $17.95 (or you can download it for $14.99). We were provided the DVD set which consists of two DVDs totaling 23 experiments. ReviewMy son is 6 and we REALLY enjoyed this product…he even asked if he could do it when he had the stomach flu…SERIOUSLY!

How we used this product: we took the list of necessary items for each experiment (you can find the list over at Kathy’s Cluttered Mind – thank you Kathy!!) and from that decided which experiment we wanted to do (often based on what items we had currently available). The experiments can be done in any order without causing any issues.

How it works: the first thing you do is watch the video to see what items you need (except that Kathy made us a wonderful list so we already know!), then Jason (the guy in the videos) does the experiment and then he explains WHY the experiment worked the way it did. I did not time any of the video experiments but I can say my son was really only interested in the experiment part, once Jason started sharing about WHY it worked the way it did, he had little interest. This wasn’t really an issue for me as I am thinking we will do these all again at a later time when he will be more interested in the why part…right now I am just really happy at how excited he is to “do science”!

The first one we did was “Egg in a Bottle” which we had never done before. We LOVED it! Our egg actually EXPLODED…it was really fun! (And you might want to wear safety glasses.)

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The video outlines how to do each experiment in a VERY easy to understand way and it is done step-by-step. There were times we stopped the video before he did the experiment and there were times we watched him do the experiment and THEN we did ours. Regardless of which way we went about it, it was ALWAYS FUN because when you see and do it IN PERSON it just has such a stronger impact.

Another one of the experiments is “Matchstick Speedboat” where you put a match in water and dish soap on the end of a q-tip and then make the matchstick move by putting the q-tip to the end of the matchstick. Exciting!

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Here is “Floating Eggs” where we put water and salt in one glass and just water in another glass and then saw that one floated and one did not. (Of course the video explained WHY this happened even though my son wasn’t overly interested in that part.)

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We really did LOVE this DVD experiment set. The only thing we didn’t like was that there wasn’t a supply list provided. We were VERY THANKFUL to our crew member who made one up for us to use! And even though my son wasn’t really interested in watching the remainder of the videos to find out why each experiment did what it did, I believe these are ones we can do again when he IS interested in learning why. My overall opinion is that these are a wonderful compliment to anyone’s science class. It definitely is not a stand alone curriculum but it is a wonderful asset to help you get your “hands on” Science fun!

You can stay up-to-date with information by checking them out on Facebook:

Our Crew also reviewed several other items which were math related items so head on over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!




Crew Disclaimer

Schoolhouse Review ~ #hsreviews

Science4Us Review 

We had the opportunity to review Online Subscription (created by the same folks as VocabularySpellingCity!!) which is an online Science program geared toward grades Kindergarten through 2nd (but those in 3rd – 5th could use it as a review of previous things learned) and runs $7.95 per month per child. This program covers Physical Science (matter, energy, force & motion), Inquiry (science tools), Life Science (plants, animals, habitats, and more) and Earth/Space (history, materials, features, weather, exploring the universe and earth in space). I used this program with my Kindergartner.

There are two “sides” to this program…one for the student and one for the teacher. We will start with the student side.

This is what they see when they first login:

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The FIRST thing the students should do is watch the video in the upper left corner…it will show them how to navigate through the system.

After that they can see “My Assignments” directly in the middle (these are / can be assigned by the teacher). They can click on that, or they can choose one of the “Books of Science” in the upper right. They also can find out more information about where they have been and general terms by clicking something in the “My Tools” box on the left. As they complete the assignments given by the teacher, the “My Assignments” box changes too. So this is a very simple way for them to login and simply click the first item in that box to get started. Or if you aren’t particular where they work, they can click one of the books and get started.

It is suggested by that they start with the top three circles in the lower right box with each topic: Engage, Explore, Explain – and they should be done in that order. From there they can do any of the activities they would like (also found in that same box). Each topic has an “Evaluation” they can take when they are done with that module.

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Above is a picture of what is being done in the “Engage” part for Science Tools. You can tell you are in “Engage” by the upper right box. As you can see, the pages are very colorful. The “notebook” is a place where the students can have a lot of fun and show some of their creativity. Often times they get to draw their own things using the available tools!

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Above is an example of “Explore”. We had a lot of fun with this one! It was showing motion…and the difference between curves, uphill and downhill. (The screens get more and more difficult as the student completes the one prior.)

Below is another example of “Explore”…it is really neat all the different activities this program has! Here the students drag the name to the correct place.

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And another explore example…this one was REALLY cool…you could move the picture around to see all different sides and planets. Then when you clicked on a planet it told you more about it. It was really neat!

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Here is an example of an “Explain” activity; you can see the different areas discussed by looking at the very bottom starting at the left.

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Below is one of our favorite activities…SillyBulls…the student gets to put the words in correct syllable order. One of the things I *GREATLY* appreciated about this program is that EVERY.THING “talks” to the child…it is understood that Kindergartner’s cannot read. Nothing frustrates me more than a program written for this age that doesn’t “talk” to them! So…I LOVED that about this program!

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And ANOTHER bonus to this program…it works on other things besides just Science!

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When it comes time to do the evaluations, the students get to see immediate results of how they did.

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As you can see this is a pretty amazing program with A LOT of different activities to help the students learn.

A couple of things we would have like to see handled differently are the fact that if you stopped an activity in the middle for some reason…you had to start all over at the beginning again (which for some of the “explain” activities can be quite a bit of time) and we would have liked to be able to know how long a video would be playing.


Now for the “teacher area”. This area is kind of basic although it does allow you to “drill down” pretty specifically on a particular student and what they have completed, it doesn’t really offer a very good “general overview” of how the students are doing. I think the most impressive parts of “this side” is that there is A LOT of information provided for the teacher and that you can plan out the activities for the students in any order you prefer (by student). [I only reviewed this with one student so I cannot comment on how it works for handling more than one.]

This is what the assignment area looks like on the teacher side. It shows near the top middle right how long this session is expected to take (most are in the area of 30 minutes). There is “Professional Development” in the lower left which provides information for this module that would be important for the teacher to know…this can be viewed as a pdf or as a video. There is also “Teacher Support” (middle right) which gives a guide to how to teach this module for a particular grade level. Here is where some additional fun, hands-on / off the computer, learning games can be found.

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Here is an example of one of the screens you can see for a student:
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You can also look at the students notebook entries…and MAKE COMMENTS!
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Overall we REALLY enjoyed this program and found it to be an extremely fun way to learn about science (as well as other things like alphabetizing)!

[As a side note that I always look for with Science related items especially – this is not a Biblical program therefore it shows millions of years. Personally we see this in so many things that we have found a way around it that we just don’t point it out (if it is visual) or make a quick noise to cover “millions of years” being said. But, I did want to share this information with you so you would be aware.]

Read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

Crew Disclaimer


Today I would like to share something that is essential for us in homeschooling – especially for highly spirited boys…HANDS-ON ITEMS!

P is a boy with a lot of energy – A.LOT. OF. ENERGY. and it didn’t take me long to realize that sitting down and doing schoolwork just simply wasn’t going to work for him. Through that we have moved to quite a bit of a Charlotte Mason approach with him which seems to be working really well.

Now I’m not sure if this is actually a Charlotte Mason approach item…but it is working for us…and we are, overall, eclectic in style. With that, we were fortunate enough to purchase the Magic School Bus monthly Science kits when they were part of the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op special – HALF PRICE! I jumped at that and even though this is only our second kit – we are LOVING it!

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Above is “making goop” which was SUPER EASY (and I think we have done this before somewhere else)…using cornstarch and water you “make goop”. The really neat thing about this stuff is that it is hard, almost like cement before it is hardened, when it is in the bottom of the container. But when you pick it up it turns in to a liquid and runs right out of your hands. It is SO COOL!

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The above is “fizz water”. The Magic School Bus kit provided the fizz table and we put it in a cup of water. Really neat way to show how a solid turns to a gas.

Some other ways we have hands-on items for our homeschool is using Math-U-See for math. The manipulatives help him keep his hands busy while also giving him a visual for learning.

We also have the Melissa & Doug See & Spell to use for our letters, phonics and spelling. As well as chalk and a chalk board.

And of course we have a huge assortment of craft items we use! Some we don’t use as much any more but we used the different foam shapes for telling different shapes, sizes, colors, sorting. One of his FAVORITE things to do in the beginning was dot markers…we don’t do those very much any more. The skill sticks are one of our news acquisitions…I am excited to see what all we can do with them!

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Well, that is a lot of what we have been using for hands on in our homeschooling. I am finding that when he is moving in one form another he learns SO MUCH BETTER. He gets very frustrated when he can’t move.

Now…please take a few minutes to visit the following blogs to see what essentials they have shared:

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

Jennifer @ Royal Little Lambs

Sarah @ My Joy-Filled Life

Debbie @ Debbie’s Homeschool Corner

Lisa Marie @ The Canadian Homeschooler

Laura @ Four Little Pengins

Dinah @ The Traveling Classroom

Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Erin @ Water on the Floor

Then go check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog page for even MORE wonderful bloggers sharing (we have almost 90!).

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Science ~ Magic School Bus Kit #1

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A couple weeks ago I saw that Homeschool Buyers Co-Op, which  has FREE membership, was having a half off deal for Magic School Bus Science Kits. About a year ago, we bought the set of Magic School Bus DVDs when they were on a really good sale and have enjoyed most of them so we had a pretty good idea that we would enjoy these too. (Side note: We are aware that MSB does not teach from a Biblical standpoint and have been paying attention to what needed to be removed or discussed so as to match our Biblical views).

Well, I am excited to share that we received our first Magic School Bus monthly kit! It comes with everything you need (except for things you would commonly find around your house).

This is what came in this months kit which is “The Human Body”:
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There are seven projects in this booklet to do for the month. Each project has its own “instruction page”. (We started with Experiment #2 as we do not have any 2-liter bottles at this moment, which are needed for Experiment #1).
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Here is what we needed for this project “beating heart”: We provided the cup, the colored water and the tape; everything else was provided in the kit.
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He used the pipette (which he LOVED!) to move the colored water [blood] from the cup to one of the balloons.
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After putting colored water in one balloon we taped both balloons to the straw (one at each end) and the little plastic person in the middle. The straw is to represent the blood flowing out in to the body and then back into the heart because as you squeezed the balloon it went through the straw to the other balloon.

This is our final “beating heart” (next time I will verify his “smile!” is a better smile LOL). Despite his facial expression…he really did enjoy this!
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Overall we LOVED this project. It was an EXCELLENT hands on way to learn and it kept my sons attention (something that is extremely difficult to do!). The only thing I would do different is to use better tape.

These are all the kits we will get for the year ~ one kit each month.
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We are super excited to do more of this month’s experiments as well as see what we will get in each of the other kits this year! More to come as we enjoy these!

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Schoolhouse Review ~ BrainFood Learning (Birds) #hsreviews

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We had the opportunity to review BrainFood Learning‘s The Fascinating World of Birds video. The video runs about 30 minutes and offers a 10 minute review at the end. It retails for $14.99.

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This video is packed FULL of learning in a fun way! The video footage is beautiful, colorful and fun. The sounds are perfect and really help you understand more about what you are watching.

Our entire family watched it and we all enjoyed it. It covers things like: Why and ostrich has rocks inside its body. how the penguin walks and slides, the beauty of the Canada Goose, how the owl is nocturnal, the amazing speed of a hummingbrids wings, the amazing way the woodpecker is put together for it’s specific trait of pecking wood, the beauty of the macaw, the size of what a pelican can eat, how the American Robin gets a worm and how quiet an eagle can be.

Just a few of the vocabulary words learned are: buoyancy, depth perception, metabolism and zygodactyl.

Even our cat liked it (he seriously looked as if he wanted to get some of those birds!)…

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It is definitely a tool we would recommend to others. I refer to it as a “tool” because it isn’t simply a movie you watch. It grabs your attention and “sucks you in” to where learning is fun! Our 5 year old son was shouting out the answers to the questions – but we were all interested enough that we were answering too. (And to answer the questions you really needed to have watched the video and paid attention while doing so.)

You can watch a 3-minute preview HERE. There is also a study guide to go with it (which was offered at the end of the review period so I haven’t included anything about it). You can find it HERE.

Click to read more BrainFood Learning reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

Here’s praying you have fun learning!




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