Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Using Science Kits for Homeschool (and my reviews)

We are three weeks into our 36 week homeschool year and we've been using science kits again in the younger grades.  I really like science kits for many reasons:

1)  Everything is in one box ready to go.

2)  Readers can complete these on their own, allowing mom (or dad) to conduct other lessons.

3)  Relatively inexpensive.

4)  Fun (the good ones are).

5)  Often spurs the imagination to try out other experiments with the remaining supplies.

I'm going to share with you some of the science kits we've used and give you my (hopefully) brief review.

Candy Chemistry - age 10+
Sam is currently working through this kit.  The kit is complete except for the food items needed.  It definitely screams fun with the word candy in the title, but it starts off pretty slow with volume, temperature and heat transfer.  It looks to be picking up intensity because he asked if I'd help with the next experiment, making hard candy.  He's a little nervous about how quickly sugar can burn.  This kit has a lot of extra science info in the instruction booklet.  I noticed he was only reading the experiments so I did read over the science lesson portions and we discussed the vocabulary used.  This kit has proven to keep his interest so I'll give 5 stars.

Snap Circuits - age 8+
We started with the Junior kit and Sam had so much fun we added the Extreme kit for this year.  This kit teaches about electrical circuits while kids build systems with motion, lights and sound.  5 stars.

This had potential for science instruction, but was mostly for fun and the bath bombs didn't want to stay together very well.  Nothing like the pictures.  Even so, Amber still had a lot of fun with this one a few years back and used up all the supplies.  4 stars.

This was a total disappointment.  Very babyish.  Upon completion (not much worked or amazed) everything went in the trash. 1 star.

This is a series of about 10 sets.  Each set comes with 3 kits.  Each kit is a different topic.  Both Amber and Sam have used and enjoyed these kits over the years.  What I like is that most everything needed is included in the box and the direction booklet has a section specifically addressing the child making it very easy to understand.  What the kids like is that the experiments actually work.  Last year Sam did one kit where the yeast was old so it didn't work, but once we used fresh yeast it worked.  One of Sam's favorites was the owl pellet dissection.

Professor Ein-O Egg Science - Egg-stra-ordinary - age 8+

This isn't the egg-zact kit we used last year, but it's very similar; it might be the updated version.  This was super fun, entertaining and engaging.  Give a boy a few raw eggs, let him know he might be breaking them, and you have the recipe for a fun science hour.  This gets 5+ stars.

This is just a snippet of the kits we've used over the years.  I know there have been many others I've forgotten.  However, if you're considering using science kits in your homeschool or thinking up gift ideas for a youngster, try one of these kits.  Learning should be fun.