Little Scientists

I’ll be honest… embarking on this year’s homeschool journey I was slightly hesitant to write out my curriculum for Science.  I’m no lab tech, and I’ve never been really great at Science (or Math for that matter)!  Fortunately for me (and my kiddos) nowadays we have such great technology and resources at our fingertips – whew!  In conjunction with a few Science books and Encyclopedias I’ve found at used bookstores, I’ve found hands-on experiences and projects to be vital for my little ones to grasp concepts.  Here are some great resources we’ve used thus far, and I’ve found to be imperative in our journey through Science.

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Learning Apps: 

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Toca Lab from the Apple App Store $0.99 (as of 9/23/15)

App Store Description:

Meet all 118 of the elements from the periodic table.  Discover elements by experimenting with the lab tools!

* Take your element for a spin in the centrifuge.
* Warm them up in the Bunsen burner.
* Put the element on ice with the cooling agent!
* Add a drop or two of mysterious liquids from the test tubes.
* Change their voltage and make them magnetic with the oscilloscope.

Our Review:

The kiddos LOVE it!  They think it’s exciting changing the elements from one matter to another in the lab (liquid to gas, etc.) and seeing how each element reacts.  Super fun way to introduce the elements and lab equipment in a fun and engaging way!

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Monster Physics

App Store Description:

Monster Physics is a unique building app that lets you play with physics!  Build and operate your own car, crane, rocket ship, plane, helicopter, tank and more!

Once your invention is complete, Monster Physics will render it with it’s built-in physics engine and let you actually operate your creation in real time.  You can drive your car, operate your crane, guide your rocket into space or fly your helicopter!

Our Review:

This app is recommended for the 9-11 age range. I find it is a bit difficult to get the machines that are build to operate well for younger children who don’t have much knowledge of connecting “moving” parts and materials.  My 8 year old really loves this app and it’s challenging enough to keep him actively engaged in problem solving.  I like that it introduces basic physic concepts like friction, force, mass, acceleration as well as others.

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Disneynature Explore (FREE)

App Store Description:

Explore the outdoors like never before through the world of amazing animals!  5 animal adventures — Brown Bear, Monarch Butterfly, Chimpanzee, African Lion, and Loggerhead Sea Turtle – featuring 4 activities each.

Our Review:

This app is a pretty fun way to get kids to explore their natural surroundings.  It engages the player by having you take photos and even roar like a lion!  All of my children (ages 3, 6, 8) find this app engaging, and best part it’s FREE!

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GoSkyWatch Planetarium $3.99 (as of 9/23/15)

App Store Description:

Easily and quickly identify and locate stars, planets, comets, constellations, galaxies and more by simply pointing to the sky.  Your personal telescope to the wonders in the night sky.  Go outside and explore with GoSkyWatch Planetarium.

Our Review:

This app is great if you have a stargazer or mini astronomer in the family.  Even if you don’t it’s really fun to go out on a clear night and find the constellations and identify where planets and galaxies are in relation to us here on earth.

Models and Kits:

659e943971165923fd77e1e802f9b72dSmartlab Toy Squishy Human Body from Target $16.79 (as of 9/23/15)

Website Description:

Learn all about the human body with this Smartlab Toys Squishy Human Body. If your child likes to explore the gross and you want them to learn, this is the ideal learning toy for them. The removable squishy organs give them a deeper understanding of what is inside them. The included booklet explains the body in language your child can understand and that will keep him or her completely interested in learning. There is also an anatomy game that 1 or more players can join in on. They will constantly come back to this game and toy to learn more and to put it all together and discover the magnificent machine that is their body.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Age: 8 Years and Up
Grade Level: 1st Grade
Educational Focus: Science, Creative Thinking

Our Review:

My kids love to get this “toy” out.  I consider it to be more of an anatomical model.  They can remove the outer rib cage and other skeletal bones to find and examine the underlying organs.  Ours came with a descriptive book for each organ as well as a chart to match up each one that has been removed.  The kids enjoy being the “Doctor” or “Surgeon” and using the provided play tweezers or medical scissors.

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Wonderology – Science Kit – Snap, Plug & Play Radio from Target $2.97 (as of 9/23/15)

Website Description:

If you’ve ever wondered, but never really knew, now’s the time to discover something new! Wonderology is the kid friendly science line that makes learning a blast! Explore the mysteries of science like never before with this over-the-top fun science line! Now you can create your own working FM Radio! It easily snaps together for multiple configurations and no screws are required! See how many ways you can build it and tune in to live radio waves. Explore the wonderful world of science with Wonderology and the Snap, Plug & Play Radio set! Feature 1. Wonderology is the kid friendly science line that makes learning a blast! Explore the mysteries of science like never before! Feature 2. The Snap, Plug & Play Radio Kit lets kids build their own working FM Radio! Feature 3. Reconfigure your radio in different ways It easily snaps together. No screws required! Feature 4. The Wonderology Snap, Plug & Play Radio is made for Young Scientists ages 8+ and requires 2 x AA batteries (not included). Includes: 5 panels, 1 speaker panel, 1 speaker wire, 1 battery compartment, 1 tuner, 1 battery wire, 1 antenna, 1 volume control, 1 hub, 1 instruction guide

Manufacturer’s Suggested Age: 5 Years and Up
Grade Level: 5th Grade, 3rd Grade, 6th Grade, 1st Grade, 4th Grade, 2nd Grade

Our Review:

This is a basic, beginner’s Science model to introduce your kids to the basics of “hands-on” experimentation: following directions and putting something together.  It’s also a really fun result.  My kids love their little radios.  They need some wiggling and tweaking of the antenna at times, but overall it plays FM stations with no issue.

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