Our family has been having fun experimenting with the e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum from Supercharged Science for the past several weeks after receiving a full year of access to all levels, K-12.
Supercharged Science is a unique science program created by Cal-Poly graduate Aurora Lipper. Aurora is not only a master science teacher but also a mother of four so she really understands kids! She has designed her award-winning program with both students and parents/teachers in mind. As you can see from my screenshots below there is so much content on this website I couldn’t capture it all on one screen!
How we used it
We bounced around a bit and used both the grade and topic divisions for finding parts that were interesting to us even though it is well laid out into a scheduled complete curriculum. (It tends to be our style and I always make sure to complete any prerequisite units before moving on to the next one.)
Since we’ve been doing a lot of tracking our family tree, EJ asked if we could do some of the life science activities so that’s where we began. I think perhaps the best way to let you all know why we liked this program so much is to share with you a few of the experiments we did (we used some worksheets but also created charts on his Chromebook and calculated results in EJ’s science journal).
DNA and Cowlicks Running in the Family
We love doing experiments in a science class since it feels like it really helps you remember what you are learning by doing it hands on. For instance, one of the seventh-grade life science activities was to study and learn how to map family traits. These are things like hair color, eye color, cowlicks, and widow’s peaks.
Tracking these traits led us into creating charts that were much like a family tree only we were using colors to say whether a person had the trait or not. Ej thought it was interesting to find out who in his ancestry had a cowlick and decided that he and I have a lot in common (including the rascally cowlick that both of us are constantly frustrated with!) We also share down brown hair. (His little brother has blond hair and a cowlick so we know the two traits are not connected.)
Of course, this led to a discussion of why his mother not only doesn’t have a cowlick, she also doesn’t have a whorl (I know it sounds impossible but that girl’s hair just grows straight out of her head, always has). I found I was learning a lot about traits and how they are passed on in families alongside EJ.
Our next experiment made us think about familial traits too.
When we were doing the tongue mapping in seventh-grade life science, EJ had a hard time figuring out what he was tasting and where on his tongue.
We wondered if this was because he has a geographic tongue like I do. It does make things taste bitter so that could be part of his confusion. We looked it up and it can also run in families.
He decided it would be easier to use Google sheets on his Chromebook to make charts for his science journal since the lines are nice and straight that way.
Science, Chocolate, and Cheese
One of our favorite experiments was measuring the speed of light with a chocolate bar. (How could using chocolate for science ever be a bad thing?) First, we had to find the frequency of the microwave. I’m not sure if that tag was washed away but we couldn’t find it. EJ did find the model number though so we looked up the brand online, matched this number, and found the frequency in MHz this way (it was 2450 MHz).
Watching Aurora’s video we figured out how to measure the hot spots in our chocolate and make the calculations to measure the speed of light. EJ decided to make a video for you of his experiment but, unfortunately, it got cut off instead of paused at one point in the process and by then his bar of chocolate had been melted.
He did manage to do the calculations and figured out that the microwave we were using had very long spaces between hot spots so he figures it must be old and not keeping up to the speed of light.
There was a question in the worksheet asking what EJ thought would happen if he used cheese instead of chocolate. He thought it would likely have the same result but decided to check it out by melting some on bread, the result, the hot spots were closer together (and it made a delicious lunch.) EJ thought perhaps he couldn’t see all the hot spots in the chocolate because the crevices between each square were really deep. A good theory.
Exciting New Updates
We just learned this week that Supercharged Science will be upgrading their website, giving it a facelift to make it not only look nicer but also to make it easier to navigate. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of it while doing my review, it looks terrific.
EJ liked how this program was laid out. He could either choose something by topic or by grade so if there was something he saw on TV he could easily find the section in Supercharged Science. He also liked how each area had a video lesson and experiment he could try out.
I liked the program because it was basically turn-key for me aside from putting together supplies for the experiments and many of these were items we had at home already either in the kitchen or in our science box. I also liked Aurora’s delivery of the lessons and complete explanations of the activities. As she says on her website, it’s like having a science teacher right there with your children (a science teacher kids like!)
I would recommend other families have a look and see how it could fit their learning. There are free lessons you can try out if you aren’t sure. We found it fit our family very well and look forward to using it as our main science curriculum for the upcoming homeschool year.