14.4.14

Science DVDs by Curiosity Quest

The following DVD combo packs were provided by Curiosity Quest for the purpose of this TOS Schoolhouse Crew review.

 

Curiosity Quest asks "What are you curious about?" Then they proceed to answer the question in detail. Curiosity Quest actually includes a form on their website that you can enter topics you would like for them to explore and share. If you have ever wondered how oranges are harvested or how mushrooms are grown, then this is the series for you. We received two of their DVD combo packs ($24.95 each) and learned more than we knew before about six different topics. DVD Combo Pack - Produce included Mushrooms, Cranberries, and Orange Packing. DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea included Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, and Salmon. The six episodes are each about 30 minutes long with a target audience of children ages 7-14. 

My son loves science. He enjoys exploring, doing experiments, talking about it, basically anything about science. He does not enjoy writing. I solved that problem by having him combine the two making his writing more meaningful and fun for him. He added a page to his science notebooks for each of the six topics covered in these DVDs and after he watched each episode he wrote a few sentences about what he learned. 
"FunFacts" are scattered throughout each of the episodes.  These DVDs contain three episodes each. After watching the first one (mushrooms) I had him pause the DVD on the menu and mute the sound. He was prepared with his science notebook and a sharp pencil. I just had him write sentences about what he had just learned about mushrooms. We have mushrooms that grow in our yard but have never grown mushrooms to eat. The entire process was interesting from the pasteurized hay bunk beds used to grow them through the final packaging. 

We look forward to eating cranberries each fall. I've never seen them growing, and I learned my assumptions about cranberry bogs were incorrect. For one thing, cranberries do not grow in water. The "rejects" which are too small for selling are fed to deer and other wildlife. They shared that growers of organic chickens feed a lot of cranberries to their chickens. We have seen improvements in our own chickens since we followed my aunts advice to feed them blueberries which we do have in abundance. The only unanswered question I have after watching this extremely informative documentary about harvesting cranberries is the similarities and differences in cranberries and blueberries.  Before watching this, my only view of a cranberry bog was from a popular juice commercial. 

The entire orange packing process was demonstrated. We enjoyed fresh squeezed orange juice while watching Joel (the show's host) pick them and share with us as he learned how they were sorted to be sold. 





If you have ever wondered what it might be like to be a bird biologist, you can find out as well as answers to questions including why don't penguins fly?

We got a behind the scenes peek at penguin nests which closely resembled their natural habitat of the magellanic penguins. Their special diet was explained including how vitamins are hidden in their food. Their bone structure was described and interesting facts were shared like the fact that penguins have 100 feathers per square inch! 

Salmon is one of my husband's favorite foods, so my son suggested we watch that particular episode with daddy. We enjoy visiting a fish hatchery in Missouri each year (though not salmon) so it was fun to compare what we had experienced with all that the video showed us. The fish hatchery shared on this episode raises 5 varieties of salmon in Alaska. A fun way to remember the varieties: pink, chum, silver, king, and sockeye was illustrated by using five fingers. 


The rehabilitation hospital for Sea Turtles grabbed my interest. 
I've shopped for fishing hooks with my son and spent time contemplating the various features available. At the turtle hospital, they shared that stainless steel hooks last forever but that makes them a bad option for turtles who may eat fish containing fish hooks compared with regular steel hooks which can dissolve in the turtle over time. Anatomy was again covered including the yolk sac which continues to feed the turtles until they are mature enough to feed themselves. 



We don't have sea turtles in the gulf like they do in the Florida Keys, so Joseph made one in the sand. 


My fourth grader completely enjoyed these episodes. The information was shared in a way that was easily understood by him yet not too simple to also be enjoyed by me, his dad, and his big sisters. Now Grandma and Grandpa are watching the DVDs with Joseph. Each of the episodes lasted for about 30 minutes.




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Jennifer

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