The girls and I had the pleasure of adding a digital supplement to our science lessons this past month. VisualLearning Systems’s program, Digital ScienceOnline: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) includes teacher guides with answers, videos, animations, worksheets, and project ideas.
Since we were learning about reptiles and amphibians when began the program, we included the Amazing Amphibians and Reptiles unit from Visual Learning Systems into our plan.
I was excited about incorporating the video components into our learning because we often do not have video components to go along with our science studies.
Our access also included Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12). The digital science library is divided into physical, life, and earth in the elementary section. The high school and primary sections are also divided into the different areas of science. The videos for the elementary section range between 15-20 minutes. During the video presentation, the speaker asks questions geared towards the students. During these times, the video has a built in moment of silence for the students to think or engage with one another to determine the answer. The videos are well paced with a generous amount of information.
When I decided to include Visual Learning Systems into our current science program, I immediately went to the life section of the elementary section since we were studying reptiles and amphibians.
There weren’t any titles listed that specifically mentioned reptiles and amphibians so I utilized the search option. This is where I found the Amazing Amphibians and Reptiles video and teacher guide. At the time of this review, the entirety of this particular lesson was no longer available when I visited the site to replay it. I am not sure if the company has decided to no longer include it or if they are updating it.
The girls and I enjoyed the information that was shared in the digital format. The speaker spoke in a clear, easy to understand manner. The video and pictures were clear and streamed without buffering. While using the program, we learned the scientific orders for both amphibians and reptiles. We were able to see the animals in their habitats without leaving our home which wouldn’t have been possible with all of the snow and because some of the animals are not always easy to find. This was a nice complement to our book work.
I decided after we completed the amphibian and reptile unit that we would also do a weather unit so that I would have better insight of the program. The unit I chose for us to complete was the Weather Around Us unit. The ability to access this science program and material worked well for us as we transitioned into our new home. I didn't have to worry about finding our books since everything is online.
The vocabulary section of this unit was one of my favorite parts of this curriculum. Both girls had a vocabulary sheet to go along with the lesson. The girls completed the vocabulary sheet as we watched the video. When new words are introduced, the word shows up on the screen while the speaker shares the meaning of this new word. Since we have learned about weather in the past it was nice for the girls to hear information that they already knew in a different way.
Overall, we have enjoyed Visual Learning Systems .The videos were informative and enjoyable to watch. The girls enjoyed sharing what they learned at the end of the video by completing the video quiz orally. This online program is pretty straightforward and simple to navigate. We used the program on our desktop PC. In order to utilize the online program, you must have internet access. Although the program may have been created for schools, I found that it worked well in our home school. Visual Learning Systems also offers special pricing for home school families. Our subscription is for one year, and I am certain that we will continue to use this program to complement our current science curriculum.
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