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TOS Crew Review — Science Weekly

April 8th, 2011

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Need a little science in your week?

Hands on science is often a favorite subject for students. Since they could talk they learned to ask, “Why?” I am always on the lookout for products that will keep my kids learning about the world around them, encourage their curiosity, and keep their hands busy. Science Weekly works to do all of those things.

Product: Science Weekly

Details: A publication geared toward students K-6 that offers a close up look at various science related topics. Each subscription comes with 15 issues (4 page booklet) over the course of the school year and has 6 different levels available to target your child’s specific age.

Price: $19.95 per student per year or if you order 20 or more only $4.95 per student (so, if you are getting more than 5, you are better off with the group discount — they do not all have to be from the same level)

What we loved . . .

  • Built for multi-level learning. The little magazine comes in different levels from Kindergarten through 5th/6th grade. If you have a few kids at different levels, you can still learn together, while they each have their own paper at their grade level. The teacher’s guide covers all levels.
  • Variety of activities. Each sheet comes with articles to read, puzzles to complete, and activities to work on to reinforce the information presented. Most of them could probably be completed in 30 minutes or so for the entire level. There was some interesting information and activities, but nothing too complicated.
  • Easy to use. This was easy filler material as my kids could for the most part read and interact with it on their own. We did some of the activities together to discuss the material also.
  • Volume discount. While the individual subscriptions are a bit pricey, the group rate is pretty reasonable. So, find another family or two if you are considering this — ask around your co-op or support group and get the classroom rate rather than the individual rate.

Some considerations . . .

  • Teacher’s guide only comes with 25 subscriptions. So, if you are ordering fewer than that it doesn’t seem that you have an option to get the guide.  The guide is only a four page booklet covering all of the levels, but has answers to the questions, activity ideas and tips on the weekly labs. It also helps you by offering some questions to initiate conversation on the topic and to follow up the activities to check learning and retention. You could still teach the material without it, but it would not have as much meat to it.
  • Younger levels seem too basic. Maybe I’m just used to pulling my kindergartener and first grader in with everybody else, but pretty much all they got out of their papers were how long to wash their hands. The upper levels talked in more detail about viruses and vaccines and contamination and other more detailed topics.
  • Tries to cover lots of subjects. Trying to integrate other material, I think they end up short changing the depth of the science presented. They have kids practice writing tally marks and riddles; space that would be better used learning more about science topics. They showed cells and talked about how long they live in different surfaces, but it seemed confusing to me. They said that the flu only lives a few minutes on skin and yet they emphasize handwashing for 30 seconds. However, if it’s more than three minutes since we were in contact with someone with the flu, aren’t those cells already dead? Maybe they should have emphasized the importance of not touching your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth as much as they emphasized hand washing.

Science Weekly has a good idea — to bring science easily and naturally into the child’s world. I don’t know if they really deliver. The topic is introduced, but not really covered. It could be helpful to those looking for additional at level reading material and want something fresh delivered to their home every couple weeks during the school year.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Science Weekly as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.



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