‘Supercharged Science’ {A Review}

Supercharged Science

Supercharged Science is the creation of Aurora Lipper – rocket scientist and inventor, former NASA employee, mechanical engineering graduate, licensed pilot, and outstanding and gifted teacher.  Aurora brings her wealth of experience and expertise, and a love and enthusiasm towards real, hands-on science, into an online learning program designed to give children the start in science we wished we’d all had.

Science is one of those subjects that many of us homeschoolers feel unprepared and ill-equipped to teach.  ‘Supercharged Science’ has an e-science program that gives you access to over 900 activities, projects and experiments for Grades K-12, and contains everything that you will need in a science program to be assured that your child is equipped for college and beyond.

Supercharged Science review

What Supercharged Science Contains

The lessons on the easy-to-navigate website are organised by topic, and also by grade levels.  You can start with the program according to the grade levels, and then if your child is interested in a particular topic, you can search by topic if you’d like to focus on a certain area.  There is also a really great section on keeping a science journal.

The great thing is that you can start anywhere in the program.  It’s all online, so you watch videos, do experiments, and learn about the theory behind the subject.  The experiments at the elementary level are mostly things you already have or can easily get hold of (there are full materials lists).

supercharged science review

What We Covered

We jumped straight in at the Second Grade section, in which there are 3 categories: Chemistry, Life Science, Earth Science.  Second Grade takes a look at chemical reactions, polymers, rocks and minerals, genetic traits, plant and animal life cycles, and the Earth’s resources.

Each section lists what concepts are covered, what students will be able to do at the end of the unit, and then a list of experiments to watch and do.

These are the topics we choose to complete (also to give you an idea of the scope and variety):

Chemistry

  • Laundry soap crystals – how to make crystals out of borax
  • Moon sand – learning about viscosity
  • Rubber eggs – soaking eggs or chicken bones in vinegar
  • Quick and easy density – learning about density

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Life Science

  • Tracking Traits – an introduction to genetics using Mendel’s laws
  • Family Pedigree – using pedigree analysis charts to visualize the inheritance of genotypes and phenotypes (traits).
  • Classifying Objects – a simple exercise in sorting according to various categories (we used shells)
  • The Science of Broccoli – a simple experiment on chlorophyll.

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Earth Science

  • How much energy does the sun produce?
  • Can Water Be Heated With Composting Plant Material?
  • Do plants store energy?
  • Rock candy crystals – making a supersaturated solid solution to make crystals
  • Luster – looking at how minerals reflect light (we also looked at the other units on rocks and minerals)

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How We Used It

My daughter and I watched the videos of experiments together to start with.  The material was in fairly straight-forward language and eventually she did this part herself as well as watching the videos.

Most lessons had a video demonstrating the experiment, with student notes to download containing the lesson and some questions.  Doing the experiment first meant that my daughter had some excitement about learning, so reading the notes (which weren’t like reading a textbook in case you were wondering) was not a great effort at all.

After completing a few lessons, we did find that some of the content (eg. genetics) was relatively hard for my advanced 8 year old.  I think this was partly due to the immersion approach to science that we have taken for the last few years, which has meant we have learned some areas of science very well, and others none at all.

SCS collageI decided to do ‘Unit Zero: Overview’ to give us a better foundation to build on.  In this section, Aurora explains 18 key scientific principles, and suggests starting a science journal.  If you find yourself in a similar position, you might consider looking through the earlier grade levels, or searching by topic, and finding a starting place that suits your child’s current level.

My Thoughts

We love the immersion science we currently do.  But the great thing about ‘Supercharged Science’ was that it was flexible enough for us to continue with our current study and it added a whole other dimension of learning that we’d been missing.   I discovered that we do in fact have some gaps in knowledge, and also in the hands-on aspect which is really what makes science enjoyable and memorable at this age.

No matter what your homeschooling method, I believe ‘Supercharged Science’ is flexible enough to use in your homeschool in a number of ways.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • As a complete science curriculum for every level of your homeschool.  It more than covers minimum standards both in its content and in its delivery.
  • As a bridge between your current ‘immersion’ science programs (where you may chose to focus on one aspect of science year-long).  You could take a 6-12 week break from your immersion science, and use ‘Supercharged Science’ to cover some completely different subject areas, and widen your child’s awareness and knowledge areas.
  • As complementary to your current program – there are so many experiments and activities that you will find something that supports your existing science program, should you wish to keep with it.  Aurora has put together a helpful conversion list.
  • In addition to your current program – you could incorporate ‘Supercharged Science’ perhaps 4 times a week, at half an hour each day, and perhaps do 2 of the 4 accompanying experiments.

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We found the video’s that featured Aurora (which were most of them) were so much better than those that weren’t.  Her teaching style is engaging, and her love for science and enthusiasm is contagious.

The few that didn’t feature her (instead a more generic clip), we sometimes found a tad dull or harder to follow.  I would love to see some of these video’s updated, so they are always directly linked to the site content, and not just a video that has related content (eg. the family pedigree video was about crossing plants).  The best thing about Supercharged Science is Aurora herself, who makes science accessible and exciting to learn.

Getting Started with ‘Supercharged Science’

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‘Supercharged Science’ is subscription-based and priced as follows:

  • $37/month for levels K-8
  • $57/month for levels K-12
  • Benefits include:
    • One price gives access for your whole family
    • Access to over 900 science activities, experiments and projects
    • Access to thousands of pages of lesson plans, data lab sheets, quizzes, exercises, and reading material.
    • Unlimited online support – you can ask your questions directly to Aurora
    • A live science class in difference science areas every few weeks
    • Parent resources
    • All videos are iPad/iPhone compatible

To learn more, visit Supercharged Science.  You may like to get instant access to a free copy of the ‘Science Activity Video Series and Guidebook’ or take advantage of full access to a month’s trial of the e-science curriculum for just $1 (limited time offer).

This is science that I wish I’d been taught in school.  It reassured me that homeschooling doesn’t mean that we miss out on all the fun science stuff, and it doesn’t mean I have to go back to school myself to teach my children!  A surprisingly perfect fit for us!

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