Friday, April 8, 2011

TOS Review - Science Weekly

We recently had the opportunity to review one of Science Weekly's science packets as part of the TOS Crew. The packet we received was on Fractions. We received 6 levels, Pre-A (Kindergarten) - Level E (Grades 5-6)

Each level is printed in a news letter format with colorful graphics and words. The levels are layed out in a similar fashion, each  containing the following:

  • Introduction to the concept
  • Vocabulary words
  • Lab - some type of hands on project
  • Math - problems include story problems
  • Challenge exercise
  • Bringing it home exercise - something for the student to do at home that reenforces the concept learned
Along with the six levels we also received Teaching Notes, which is designed to help you, the teacher, with the lesson being taught. It gives additional hands-on activities to help extend the lessons for each level as well as the answers to the problems in the student pages.

 The topics covered are varied. Here's a list of topics for this school year:

There are two pricing options for ordering Science Weekly.
  • Classroom rate - 15 issues for $4.95 per student per year (min. order of 20 subscriptions. You can mix levels)
  • Individual rate - 15 issues for $19.95 per student per year (less than 20 subscriptions)
You can check out a sample of their Sports edition by going to the order form and clicking on the PDF sample located at the end of each Level's line.

I had five of my six (the 2 year old got off easy for this review ;) ) use the appropriate level for their age group for this review.
  • My K aged student got help from his big sister and enjoyed the cutting activities and writing his numbers. Whether he got the concept of fractions is still up in the air. I'll continue to work with him using real life opportunities (read - food! haha) for dividing things up and showing how the separate parts make up the whole.
  • My 2nd grader got the bonus prize and did levels A and B. When asked what he thought of them he said, "I loved it!" 
  • My 4th grader worked on level C and struggled the most. She didn't get what they were asking her to do on one part, so I helped her through some of the pages. Her opinion on the pages, "Eh." 
  • My 6th grader worked on level D and found the work to be "ok".
  • My 7th grader worked on level E pages and said she "liked it, sort of."
My opinion?  Maybe it was the topic ~ Fractions, my kids, or a combination of both, but I didn't find these to be all that exciting or engaging. They are basically worksheets with some extra stuff thrown in. I could see these working great in a classroom setting where you need a large number of kids to be working on the same subject at the same time. For our home, we're not big worksheet users, so they amounted to busy work with very little "meat" behind them.  I would like to see if another topic might spark more interest and will probably check out their samples, but for the product we received I would have to say it was not something we would be purchasing on our own.  If your family enjoys worksheets, I'd recommend checking out the free samples before ordering, to make sure this is something you will use and enjoy.

To see what others on the TOS Crew thought of their issues of Science Weekly, click here.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it.  I received no other compensation for this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions.

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