Review: Surfing the Net Science
The Critical Thinking Co. has released a great book called Surfing the Net Science. They sent us the full color, 250 page workbook to review with Super D.
Computers are everywhere these days and our kids are using them at younger and younger ages! I remember getting a giant desktop computer when I was in high school. We had one for the entire family to use! Do you remember those days of dialing in to AOL? Now, Super D already has his own (a hand-me-down from his dad), that he plays Minecraft on. He doesn’t do much on it yet besides play Minecraft, so I was excited to check out this resource, designed to help kids learn to search the Internet.
I’m used to scanning search results quickly when I google something, (don’t you love how “google” is a verb now?), so it was really interesting to watch Super D carefully read each word in the summaries. His only experience prior to this with looking up info online has been to “Ask Siri”. This was a whole new world for him!
The book is designed for grades 3-6, and I think it’s best done with parental assistance in the beginning, if your child is not used to searching online. Super D was fascinated by the topics, and so it was a great book to help him learn to dive into using search engines. Make sure and have your “Safe Settings” enabled in your browser, as most of the sections direct the kids to search for images related to the topic.
Topics included: Animals, Atmosphere, Ecosystem, Energy, Geology, Plants, and Space. Each topic has anywhere from 6 – 8 subtopics. For example, in Animals, subtopics included amphibians, animal cells, birds, fish, insects, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles.
Each section asks the kids to do a search online to find answers to questions using key words. That’s great practice for Super D, and reinforces what we’re working on in English right now. The kids also do searches for images, as I mentioned above, and then they are directed to various videos to watch. (These are AWESOME resources too – the video for Amphibians is from National Geographic. Another online resource for this section is a Virtual Frog Dissection game. How cool is that!!?
I feel like this book would work for a standalone science curriculum for a year. It asks great questions, and directs the kids to great videos. I do think it is for slightly older kids than an early 3rd grader, as some of the material is challenging!
Here’s an example of an awesome, yet challenging question. How do the survival techniques of the water-holding frog differ from a human’s in a desert environment? Use the Venn diagram to record your findings. Then it gives a drawing of a Venn diagram, prelabeled with Water-Holding Frog, Both, and Human. AWESOME question, but over my Super D’s head at the moment. We haven’t done much science outside of CC though, so it might be great for kids who have been doing a science curriculum all along. The Critical Thinking Co. does recommend using these worksheets as a culminating project for the younger grades, and as an introduction to the topic for the older grades.
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