Wednesday, November 11, 2015

TOS Review - The Critical Thinking Co. - Surfing the Net: Science

Have you ever wondered how children learn to research topics, especially on the Internet? For some children this comes very naturally, and for others it might be a bit of a struggle. Which websites, articles, and answers are legit? This new product from The Critical Thinking Co.  may not have all those answers, but it does give the student lots of practice in researching on the Internet. We were asked to use and review Surfing the Net: Science through the TOS Review Crew. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like this product. The  Critical Thinking Co. puts out award winning products all the time, so really I shouldn't be surprised at all.
Surfing The Net: Science is 250 pages chockfull of learning. We received a physical softcover edition to review. This product is recommended for grades 3-6 and retails for $24.99. For what you get this is a very economical find. The book has 7 sections of science topics. The beginning of the workbook contains information related to how to use the book and the answers to all the questions can be found at the end of the book. Each section has smaller sub-sections that are sub-topics related to the main theme of the section. So far we have finished all of the Space section and about half of the Animal section. Topics included in the book are: Animals, Atmosphere, Ecosystems, and Habitats, Energy, Geology, Plants, and Space. I choose the first topic, Space, but soon learned the kids had other plans. I wrote all the other science topics on the board and let them vote on the next section we would use. Surprise, Surprise - it was Animals. What kid doesn't enjoy learning about animals. Then we obviously had a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. So in other words we have the remainder of the year planned out as to which section of the book will be next. This should clue you in to the fact that I do really like this product and plan on continuing with it until the end of the school year.
Each science topic has specific links to articles, games, videos, etc. that have been researched to be valid and child friendly sites to find the information needed to answer all the questions. The worksheet pages are in color, and leave plenty of room for writing. In other words, very pleasing to the eye. I used this product with four tutoring students 3-5 days a week. This meant we were usually able to finish one sub-section a week and sometimes start on a second. I would say that three out of the four enjoy using this product. Surfing the Net: Science is the perfect product to teach students how to find information on the Internet. I really love that I can copy the worksheets and use them with multiple students.
Yesterday the kids where researching images of an animal cell which they needed to draw and label for a question in the packet.

My students used smart phones, pads, kindles, and computers for this workbook.
We were blessed to review another product from The Critical Thinking Co. last year and we have never been disappointed with the quality of their materials. Literally you can find over 150 books and other educational materials on the website to purchase. I would recommend this company to any type of homeschooler. The materials they produce can be worked in to any type of educating method. This product could be used as a complete science curriculum. All you would need to do is use all the topics as jumping off points, kind of like Unit Studies, then add and build as much as you wanted from other areas. Please go to The Critical Thinking Co. and check out all the wonderful products they have to offer. Also take time to read some of the other reviews from the TOS Review Crew.
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