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We happen to love science in our household. A long time ago we learned that science encourages us to ask questions that cross a wide spectrum of study. CrossWired Science proved encourage the same type of questions. Walk with us through this question inducing science program with two main courses of study: Fluid Dynamics and Sound.
What I am Reviewing
Who is CrossWired?
CrossWired Science (CWS) showcases a desire by the creators to share science with families and their children. Faith is central to how they put their online science program together. They want to help young people cement their knowledge of science and of how God fits into the bigger picture of it.
Through the use of scripture and the work of other individuals, they want to help youth understand the connection of God the creator and the bible.
What CWS intends to build is a science program that is put together as distinct projects. So far they have given us sound and fluid dynamics. They intend to give us additional projects as well.
The Finer Details:
As we were using CrossWired Science it was fairly evident that it was still a work in progress. It was fascinating to see the responsiveness of the creators with aspects that we liked, or would rather see modified. That is one of the joys of being Beta testers… seeing changes happen right before our eyes!
For instance, my son kept asking “In what order am I supposed to do things?” The response of the CWS crew? A calendar! The general goal is for each of these global projects to take a month to complete.
You can see the care they have for their students in the very fact that they don’t insist that there is only one way to work through their projects. They provide additional calendars such as this 1.5 month option.
The target audience is students aged 4 to 18. My son is currently 13, he worked on Fluid Dynamics, I worked on sound. There are two tracks to use, first times and second timers. At this point in the learning process my son and I haven’t found a lot of difference between the two.
As you can see from the calendars above, they do like to encourage their students to read. This was a bit of a stickler for my lad, “Mom, I have lots to read already, why can’t I just look things up online or watch a video?” I had to agree with him. He’s a fairly busy lad .. often working on his own projects or doing extra work for his schooling or programs he is involved in. I did go the library for him when he mentioned something he wanted to learn about AND….. got him to pose for a picture!
As much as we know CWS likes to encourage it’s students to read, when it comes right down to it, my lad lives in a digital age and has embraced that concept completely. He loves the immediacy of “I’m interested in learning more about vortices, and then searching out more information online”.
And just LOOK at all the options he has for learning! All these things to stimulate questions being asked and then answers being looked up.
Videos make up a big portion of each project, followed by worksheets (for each video), experiments, digging deeper, a choice of research projects, and more. They even suggest field trips you can do! I will mention some of the sections individually below.
They encourage students to share what field trips they go on so they can build a data-base of ideas for all the students to work from.
These are an important part of CWS. You watch the videos, and then answer a worksheet. You can either print them off or answer them online. There are the links they put together as well as (under General Links) links to helpful youtube videos. Below is one of them.
As you can see they provide a lot of options for experiments. The experiments open up in PDF files. We found that each experiment page contained links for additional research as well as more than one experiment you could do. All those additional links we loved. They spawned additional research by the lad and myself.
The information on vortices led my lad down the path of airplanes which coincided nicely with our research on the airplanes of WW1. I decided with the shark video to learn more about dogfish sharks. The experiments did what was intended, helping us to dig deeper into the project. 🙂
I have to admit, we struggled with some of the experiments in that they didn’t give clear instructions on how to complete it. For instance, what are the ingredients for making a cornstarch oobleck?
Encouragement to see science in a bunch of different ways. Who would have thought that a study of Fluid Dynamics would lead me to watching a video on a shark dissection?
These are longer study which led from one point to the next. Designed in such a way that older students could help younger ones. You can go indepth, or just touch the surface.
Each section when clicked leads directly to the named section, which is great for the point of convenience if you remember what letter you stop at. It’s a fairly long section so rather than complete it in one day, my lad divided it over three. Some of the information he knew already, but much he didn’t. He enjoyed this study on bones.
Thoughts and Recommendations
My intention was to keep pace with the lad as he went through his course. I um.. didn’t. I got distracted by spring weather and gardening! I absolutely love that I am not committed to following one project through before checking out the other project. I started with Fluid Dynamics just like the lad, but then he asked if I could do the other project so he knows what to look forward to.
His intention is to complete both projects, at his own schedule. He loves having the calendar to follow but doesn’t want to do as much in day as it asks him to do. It’s no mattering to me how long it takes him to complete it as I know he will get through it.
He has made some comments to me about how some of the videos aren’t very in-depth and seem for a lower grade level, they often have music playing the background which for him is distracting, and he wants to see more professionalism in them. All that said, after working through the course over these past three weeks he is commenting on how much he is learning and his freedom to follow rabbit trails.
YES. My recommendation (and my son’s) is that you go out and get it. Their end goal is to have 25-30 projects by the time they are finished.
Their projects will encourage your children to ask questions, their experiments are set up so you don’t have to do ones you’d rather not, and the videos are easy to watch and build leads off of. It’s a solid science program that will help you connect God with creation and all that he has done BUT if you aren’t a person of faith, you can easily incorporate the science into your studies without feeling overly influenced. A solidly good program that is well on it’s way to becoming a stellar one. Creators who care about the people using it… CrossWired Science, it’s a win-win. 🙂
I strongly urge you to check out all the other reviews. There are 80 of by the crew. You can find them here or by clicking the image above.