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Aha!Science

By Sally Finley - Posted Jul 1, 2009
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Company: Learning.com, 1620 S.W. Taylor St., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97205. Phone: (800) 580-4640; Internet: www.learning.com.

Price: Annual building-based subscriptions are priced at $1,500 (for as many as 250 students), $2,000 (for 251–500 students), and $2,500 (for more than 500 students). Subscriptions run from July 1 to June 30.

Audience: Grades 3–5.

Format: Web-based: text, graphics, animation, narration.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with an internet connection, 64MB RAM, and Windows 98/2000/XP or Mac OS X. Speakers or headphones are required.

Also needed is an internet browser with JavaScript (Internet Explorer 6.0 for Windows, Safari 2.0 for Mac, and Mozilla Firefox 1.0 for all systems), Adobe Flash Player version 7.0, and Adobe Reader version 7.0.

A "Check Your Computer" feature detects computer compatibility settings.

Description: Aha!Science is a supplemental program of instruction, lessons, games, simulations, journaling, activities, and quizzes for grades 3–5 focusing on life science, Earth and space science, and physical science. The content is aligned to national and state science standards.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: The online access is straightforward and easily available. A username, password, and district name is required for login. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: The program’s instructional modules provide instruction by introducing a concept and then breaking it down into smaller components. Four-minute lessons target key science concepts and explore topics in greater depth. A narrator delivers instruction, states the learning objectives, and provides immediate feedback for answers to quizzes.

The Life Science content includes modules titled Environments, Life on Earth, the Human Body, and Plant and Animal Biology.

The Earth and Space Science segments include Astronomy, Earth Systems and Cycles, Geology and Landforms, Solar System, Weather and Meteorology, Natural Resources, Oceanography, Earth’s Water Supply, and the History of Life on Earth.

The Physical Science modules include Force: Pushes and Pulls, States of Matter, Introduction to Simple Machines, Electricity, Types of Energy, Light Energy, Magnetism, States of Matter, Introduction to Sound, Chemistry and Matter, Energy From the Sun and Other Sources, and Electromagnetic Spectrum.

A games component provides formative feedback and requires students to use problem-solving and process/content standards. The leveled play increases with difficulty. Data is saved for reporting purposes.

Simulations offer virtual science experiments that illustrate concepts, integrate processes, and permit application activities. A Journal feature provides prompts for students to demonstrate their understanding of the studied concepts.

Quizzes record student mastery of concepts through a self-checking option. Answers can be reviewed.

Activities are available as printable PDF files with experiments, projects, and teacher-led exploration. Extension activities also are provided. A My Curriculum feature enables teachers to integrate their own lesson plans with the Aha!Science curriculum.

A Whiteboard Edition provides full access to all of the program’s instruction modules, games, and quizzes. The customized training covers the basic setup, as well as implementation and strategies using the whiteboard.

Classroom Applications: Aha!Science can be used with a whole class, in small groups, and with individual students. The activities and quizzes can be used with extended-day, intervention, and enrichment programs.

The colorful animations with narration provide the necessary information related to the studied topics. I like the options that enable students to practice their skills. These options include simulations, games, journaling, and other activities that provide informative and relevant instruction.

Teachers will like the program’s ease of use as well as the ability to interact with their students. The opportunity to pause the program allows time for discussion and the elaboration necessary for a teacher to personalize instruction.

Educators also will like the self-correcting assessment that provides immediate feedback to the learners. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: The simple design of the homepage makes it easy to use this program. A menu bar provides straightforward access to all of the program features. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Product support is available via a toll-free telephone number and online email inks. The online support guides include Bandwidth Considerations, a Learning.com Technical Troubleshooting Guide, EasyTech Quick Start Guide, and EasyTech User Guide. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Aha!Science provides busy teachers with an online resource that presents information in an engaging and fun way for children to learn science concepts. I have no doubt that using Aha!Science will get students excited to learn about science. The content is engaging and is presented in a simple-to-use and colorful format.

With more teachers having access to whiteboards in their classrooms, this is a great product that can supplement science instruction and provide a rich variety of experiences for the intermediate student.

This is a great online resource that can help in providing a differentiated curriculum. I highly recommend Aha!Science. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Sally Finley, Educational Consultant, Coral Springs, FL.


 
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