Monday, November 5, 2012

Activity Bags Schoolhouse Review 2012

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       If you ask my kids what their favorite subject is, the answer will almost always be Science. When we were offered an opportunity to review Activity Bags, I did not have to think twice about which one I wanted to receive. We were sent Science Experiments In a Bag e-Books 1-3, I was extra excited for this one, as I just so happened to be teaching a "Dangerous Class for Boys" in our co-op this semester, that coincidentally included some Science experiments. I think I was way more excited than even my kids at this point,  since not only was it going to add to our fun at home, but it would help me plan exciting activities for my 13 fourth to sixth grade boys at co-op.


             So my test subjects for this review were of course ALL BOYS, my 12 and 14 year olds at home and thirteen 8-11 year olds at co-op. Yes I am just a little bit crazy, but who better for the job. Activity Bags  were a new concept to me, when the files arrived via email to download, I got to work. Each book has 25 experiments, but the books are laid out in a manner that it not only has sheets for the teacher of the experiment but gives you print off instructions for the assembly of the bags, which are 1 gallon ziplock bags. We found the zipper ones from the dollar store to work just fine. There is a list of supplies that are to be put in the bag along with the printed instructions and fill in the blank experiment sheets. Sometimes there may be some minor supplies that will be needed when the actually experiment is performed, sometimes this may be a certain piece of furniture, like a chair. Other times it may be some water or in the case of one experiment it was the hair on the kids heads to create static to complete our task.


       The instructions do tell you to print certain pages off on specific colors of paper. To cut down on cost I did not do this instead we used a binder and colored tabs. This color coded reasoning is to separate the types of experiments like Chemistry, Biology, natural Science, and general Science and Human Body. The tab dividers did just fine in our 3 ring binder separating the sections out to make it easier to group the specific type experiments together. The last printed sheet for each experiment is a set of 4 quarter sheet instructions that are to be printed and cut apart to tape to the front of each child's bag of supplies. When we did this at home we did not use the bag system, but for my co-op it made it to much easier to prepare and transport to class each week. Many of the supplies are things we already had on hand, some I had to go get but found majority of them at the dollar store.


    Science Experiments In a Bag e-Book 1 is packed with 25 experiments focusing on the topics of Biology, Nature and General Science.  Science Experiments In a Bag e-Book 2  is adding to the fun with 25 more experiments that explore Chemistry, Human Body and General Science. Science Experiments In a Bag e-Book 3 is exploding with yet another 25 experiments dealing in just Chemistry. The kids seemed to like the Chemistry experiments the best, the favorites were the diet cola and mentos experiment and the inflating balloon with baking soda and vinegar with a water bottle. We also did Geodesic Design from E-book 1 using toothpicks and mini marshmallows this was fun to see how the kids designed their structures and of course they ate a few marshmallows in the process. This coming week we will be doing Static Roller with a balloon  and a pop can and their hair. I cannot wait to see how much fun they have with this one. You can see a sample of  e-book 1 by visiting the web page.

   There is mention in the books of doing bag swaps and I think this would be a great Moms Night Out event for our co-op to have. The idea being everyone picks an experiment or more than one if wanted and they assemble enough for everyone's kids in the group of that particular experiment they chose. Then at the end of the swap you go home with a wide variety of bags, enough for each of your kids. So if there are 25 moms and they all pick 2 bags to assemble, you would go home with 50 experiment bags for your kids to enjoy. I have participated in other types of swaps before and it is so much easier to repetitively assemble a baggie with the same ingredients over and over, then to assemble all of the different types yourself. There are more detailed directions for organizing a swap on the website.

    If your kids love hands on manipulative Science then this is a must have for your curriculum library, geared to ages K-8 grade, but even my 9th grader is enjoying these. There are other Activity Bag options for your younger than K crowd as well.  You can purchase each Science In a Bag e-book for $15 or as a bundle price you can get the 3 e-book set for $39.00. Activity bags also offers additional bundle deals and other titles in their Activity Bags series, so be sure to check them all out on their website http://www.activitybags.com/


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1 thoughts shared:

Sherri MacLean said...


Thank you so much for the wonderful review of the Activities in a Bag products. Would it be okay if I used some of your pictures on our website?? I would give credit to your blog of course, but wanted to ask first.

Thanks again,

Sherri MacLean