Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2014
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Mr D's Science Club

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TEKS-aligned hands-on experiments require teacher prep, follow-up

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Science
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3-8
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Pros: Experiments are fun and include videos, a procedure and materials list, and teacher tips.

Cons: Experiments don't include student informational handouts, analysis questions, or assessments.

Bottom Line: This tool is useful for trying some experiments, but teachers will have to do a lot of prep and follow-up.

Use Mr. D's Science Club as a way to bring the scientific process into the classroom. Choose one of the experiments and prepare the materials ahead of time. Before kids do an experiment in small groups, discuss the procedures and such important concepts as independent variable, dependent variable, and controls. If possible, have kids predict what will happen, and then follow up with some questions to help them analyze the results.    

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Kids can choose from four experiments that address a variety of science topics. Each includes an introductory video, printable Teacher Tips, and a printable Steps and Materials student handout. In the Fingerprints experiment, kids make fingerprints, compare patterns, and learn the importance of fingerprinting in solving crimes. In Creating Craters, they explore Earth Science, using common household items to model the formation of craters. Kids explore chemical reactions in the Bouncing Ball experiment, mixing materials together to produce a new material that bounces. And in Straw Sounds, they explore properties of sounds using straws of various sizes. 

Note that only four experiments are part of the free app; additional experiments must be purchased.

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Mr. D's Science Club offers four excellent hands-on experiments for kids. The videos do a decent job of explaining the science, so kids will learn some things before even trying the experiments. The app could truly inspire kids to become immersed in science, but a lot of work must be done for them to fully benefit from the experiments. Older kids or adults must gather and set up the materials, and supervise the work. Teachers will need to develop questions for kids to answer about the experiments and their results. Overall, this science tool provides some good ideas to get started, but additional preparation and follow-up are required. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The video narrator is entertaining to watch, and kids will likely find the hands-on experiments engaging. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Experiments are well-designed and age-appropriate. Analysis questions could improve the learning experience.  

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Each experiment includes a video and printable handouts with teacher tips, a materials list, and step-by-step procedures.


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