by Deborah Newton

SUBJECT AREA: Earth Science

FORMAT: Videodisc

PUBLISHER: Tom Snyder Productions®

COST: $249.95


HARDWARE: Videodisc player, large monitor, and remote control or barcode reader.

EDUCATIONAL GOAL: To explore basic science concepts while providing an opportunity to discover that science is real, meaningful, and part of everyday life, not just confined to laboratories and test tubes.

DESCRIPTION: Pip & Zena's Science Voyage, designed to be used for whole group instruction, tells the story of a young girl, Pip, and her adventures with her Grandpa and his boat, Zena. From the very beginning this tale engages students in the dynamics of their relationship while introducing a variety of science concepts. Offshoots, incorporating diagrams, maps, and video presentations, are provided to explain these concepts. As new science concepts present themselves in the story viewers are given the chance to view the offshoot at that time or to continue the story.
As captain of Zena, Pip's grandfather maintains a Captain's Log and presents Zena with one of her own at the end of the story. The videodisc kit, available in both English or Spanish versions, includes 30 Captain's Logs for the teacher to give to the students. Captain's Logs contain creative activities that correspond to the twelve offshoot lessons.

STRENGTHS: This delightful story is well suited for the targeted grade levels. The offshoots effectively present an array of scientific concepts, and playing and replaying the desired offchutes is effortless using the barcodes provided. Learning is supported by the activities in the Captain's Logs and the additional activities suggested in the Teacher's Guide. Especially noteworthy is the inclusion of World Wide Web (WWW) sites which can be explored to support and/or extend each of the lessons.

WEAKNESSES: No weaknesses are noted about this videodisc kit. It is unfortunate that it is only available to those with access to a videodisc player.

SUMMARY: Pip & Zena's Science Voyage is an excellent tool to introduce students to such concepts as day and night, seasons, weather, and the sun and stars. The videodisc explains the science students see in their everyday life. Lessons which incorporate the supporting materials provided reinforce learning while providing opportunities for creative expression.
Deborah Newton is a graduate student in the Department of Special Education at Trenton State College.

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