Friday, October 8, 2010

Rocking Robots

Recently, I signed up to be on the review team for Download N Go, and I am just so excited about that! It is so easy to talk about a product that you love! Download N Go offers complete and affordable unit studies, each of these written by Amanda Bennett, who has teamed up with The Old Schoolhouse to "create a brand new kind of product where the elements of unit study learning were merged with the hands-on learning and fun of creating lapbooks." There are so many units to pick from, it is hard to decide which one to start with! But, at such an affordable price of $7.95, you can pick several!!! I am THRILLED to be able to review our first unit, Rocking Robots!

I started out by downloading the unit, and I printed off the pages that I wanted to use. One thing I really like about this product is the fact that it is written for multi-level teaching. Since I have 3 kiddos that are learning right now, and they are different ages, it is very hard sometimes to find lessons that we can all do together. But all of the DNG units have components for each age level, so, while Britches and Little Man are writing about something, Little Sister is coloring a related page or something else on her level. And on the flip side of that, the lessons aren't only on Little Sister's level so that my oldest ones get bored.

The next thing I did was to visit my local library. Download N Go has a great book list to go along with this unit. All I had to do was go find the books and check them out. There were several books that were listed that were not at my library. But not to worry! My library WAS filled with many other robot books that made perfectly acceptable replacements. (So, if you can't find some of the books listed, don't worry about it! Just see what other great books you can find on the subject!) 

I went ahead and cut out all the lapbook components and glued them in, because, if I try to make them do all of the cutting and gluing themselves, we would never get finished! Plus, when we were ready to start our lesson, they were very excited to look through their books to see all the cool things we would be learning this week.

I loved the ease of working with this unit study. The printables are all there ready to print. My kids filled in the info as we read and learned. Also, there were LOTS of video links that took me right where I needed to be to watch a video of what we were learning for a particular day. I didn't have to spend lots of my time searching the web to find an appropriate video. That right there saved me so much time! And my time right now is so very limited! I am always thankful when I can save time on something!

There were several assignments for the kids to design and build their own robots. Considering the fact that Little Man LOVES designing, this was right up his alley! He spent hours building new creations! AND, what's even better, it inspired him to pull out an electricity kit that I bought for him a few years ago. He said he needed to learn a little more about electricity, so he could build a real, working robot. He spent hours working on that electricity kit, and even has designs drawn to turn his room into a science lab! I just LOVE when a lesson is so good that it gets them self-motivated to keep learning long after my teaching is over. LOVE IT!!

Here is a picture of Little Man's design for a desk in his room. This desk will be his "lab" to work on his electricity and robots!

Here are the designs that Britches and Little Man drew for a new robot. Britches' job is to take out the trash, so she designed a robot that would handle that job for her. And Little Man designed one that would just do everything, since he hates ALL chores! He even designed it to cook and clean up, so it would help me out! Good son!

Britches enjoyed the designing part, too, but she said her favorite part was watching the different videos! We were all really fascinated with all the robots out there that we never knew existed beyond TV!

 Here are the two oldest working in their lapbooks. 

And here is the picture Little Sister colored of her robot. This was an activity that went right along with our lesson, but was on her level. She has actually never done a color-by-number page, so this was a new thing for her. She had to concentrate on coloring according to the instructions, and she had to learn to work diligently at something until she finished. That was a little hard for her. But when she finished, she was very proud of herself!

 The only problem I had with the lesson, and this is entirely MY problem, is that I had a hard time keeping it to a week of learning! DNG is so full of really amazing things to learn, I didn't want to miss ANY of it! I could EASILY have turned this lesson into a 3 week project! And to be perfectly honest, I don't really consider that a problem, except for the fact that I was trying to stick with the 5 day schedule. I loved the fact that there was more information than I may need, so I could pick which things I wanted to teach my kids, and I didn't have to look for extra things to add to it! All that said, for the price, you are REALLY getting a good value!

 The things I love about this unit:
1. It was really easy to download and print, and I only really spent time cutting out and gluing in the templates to the lapbook.
2. It is all inclusive. I didn't have to hunt for any robot information on my own, which was a REAL time saver!
3. My kids LOVED the topic! Who wouldn't love the study of robotics?!
4. We were able to do things like writing and reading, but there were so many "hands on" activities that the kids were just having FUN! It wasn't boring!

All in all, we LOVED the week of learning! Little Man and Britches have had so much fun, they will probably have my kitchen table covered with robot making supplies for quite awhile! And Little Sister loved the fact that she was included in our "school work," because she had her own lapbook and pages to do.

Because of how hectic my schedule has become this year, we will definitely be doing more of the DNG units. I am so thankful to have found a project that lets me still do fun schooling like I want to do, but already has everything prepared for me. I love doing unit studies and lapbooking, and Download N Go is a perfect fit for our family!

Be sure to check out the Download N Go blog to read reviews from other homeschoolers!

~I received a free copy of Rocking Robots in exchange for my honest review of this product.

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“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess