I am pleased to announce that my search for an upper elementary school/middle school physics program is over. The winner of this long and frustrating competition is Science Jim's program, Bite-Size Physics.
He's taken high school physics and made is accessible to elementary aged children. Some of the lessons contain math, but those are optional. Leaving the math lessons out does not detract from the program.
So why am I in love with this program?
Each lesson is written up in a friendly, easy to use format. I don't have to search through the net and the library for supporting information. What you see, is what you need. Each concept is backed up by easy to do, fool proof, experiments. You don't need specialized equipment.
As an example, in the first chapter, he explains what the scientific method is and then he has the children do experiments to practice the essential five steps of the scientific method. My kids think his mnemonic is hilarious - "Orange Hippos Take Classes Regularly". The first experiment is titled, "The Diabolical Diaper Dilemma". You need a disposable diaper, water, a large bowl or sink, a measuring cup and two people, to carry out this experiment. He carefully walks the students through the entire process.
His script has the children doubled over with laughter. I love that. Laughter and learning go well together. For me, the best part is that I can use the script without having to decipher it into plain English.
The second experiment is called, "Drops on a penny (A.K.A. Underwater Presidents). The goal of this experiment is to work out how many drops of water a penny can hold by using the scientific method.
After a third, fun and interesting experiment, he recaps the essential points and then there is a quiz.
Many of the experiments are supported by videos featuring Science Jim doing the experiment.
The program covers: The scientific method, mechanics, friction, energy, sound, atoms, static electricity and thermal energy.
I'll keep you updated but for right now, I am as happy as a clam. This is a plug and play program that is funny, academically rigorous, and very easy to use.