Rainforest Journey is a super awesome online science program filled with gorgeous images of the rainforest and engaging text that teaches life sciences to kids in grades K-5.
It’s basically a dream come true for Artist, who had already told me that for her 9th Birthday this summer she wants a rainforest themed party. Seriously, the morning she and Boo got to log in and begin the curriculum there was so much squealing for joy you’d have thought I told them we were going to Six Flags.
In case you’re curious, EdTechLens customer service rocks socks! Since Artist and Boo were SOOO excited to start, I went to set up my account the second I got my e-mail telling me what to do…but here’s the thing, I hadn’t had my coffee yet so I totally flubbed it. I should have expected this to happen seeing as how I KNOW that I don’t function without coffee, but whatever. Anyhoo, I sent an email explaining my mistake and received an immediate reply kindly helping my rectify the situation! Yay! 😀
As soon as I got all the things fixed and my girls were able to log in, they were both immediately hooked! For a couple hours all I heard was, “Oooooh! Look at this awesome tiger!” “Hey Mom! Did you know there’s a plant called a corpse flower that only blooms once every 7-10 years?!?” And most commonly, “Look at this cool picture, Mom!” followed by cackling, because it was a picture of a snake, and my girls know I hate snakes, so apparently making me look at pictures of them is the most hilarious thing ever. 😉
Eventually Boo lost interest, but Artist literally had to be dragged away from her computer for meals. The one downside to her zeal was that she devoured almost the entirety of the content in one week. But good gravy she’s learned SO much!
I actually have her doing the 5th grade curriculum because she’d already learned quite a bit about animals of the rainforest on her own. (She told me once, “Look, Mom, I can type “ocelot” in the google search bar and find out more about them!” Oy to the vey, when did she learn how to search for stuff? Time to look into internet security.)
I was happily surprised by the extent to which she was introduced to concepts we hadn’t even touched on yet, like genes.
At the end of every unit, students are given three forms of assessment. The first is a “Depth of Knowledge” quiz that involves questions such as, “Which of these organisms would be considered a producer?” and gives four pictures to choose from. Next is the “Open Ended Assessment” that asks questions like, “What is camouflage and how is it useful?” (To which Artist replied, “Camouflage is how an animal blends in with its habitat and it is useful because animals can hide from predators and prey.” I totally had a Proud Mommy moment!) And finally there’s a “Factual Assessment” which is a multiple choice quiz.
In the unit on adaptation that included a chapter on genetics, Artist was asked, “What is the structure that carries information about what an organism will look like?” and was given the choice of a gene, a carnivore, a setae, or a cell (she correctly chose gene). 😀
Now, I have NO idea how the curriculum compares to other 5th grade science, since we’re mostly doing 3rd grade stuff for Artist, but I was really impressed with how much it taught her, and equally impressed that it taught in a way that she was able to actually grasp, while having such an awesome time that doing anything else, even playing out in the backyard or eating dinner couldn’t hold a candle to continuing to learn! 😀
She’s now completed all of the units, and 44% of the additional resources — interviews with scientists, trip journals from a mother-son photo/video team’s trip to the rainforest, and video clips.
There are also activities I can do with her, such as one on seasonal changes that explores the tilt of the Earth’s axis and involves creating a model of the earth with a foam ball and dowel rod…which I doubt we’ll ever do because I don’t have the materials. The kindergarten version of the activity for the unit involves going outside to see how the temperature changes in the sun and the shade, trying to make a bug out of clay that’s been in the freezer and clay that sat under a lamp, and other fun, simple activities exploring hot and cold and the sun’s role in warming the earth. I think both girls would have fun with it, and it’s definitely on my to-do list…once life is a little less crazy around here. 😉
I love that Rainforest Journey teaches the same concepts in all the grades, just at different levels of complexity. Thus Artist and Boo can talk together about what they’re learning, and as soon as I have the energy we can do activities that will be relevant for them both.
Boo isn’t quite as crazy about the curriculum, though she does enjoy it, so she’s taking her time. She’s currently completed 45% of the material, which is a bit more on par with the year long subscription. I’m currently having her skip most of the assessments because while most of the text in the lessons include an image of a speaker she can click listen to the passage, the assessments do not, which means I’d have to read the quizzes to her, and my plate is too full to do that right now. She also has lesson reviews at the end of each lesson that I’m having her skip for the same reason. (I’m not having Artist do her lesson reviews either because they’re the one part of the curriculum that feels like busy work.)
All in all, we absolutely LOVE Rainforest Journey!
Artist sometimes gets really enthusiastic about a particular subject and hyper-focuses on it for awhile, but I’ve never seen her as completely enthralled with anything as she’s been with this! She and Boo are both super impressed with how awesome the pictures and videos are, and have been having a blast telling me random facts they’ve learned. 😀
A bunch of my fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew members also checked out Rainforest Journey and shared their thoughts, so be sure to check out what they have to say!
If you decide to try out Rainforest Journey, I hope you love it as much as we do! 🙂
For those of you who don’t know, and are wondering why I said my plate is so full right now that I couldn’t do a number of the things, I literally just had a baby! Our fourth precious little girl, Apple. Be sure to check my Facebook page if you want to know how she’s doing, as that’s the easiest way for me to share with you guys (I wrote this post a bit before the day of the scheduled c-section, and set it to publish today).