Product Index
Curriculum Products
In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Gennie, Transitional Kindergarten Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Mystery Science is science through inquiry. They said that all you need is a laptop and a projector, which is really all the tech I have in my classroom! When you go through a lesson with this program, it starts with an interesting question, for example "How do you know which volcanoes will explode." I don't know any students who would not be instantly hooked by a question like that!
I can see myself realistically using this program weekly. It is a great option for a whole class project that doesn't need too much differentiation.

Strengths: Every aspect of this program is a strength. I love the way is it designed to engage the students through various modalities. The biggest problem this program solves is my problem of there not being enough time. In my case, I do not have a prescribed science curriculum, so all of my science lessons and activities are the result of meticulous planning (and hours on pinterest). This program seems user friendly and student friendly.

Suggestions for Improvement: I'm sorry but I don't have anything that I would change about this product beside the fact that I would add TK-1 lessons (but many of the lessons were easily adaptable to lower grades!) I guess I would like the program to be free forever, but that is wishful thinking. :)

Verdict: This is by far the most user friendly and engaging science curriculum I've seen. It incorporates inquiry, engaging visuals, hands on activities and opportunities to involve other areas of academics.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to make science interesting and to help me understand science better as a teacher too.

Strengths: I like that they incorporated parts to show the connection between experiments and science (example why is blowing into straw in cup like part of volcano eruption process). I like that they already incorporate spaces for pair-shares amongst students so teachers don't have to plan that. I also like how they have video directions to go with experiments because students can get confused otherwise with words like "tilt the cup", but not with the program. Giving us corresponding experiments with lessons id great, so we don't have to try to find matching assignments. It is currently free which is nice.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Keep it free (not just for a year so administrators do not prevent access in future due to money)
2. Nothing, everything you could possibly think about, the product includes
3. Change the name so that people realize that it is not just a cool product but a all-encompassing product that is both useful and interesting.

Verdict: It is very engaging. The videos are clear and have an assessment component so why it is quick for teachers to use it is very impactful for learning at the same time.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I love how it uses videos to introduce an activity! The students could either watch it at the beginning of a unit or midway to reinforce concepts.

They could watch the video only or do both parts.

Strengths: I can tell that the company is in tune with what teachers need. They have thought of how to make it exciting, they have matched with content standards, and they found a way to repeat the information for kids who miss it the first time.

I like how the instructions are given step by step and automatically repeat.

I also like how on the assessment answer key there are different types of answers to access level of understanding.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Content based on subject rather than just grade level. For example, physical science is studied at my school but not just for the second graders.

2. Search feature by subject rather than grade level.

3. Answer key for worksheets

Verdict: Ease of use. Just show the video. Print the papers.

Students enjoy any chance they get to watch a video.

The videos appeal to all age levels.

The activities seem fun and the directions repeat themselves and are simple to understand.

There's built in paperwork worksheets.

There's an assessment test.

Teacher, Ed Tech Rep, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, BYOD Devices
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: We are a Title 1 school that is adopting the SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language) method for teaching second language learners. This program has vivid and well constructed videos and hands on investigations that would BLEND well with this kind of instruction.

Strengths: The video is very inviting and posing science as mysteries to be solved puts students in an investigative mode. Realia isn't always feasible but the pictures and investigations are a time saving gem and easily tweaked to meet the needs of students.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Not everything has a design solution. A bank of prodding open ended questions and investigations (or more questions...) would invite creativity (detective work) and risk taking behavior. One answer, often supplants risk taking.
2.Wish I knew. Will be trying this out on Monday! Thanks for the freebie.
I'm excited to share this with my third graders and their families

Verdict: I think our ELLs would benefit from seeing, doing, and sharing these lessons. Again, I think it's a good fit for SEAL and our school (whether classes have one-to-one devices or not.

Emily, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this program to support the new science standards.

Strengths: I really like that this program is aligned to the new science standards. I like that it teaches the students through pictures, videos, experiments, and asking the kids questions. I think it is important to ask why? This program seems to promote students to ask why.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like the price to be cheaper. I am in a title 1 school and have very little funds. The experiments require products that I will have to buy on my own. If I am paying for the experiment materials out of my own pocket, I cannot afford the cost of the program as well.

I would like to see some scholarship support if possible.

It would be great if you had multiple assessment options so we could assess after a mystery and then go back and assess again after we reteach it.

Verdict: I would recommend it because it correlates with the new science standards. It has videos, science experiments and even science experiments for students to participate in. I am excited to to try it with my class.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I will definitely use this product to introduce a topic in Science so as to build student interest in the topic and to pose the inquiry in the ngss focus of the topic.

Strengths: This product is highly visual and engaging. Thus it is easy to use to get student interest in the topic. The sample unit I viewed leads to a teacher demonstration that does not require a lot of supplies nor money.

Suggestions for Improvement: Make it easier to find lessons that are appropriate for multi-age combo classes.
Keep it low cost after the first roll out year since funding will be an issue
Create a way for student accounts to be made that allows easy to monitor student assessment

Verdict: This product is highly visual and engaging. Thus it is easy to use to get student interest in the topic. The sample unit I viewed leads to a teacher demonstration that does not require a lot of supplies nor money.

K Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This would be an awesome resource for math and science teachers to spark
student interest. I think that having all of information along with the lab to go with it (with low cost lab materials) would be helpful for schools that don't have a lot of funding.

Strengths: I like the interface...very user friendly.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would suggest
1. Later adding middle school and high school component.
2. Recommended reading list- non-fiction, fiction, podcasts, video that students could explore on their own (tied to lessons) and ck out from the library, other.

Verdict: Teachers are scrambling to create their curriculum that will address content, CCSS, and 21st Century Skills. I think this would help them from having to run around and find all of the content to create units that will support reading comprehension and all of the other standards.

Librarian, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to teach science, and find activities to supplement district curriculum.

Strengths: This product does a great job of providing a lesson sequence that engages the students and integrates videos, pictures, and hands-on activities. It eliminates the problem of having to all of these things that supplement a lesson yourself.

Suggestions for Improvement: I'd like to see the assessments completed online, so that student data could be tracked and analyzed. Also, looking at some district adopted curriculum, like FOSS, and where these lesson can supplement would be helpful. Create lesson for PreK-1st grades.

Verdict: These are ready made lesson that appeal to all types of learning styles because it provides video, picture, and hands on activities in each lesson, all standards based.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, 1:1 Devices
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: When I learned about this tool, it seemed like much more teacher and student friendly version of the FOSS curriculum kits that many schools use. I think that this product really gives the teacher a much more comprehensive set of tools to help students learn about a science topic and to engage in the learning in a more interactive, 21st century way.

Strengths: I think that Mystery Science is bringing the science curriculum to the classroom in a digital way. They are giving teachers the tools to teach effectively in the classroom and giving students the opportunity to discover on their own. I liked this product because of the lesson plans already provided.

Suggestions for Improvement: I think one area of improvement would be the activities part of the curriculum. If the preparations for the activities require many materials, how can we ensure all the tools are there for all students? I'm thinking about schools where there is less funding and teachers have to purchase their own materials to benefit the classroom. Hopefully, the materials that are required are not expensive, but at the same time, any way to lesson teacher spending would be nice.

Verdict: I would recommend this program because there are videos embedded into the program to engage students. This can be used to engage the students or to provide more information for all. In addition, the teacher has access to lesson plans already provided for additional activities. Mentioned by the presenter, many of the materials are easily accessible in the classroom and the preparations for those types of labs can be tedious. If teachers can find these materials quickly around the classroom, that is another great way a teacher could save time preparing for a lesson. Next, the children are also actively engaged with the content as they have opportunities to solve mysteries! I can't think of a better way to engage students than making them responsible for their own learning and satiating their curiosity.

Rebecca, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, Blended Learning
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it whole class, once a week, for science instruction.

Strengths: I admittedly tend to not teach enough science because of all the prep work involved. Mystery Science makes it easy for teachers to provide high quality, standards-aligned, engaging science explorations for students. I like how the lessons have video and plenty of images. Very child-friendly!

In listening to a Mystery Science developer discuss the lesson development, I was impressed with the amount of student and teacher centered details that go into the development process. The developers think about the management of each exploration down to the minute--details and phenomena of the workings of a classroom that usually only teachers are sensitive to/aware of! I like that it can be done as just a single lesson, or how teachers can expand on it for follow up activities, assessments, etc.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would love to see next steps for students after the assessments. Intervention activities based on assessment results, or activities/inquiries that will allow students to go deeper in the standard. Differentiation basically. I would also love to see options for small group activities/centers, so that students could keep learning while the teacher could work with the students who are struggling with any of the concepts/standards.

Verdict: NGSS aligned, fun and engaging science lessons for students. Excellent prep time:quality of instruction ratio.

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