If you have been following along here, you know that we are diving into the world of homeschool. While it took a couple weeks to get our heads to stop spinning and our feet back on the ground, we’re thinking we made a good choice. I have no idea how long we will choose to homeschool, but the learning never stops (homeschool or not!)
We also happen to like learning that’s easy for me. While I have 20,000 ideas floating around in my head, getting them executed is sometimes a completely different issue. Therefore, learning that comes in a box is preferred. I’ll take full advantage of the timing and adding some extra lessons to what you offer – but appreciate someone telling me what to do. J’s homeschool curriculum is thanks to k12.com (which I enrich as needed/desired). Everything comes to me all ready to go. I like it that way.
Over the past couple of years, we have checked out a few different box subscriptions. Some have been great, others we could have easily just done it ourselves. Today I am pleased to introduce you to Groovy Lab in a Box – which just happens to blow all other box subscriptions I have seen out of the water. Intended for kids aged 8-12+, Each Groovy Lab in a Box comes with everything you need (except for a few items like water or scissors) to do the hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments. J is 5 and while I can see how older kids would get even more out of it, he definitely stayed engaged and interested.
This is NOT your basic craft box with everything in it for a few projects – it is well thought-out opportunities to dive deep into the world of science. The lab notebook for this box was 22 pages long. It’s full of information for learning, questions for thinking and making connections, directions for each investigation (with pictures for clarification) and space to write your own observations and “brainstorms”. And I love that it doesn’t give you all the answers either – kids (and you) really have to try things out and discover on your own. Once you finish all the experiments in the box, there are still lots of opportunities to go “beyond the box” on their website.
“We created Groovy Lab in a Box to encourage children to channel their inner STEMist. Our purpose is to provide children with an opportunity to focus his or her imagination, determination, and innately inquisitive nature with a way to complete a monthly STEM project using the Engineering Design Process. By utilizing the Engineering Design Process, students are held to a variety of standards for their finished product. Most importantly, they are provided the opportunity to engage their imaginations and apply critical thinking to supply their own desired outcome.”
Our core belief is that we want to bring this generation back to the NASA Apollo era when children wanted to be scientists and engineers and science was at the forefront of the media. Hence our “retro, 50’s” brand and logo design. We believe science should be more “Pop-Culture” in our society. We believe a strong STEM education is the future for our children to be competitive in the 21st century. Science and art go hand in hand and children are encouraged to draw, journal, and “think” about their engineering design challenges.
We are firm believers in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and we wanted to give the next generation STEMists their own starting point.
The included activities alone take some time. It’s not something you can whip through in an hour (or even) two and call it good. In fact, the intention is for the learning to last for weeks, and hopefully even the entire month. They also are outside-friendly so you can take your classroom beyond the walls of your home, which is something we obviously promote big time here. Even better? Many of the investigations get kids exercising their brain AND their body.
Going Beyond the Box:
The online-enrichment that comes with each box (which truthfully is a science unit in itself) is incredible. The actual box is only a small part of the whole package. What’s included in the “Here Comes the Sun” beyond-the-box:
- more investigations
- extension activities (which come with a downloadable PDF printable)
- a list of recommended books for enrichment
- some fun solar-inspired fashions
- tons of learning videos
To be honest, most of the enrichment was over J’s head (again, 5 years old.) But, the cool thing is that we can go back and revisit it all in a couple years even when he’s more ready. In the meantime, we went through it all and he asked a ton of questions and we got the gears turning. He’s a kid that needs to be challenged and this finally provided that. The neat thing is that it will challenge ALL kids. Groovy Lab in a Box gets tons of feedback about how the big Engineering Design Challenge at the end is really hard. And it’s supposed to be hard! It requires thinking and planning and problem-solving and possibly some great collaboration with parents or peers too. As an educator, I love that.
What we love:
- Everything is included
- Instructions are clear and “readable” by even non-readers (because the pictures are that good)
- Included extra learning tidbits (in our box – who developed the first solar oven and what solar balloons are, etc.)
- Questions asked to encourage investigation and continuous learning (not just finish up and off you go to something else)
- Impressive Lab Notebook
- Reaches a wide range of ages (recommended 8+, but we think a 5 year old can handle a lot of it)
- Reusable materials so you can repeat the experiments
- An impressive and active blog with more resources
- Ability to go beyond the box through password-protected resources on their site (which is a HUGE add-on)
What we aren’t so crazy about:
Nothing. Really, nothing. We almost never say that in our reviews. But, we mean it. This is top notch and worth every penny for learning. Whether you are homeschooling or just looking for some great enrichment for your kids, this is it.
One more perk: I LOVE that this company partner with Eggleston Services who provide employment opportunities for the individuals with disabilities. Monica, one of the co-founders of Groovy Lab in a Box has a background in special education and was thrilled to tie together so many of the things she loves in this project. She mentioned that the adults who are employed by Eggleston Services take great pride in their work (which shows, in my opinion!)
Subscribe or Gift It:
There are a few options for getting Groovy Lab in a Box. As you buy more months upfront, the monthly cost does go down. For a subscription:
- pay monthly: $26.95
- 3 months: $25.95/month
- 6 months: $24.95/month
- 12 months: $23.05/month
There’s also the option to gift a box (and it won’t renew automatically) <– Grandparents, this is for you!:
- single boxes: $28.95 + $5 shipping
- 3 months: $25.95/month
- 6 months: $24.95/month
- 12 months: $23.05/month
I couldn’t recommend this company enough. Their product is thorough, complete and top of the line. And for all you get, ridiculously cheap. I love that they have a 3 month program that is just the right length for summer learning (though the benefits are definitely not limited to summer.)
Use code “GROOVYNOW20” which is good for 20% off of the first month of the Monthly Subscription.
Win a chance to try it out!
Groovy Lab in a Box wants to send one of you a box to try out! As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help! This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada only.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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