Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: Brain Food Learning

 photo 31477_411332758959489_253604783_n_zps2cd64016.pngThe kids were excited when we were sent a free copy of the DVD The Fascinating World of Insects by BrainFood Learning. This video retails for $14.99, and is for any age, but it was most appreciated by my younger two (ages 5 and 7).

The kids have watched it multiple times now and they all really liked it, so that's pretty encouraging. We often watch shows only once. I sat down and watched it with them too, and I even appreciated it. The graphics are a collage of live video and still photos, but tastefully done. During the whole thing the music has a jungle sound which I thought was ok, but my 5 year old deemed "scary".

The main menu gives you the option of jumping to the insect features or the review sections, but we just go with "Play All". The introduction starts with an overview of insects and how they are diverse and everywhere.  It goes over the main parts of the insect including: legs, head, thorax, abdomen, compound eyes, antennae, and exoskeleton. They also highlight the different mouth types: piercing/sucking, sucking, sponging, and chewing.

In the next section they talk about 11 different insects in detail. When each one is introduced, the name of the insect is shown in print to re-enforce the name, like a flashcard. Five or six interesting facts are presented about each one, and the section is finished with a related vocabulary word and its definition. Insects detailed on this DVD are:

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  1. Grasshopper
  2. Ladybug
  3. Rhino Beetle
  4. Firefly
  5. Mosquito
  6. Honey Bee
  7. Water Strider
  8. Ant
  9. Praying Mantis
  10. Dragonfly
  11. Butterfly

The matching vocabulary words were:

  • Entomologist
  • Species
  • Elytra
  • Larva
  • Scientific Name
  • Proboscis
  • Pollination
  • Adaptation
  • Colony
  • Predator
  • Wingspan
  • Metamorphosis

I did notice the definition of "Adaptation" was given incorrectly, as "Special features developed over a long period of time." The correct definition is The process of being adapted (To make suitable to or fit for a specific use or situation). This is important for me since we teach creation-based science in our home, and with the creation mindset we view "adaptation" as a rapid process designed by God. I felt this was something to note, but not anything upsetting. My kids are pretty quick to pick up on discrepancies like this since we like to watch many science documentaries. It's a great springboard for discussion.

The third part of the show is the Review. This includes:

  1. Review Flashcards. These show the picture of each of the 11 insects covered and repeating the insect name twice.
  2. Review your Insects. Photo of each insect with multiple choice answers.
  3. Parts of an Insect. 
  4. Insect Facts. Reviewing a fact presented with with multiple choice answers of the different insects it could be. My kids quickly figured out these facts were presented in the same order as the insects were presented on the DVD, so they knew exactly which one would be the next right answer. It would have been less predictable if they had been mixed up. 
  5. Vocabulary Review. Presenting the vocabulary definitions with multiple choice answers.
My 7 year old had no trouble answering all of these. My 10 year old was the one who figured out the patterns.

Update: I also received an email from the folks at BrainFood Learning, and was excited to find out that they have developed free lesson plans to go with the videos. You can download those here. They include:

  • A two page lesson plan
  • A "circle the right word" quiz
  • An insect card sort (including full color photos)
  • Academic vocabulary quiz
  • Insects Quiz (multiple choice)
  • Big Words Quiz (multiple choice)
  • Answer Keys

What I liked:
  • This was a fairly well done short video for kids to get them interested in the world of insects. 
  • It fit really well with what my younger two had just been studying in science. 
  • The facts presented about each insect were interesting and different than the usual. 
  • It kept the kids attention.
  • Free lesson plans!

What I didn't like:
  • The music.
  • The evolutionary terminology. I found it in three different places.

Bottom Line:
This DVD is a great way to get kids (especially in the younger elementary grades) interested in the wide world of insects. There are a few places where evolutionary terminology creeps in, but it wasn't a major component. The images were colorful, and the review questions helped gauge how well the kids were paying attention. Overall I thought it was a fun show. 

Visit the Crew Blog to read other's thoughts on this DVD as well as two others:


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  1. haha- my 5 year old asked me why the music was so scary! I guess it kinda was :)

    1. That's why they help us with reviews right? :)


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