Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Curiosity Quest TOS Review Crew (DVDs)

The whole family has enjoyed one of our most recent reviews from Curiosity Quest: 2 separate DVD Combo packs. Curiosity Quest host, Joel Greene, has solicited "Curiosity Quests" from his viewers via email and snail mail letters. When a topic is chosen to explore he takes us along on his quest. The Review Crew received DVD Combo Pack - Produce (Mushrooms, Cranberries, Orange Packing) and DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea (Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, Salmon).

Each segment on the DVD has a basic format~ The actual visit to a specific location, whether it is a farm, a factory, or an aquarium (Or somewhere else). "Fun facts" about the topic are sprinkled throughout. One of our favorite things, also scattered throughout, is something I will call "taking it the streets." This is when Joel asks random people on the street (kids AND grownups) one question that pertains to the show. Some of the answers are hilarious, and *sometimes* they are even correct! :D

The videos are really like a tour that you can go on from the comfort of your own home. Intriguing and informative.

Here is a quick run-down of each combo video and some snippets from each:

Mushrooms~ Follows the process from creating the medium in which the mushrooms grow (Compost bricks~ Wow!  What a lengthy process!), adding the mushroom spawn, growing, "casing," fruiting/harvesting, sorting, packaging and shipping. Watching this actually made me more comfortable with commercially grown mushrooms than I was before.

Cranberries~ Joel Greene goes to Wisconsin to see how cranberries are grown, harvested, cleaned, sorted, and packaged, and shares some of the many products made with cranberries~ And he answers the question "Why do you have to stand in a marsh when you are harvesting Cranberries?"

Oranges~ This segment was inspired by a father who wrote in to suggest a Curiosity Quest revolving around oranges. He was inspired to suggest this after going on a tour of an orange orchard with his family. We found out the approximate # of oranges grown on an individual tree. We also learned the answer to a question about the most efficient way to harvest oranges, and how we can accelerate the ripening process on fruit that has been picked.

Swimmers of the Sea~
Penguins~ In this segment Joel visits The Aquarium of the Pacific, where he finds the answer to the question "Why don't penguins fly?" He goes behind the scenes at the aquarium and helps with food prep and the feeding of the aquarium's magellanic penguins. While we love penguins, this particular segment made it clear that my more squeamish children wouldn't be interested in a career caring for penguins~ with all of the food prep, and "hands on" slimy stuff. ;)

Sea Turtle Rescue~ The Sea Turtle rescue episode is shot at The Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys. The Hospital's main goal is to rehabilitate injured turtles, and release them back into the wild. There is another focus on food prep for, and feeding of, the turtles. Watch out! Turtles have really strong beaks! Keep those fingers out of reach. My youngest was amazed at the size a turtle can reach. Green Sea Turtles can reach 600 lb, and a Leather Back Turtle can weigh a TON (2000 lb). Did you know that a turtle might get "Boiling mad" (turn red when agitated)? Amazing to watch!

Salmon~ Joel Goes to Juneau, Alaska and visits a salmon fishery, with people from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. We find out about 5 different kinds of salmon~ chum, sockeye, king, silver and pink salmon(and an easy way to remember them). We all thought it was fascinating to learn that the salmon "smell" their way back to their original spawning grounds~ that they imprint.

What did the kids think?
Youngest really enjoyed watching the Curiosity Quest Videos. He liked the Orange episode the best in the Produce DVD~ he thought that the process for finding spoiled oranges was fascinating~ black light room that shows spoiled spots, so they know which oranges to get rid of. He likes fishing, so the Salmon episode was his favorite, but he enjoyed learning about Penguins and Sea Turtles as well. Youngest now wants to come up with topics for future "Curiosity Quests" himself, so I think his attention has been captured!

Middlest thought that the topics were interesting, and as the avid fisherman he is, he especially enjoyed the Salmon segment~ one of the things he learned was that the salmon prefer fine gravel to larger rocks when they are spawning, which could be useful if one wanted to find spawning salmon.  He thought Joel was "Entertaining" but appreciated that he's more focused on presenting the information as he experiences it than setting up jokes, etc.

Eldest joined us to watch the videos, and here is her take on them. The topics, and the way that they are approached makes them more enjoyable than many of the programs intended for elementary/middle grade students. Joel isn't "over-the-top" and is very watchable, and believable. The humor is real, not "staged." Anyone could learn something new from these shows, not just younger children.

Here is a little sample video from the Sea Turtle Episode to give you a feel for Curiosity Quests:
The average price for an individual episode runs close to $20, so these combo packs are a great deal!

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Ages: 7-14
  • Price: $24.95 each 
You can visit Curiosity Quest on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube if you'd like to find out more.

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

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