Saturday, September 29, 2012

Crew Review: Box of Ideas (Salt)

You know...

I like piecing together our curricula from this and that, but sometimes having a unit study all boxed up and ready to go is just what this busy (tired) homeschool Mama needs. 

And that's what intrigued me about Box of I.D.E.As: having a whole box of wonderful stuff ready and waiting to explore!

Oh, and I.D.E.As. stands for "ideally dynamic enrichment activities". But you probably got that from the company name above, huh?

From the website:

Each Box of IDEAS …

  • is easily portable to provide excellent waiting room and traveling activities to create learning opportunities on the go.
  • is filled with interesting topic-focused activity based learning.
  • contains 10 (and sometimes more) modules with exercises designed around a captivating aspect of the Box topic
  • provides 10 (or more) engaging and thought provoking portfolio pieces to record the student’s journey through the box.
  • is packed with many additional ideas and suggestions for delving deeper into an area of interest.
  • has a variety of thoroughly researched web links to encourage further exploration of the topics.
  • incudes a devotional booklet designed to biblically examine the Box topic.

What We Reviewed:

Salt, yes, SALT! In this Box of I.D.E.As, we learned about SALT (current price $79.00 for physical box which we received for review or $49 for a PDF download). We studied the history of salt, the science of salt, preserving with salt, consuming too much salt, the geography of salt, the language of salt, and the connection between salt and the Great Wall of China. (Uh-huh, there IS a connection!) With 10 modules to study, there was a whole lotta learnin' goin' on!

Our Experience
Oh, did I enjoy opening this box! Why? There were 10 sealed bags of activities inside that included an information sheet with lesson extensions and weblinks, materials needed in the lesson (i.e. PENCIL) and even a worksheet to complete and document our learning. Everything was oh-so organized! 

I used this with both Sugar Maple (10) and Balsam Fir (7). Box of I.D.E.As is recommended for ages 9-16. There were some concepts (such as finding percentage) that were beyond Balsam Fir's abilities, but the hands-on activities (such as flashcards and maps) and notebook pages were easily adaptable for a younger student. Both the Saplings sat down together at the school table (i.e dining table) and worked through most of the packets together at their pace. Sugar Maple was the instructor and Balsam Fir her student while Mom observed nearby and helped when needed. My daughter loves being the teacher and Box of I.D.E.As was a perfect program for her to do this since everything was there!

And you can see that they were very intently working together to do some of the activities! This particular activity included world geography and salt history information as well as putting dates or numbers in order for Balsam Fir (which Sugar Maple tried teaching him). They even pulled our globe out for a more worldly view of salt producers. Lots of cooperative learning from different subjects!

What other things were included? Well, there's a lab experiment testing different kinds of melting salt (and the salt was included in the box), salt area flashcards, a salt game board with playing pieces and di, beautiful salt lake picture cards, salt sayings cards, and a laminated (and reusable) menu planner to track salt consumption with a dry-erase marker (included).

My only wish is that this product came with a nice book to read along with the topic. Each of the 10 learning packets came with a short informational piece, but it wasn't particularly interesting to the kids. Unfortunately our itty bitty library did not have any books on salt that we could borrow, but there are weblinks available for additional explores included with each packet and these were quite helpful in adding additional information when the kids wanted some.

Otherwise, the ease of use and the hands-on activities are top-notch and we would totally recommend any of the boxes - WWII, Pigs, Eleven (yeah, go check out what this means at the website LOL), Laundry, and Quilting - to supplement studies or for a great unit studies! 

Disclaimer: Our Side of the Mountain received Box of I.D.E.As: Salt free to review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. If you would like more information, please contact Box of I.D.E.As for more information or to see what other unit studies they have available. Or head over to the TOS Review Crew to read more review experiences here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the nature study ideas in New Hampshire! My friend has been telling me about the White Mountains for years now and we've wanted to do a hike there. So excited for this opportunity for our homeschool :)


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