Monday, October 29, 2012

Crew Review: Science in a Bag

"Where Fun and Education Fit In The Same Bag"

Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir love science experiments. And what's not to love, right? It's hands-on learning fun! So, I was excited to have an opportunity review Activities in a Bag!

What We Reviewed
For our review, we received a PDF download of 3 Science Experiments in a Bag eBooks ($39.00). Science Experiments in a Bag eBook 1 included 25 experiments for Biology, General Science and Nature. The 2nd eBook had 25 more experiments for Chemistry, the Human Body and General Science. And the 3rd eBook provided another 25 experiments in Chemistry. These experiments are recommended for grades K-8. Check out a sample here or here to fill out a survey to receive a free Activity Bag e-Sampler.

What We Did
Downloading and saving these Science Experiments in a Bag PDFs were quick and easy so I got started right away. I found the PDFs very well organized!

Now, these Science Experiments in a Bag are made for "swaps" or making 10 or 20 experiments (complete with instructions, safety warnings and materials) to "swap" with other educators or caregivers so that each person ends up with 10 or 20 different, ready-to-use experiments for their homeschools, co-ops, church, or other groups. Read more about "swaps" here. Each PDF includes information on organizing a "swap", and each gallon Ziplock experiment costs about $1 to assemble.  Doesn't that sound like fun? Not to mention convenient and economical!

But here's the thing: we don't attend a homeschool co-op or any activities with Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir that would work for a "swap" with other families. 

Yet, these experiments are even perfect for a single family to use because Science Experiments in a Bag breaks down the experiment material lists into 1 bag or 10, 15 or 20 bags!

Now, I'm already running low on printer ink this school year. (Yeah, just 7 weeks in! ::sigh::) So, I need to be "frugal" with my ink and paper. After reading through the first PDF, I found a one-page list of experiments by number and supplies needed. This list was really handy to see what might enhance a particular science concept and see what materials are needed. I printed THIS out for my AT-A-GLANCE concept AND shopping list! These science bags DO require quite a bit of printing to assemble bags for both single family and group swaps so be prepared with ink and paper! (Cardstock or scrapbook paper would ensure more durability.)

Each experiment includes: experiment description, grade range, experiment type (i.e. Biology, Chemistry, Nature, etc.), supply list, instructions, warning or safety label, a lab recording sheet, and an answer and notes sheet.

We've been getting the garden ready for winter and studying Botany so creating a Worm Farm to learn how valuable they are to plant soil seemed like a perfect hands-on project to start with. I even had all the materials, although we opted to use a big, clear plastic tub rather than a clear, plastic 20 oz cup for our farm. Go BIG, right? ::wink:: And we certainly had all the earthworms we needed right in the garden! ::laugh:: For a week, we observed our worms in their temporary habitat, filling out our recording sheet.

We also made a Garbage Viewer. Yep, garbage! ::laugh:: Ever wonder what happens to trash and food as it decomposes in soil? Well, Science in a Bag has a project to help kids learn just what happens. It was such a simple experiment to pull together! We'll be watching it over time to see just what happens to every day trash as it breaks down!

We're actually pretty excited about the 3rd Science in a Bag PDF as it's Chemisty! Once our Botany is wrapped up, we're moving onto Chem and the kids can't wait to see what Science in a Bag has for activities! (Shh! I know and they're going to love it! ::wink::)

Now, I have to say that I'm just not crazy about PDFs in general. I enjoy having an actual book or workbook to work with, making copies as needed. I like to physically mark books with Post-its, and that can't be done with PDFs without printing and binding (which are additional costs and time commitments). I would love for Science in the Bag to have book purchase options!

Would we recommend Science in a Bag PDFs? Absolutely! Whether you do a co-op or group swap of experiments all assembled in baggies or just use them has a family, these experiments are easy to put together, fun to do and even have recording sheets! With all 3 PDFs you'll have General Science, Biology, Nature, and Human Body to supplement your every day curriculum for K-8 or just to have handy some rainy day activities or to plan a swap within a co-op. Lotsa options!

Disclaimer: Our Side of the Mountain received this product to review for the TOS Blog Crew. All thoughts and opinions are our own. For more info click on the highlighted links above or visit the TOS review crew here.


  1. I think this sounds like a great science choice! :) I really like the idea of a garbage viewer. :)

  2. I really want to try the science experiments now! I just tried out the Preschool Activity bags, and I specifically went through looking for activities I could do *without* printing. I assembled several, and I'll slowly start the ones that require printing to have them ready for a later date--like after the baby arrives.

  3. Greetings,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful reveiw of the Science Experiments in a Bag products. Would it be okay if I used your picture on our website?? I would give credit to your blog of course, but wanted to ask first.

    Thanks again,

    Sherri MacLean


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