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Thursday, May 19

Groovin' (Young Rascals)

Over the past couple of years, we have checked out a few different box subscriptions, and this is honestly one of the best!  Intended for kids aged 8-12+, each Groovy Lab in a Box comes with the supplies to do hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments.

This is a well thought out box, with opportunities for further exploration…it is NOT your basic craft box.  Our lab came with a notebook full of information for learning, questions for thinking and making connections, directions for each investigation (with pictures for clarification), and space to write  observations and “brainstorms.”  The lab book is written at a child’s level, but without being condescending.  There is also a “Beyond the Box” section on the website for diving deeper.

The creator says : “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."  
The activity box takes some time to do…it’s not something the kids are going to finish in an hour.  One box could occupy them for days – more, if they decide to go ‘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.

Engineering Design Challenge for the Lunar Launch Box: 
You are a groovy aerospace engineer and the head of Project Apollo contracted by NASA during the Apollo era in 1969. Using only the materials in your Groovy Lab in a Box, can you design, build, and launch a rocket which travels the farthest vertical distance to the Moon?

Explore force and motion; Newton’s Third Law: Action – Reaction, investigate potential and kinetic energy associated with rockets and learn the groovy history of the Apollo 11 mission – the first lunar
landing of the lunar module “Eagle” in 1969 – and much, much more

We started the box together, going through it and coming up with a ton of questions for the kids to keep in the back of their minds as they did the experiments.  Then, I let them go off together and enjoy!  Every once in a while, they’d come back with a question, but for the most part they were able to complete the kit themselves.  I like how it promoted teamwork, and was appropriate across grade levels.

Pros :
  • Everything is included
  • Each box has at least 3-4 experiments
  • Instructions are clear, with great illustrations
  • Questions asked to encourage investigation
  • Impressive Lab Notebook
  • Reaches a wide range of ages
  • Reusable materials
  • Online resources provide a science unit
  • Ability to go beyond the box through password-protected resources on their site
  • Cute retro look!  (that’s a plus to me…the boxes are easily repurposed, they’re so cute)

Cons :
  • Younger children (under 9 or 10) are going to need a lot of parental assistance

The Nitty Gritty
  • The Cost:
    • Monthly: $29.95
    • 12 months: $24.95/mo
    • 6 months: $27.95/mo
    • 3 months: $28.95/mo
  • Boxes ship FREE to US
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