A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series geared for school-aged kids focuses on real-life science topics and problems to be solved. Set against a backdrop of MTV-style music, camera angles, and graphics, the show features a diverse group of pre-adolescents as hosts and experimenters. The goal is to get kids excited to ask science-related questions about everyday things -- and to feel confident about searching for the answers.
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What's the story?
Created specifically for school-aged kids, DRAGONFLYTV has girls and boys from different ethnic backgrounds perform experiments together, often brainstorming, discussing, taking notes, and then rolling up their sleeves to do the actual hands-on. A sampling of show topics: studying the apes at the Bronx Zoo to discover how plants and animals coexist in the rainforest; going to the Bakken Museum and Library in Minneapolis to learn how the body's electrical signals help a prosthetic arm function; designing and racing real sailboats to find out what makes one sail faster than the other; and finding out what sort of tire studs work best to speed across a frozen lake. The show is filmed in locations around the United States that serve as attractive backdrops and naturally invite discussion on different topics. And -- trying to appeal to the video-game generation -- producers film the show in a style that includes sharp camera angles, pop music, and colorful graphic titles.
Is it any good?
The show's producers have definitely taken the time to think about how to help science seem interesting to kids in this age group. Younger children may find that the music and graphics distract from the show's content, but kids over 7 will go for it, have fun, and -- most of all -- learn. Because of the fast-paced filming style, some topics may need to be studied in more detail for kids to understand them completely and satisfactorily. Parents may need to check in with their kids about what was covered, and they should be prepared to help their kids find answers to the inevitable questions.
But the point of this show is not for parents to provide the answers. Science is exciting, and thanks to DragonflyTV's modern, colorful presentation, kids who might normally shy away from science will be inspired to seek out answers to questions about their world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about specific science topics covered in each episode -- and take the learning one step further through discussion, library visits, and online research.
Parents can point out that sometimes the hosts initially make mistakes in their predictions and use that information to continue their exploration
Also, families can discuss the benefits of working in pairs or with a team. Why is it important to have other perspectives when solving problems?
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