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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that How It's Made is a fascinating fact-based educational series that demonstrates how all sorts of items are constructed. Occasionally segments focus on potentially disturbing products, like hatchery chicks, in which baby chickens are seen hatching and then being sorted by hand and machine onto giant conveyor belts for eventual shipment to farms (and subsequent slaughter). Little kids might not be interested or have the attention span to follow the different segments, but children who like to know how things work may very well be entranced.
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What's the story?
HOW IT'S MADE is a fascinating educational series for all ages that reveals how every day products are made. Using clear, factual language, the narrator describes the steps involved in making food products, household goods, and more as viewers watch the production onscreen. Episodes usually feature four products, from car radiators and phyllo dough to aluminum foil and hatchery chicks. In the phyllo dough segment, for example, cameras capture the mixing of ingredients as the narrator explains the proportions of high-protein flour to low-protein flour. A machine shapes the dough into cylinders that workers then shape into balls by hand. The dough is then flattened, dried, stretched, cut, and packaged -- some by machine and some by hand -- until it becomes what consumers recognize from the supermarket.
Is it any good?
Curious kids and adults will learn from the show, and some segments can really broaden your perspective. For instance, the segment on hatchery chicks might encourage a discussion about where meat comes from or families' opinions about industrial versus sustainable food production. With its emphasis on facts, some might find How It's Made lacking in personality. Some segments will appeal to viewers more than others, depending on your interest or familiarity with the featured item.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about everyday products they're curious about and speculate How It's Made. What things do you want to know more about? Which products seem mysteriously constructed? Have you ever thought about where your food, car, furniture, sporting goods, etc. came from? How do you think people would get by if they were responsible for obtaining and/or making everything they needed themselves?
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