Catch the Science Bug

Website review by
Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Media
Catch the Science Bug Website Poster Image
Fun investigations are science-related; not very scientific.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about making observations, taking measurements, and collecting data in a graph. They can also learn facts about topics that range from water treatment to plant pigments. Catch the Science Bug has lots of fun activities where kids record their observations. Unfortunately, the activities are missing meaningful exploration of what those observations mean. Kids can take notes on different leaf colors, but -- even at a young age -- they should also start to question why the colors change. Catch the Science Bug has fun investigations but misses the mark with few opportunities to learn more of the scientific method.

Positive Messages

Kids are encouraged to explore science and engineering careers.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Catch the Science Bug is a group that does traveling elementary science programs in New England. The website is an accompaniment to the group's television series, which airs on public TV throughout the Northeast. The site provides video clips and fun activities that just about anyone can do at home, using only household materials. For the most part, kids are encouraged to collect and record data using graphs. The science content in these investigations is pretty fact based. However, on the website itself, there isn't much talk about other parts of the scientific method.

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What's it about?

CATCH THE SCIENCE BUG is a website that contains information on -– and video clips of -– simple science investigations for pre-school and elementary students. While the investigations encourage kids to collect data and build graphs, the actual science content covered is pretty limited. One part of the site has downloadable data sheets kids can use to do their own investigations. A \"Meet the Scientist\" section highlights nine people with careers like science teacher, farmer, veterinarian, fluid engineer, and chemist.

Is it any good?

Investigations like "Colors in a Leaf" give kids a chance to observe that plants have pigments by doing leaf chromatography. But major ideas like photosynthesis and why we see color are all but ignored. All kids do is write down what they see. There aren't any opportunities to reflect on and form conclusions from their data. Even the challenge question simply asks kids to look up the name of pigments in the leaf.

"The Science Files" section of the site treats science as a collection of facts. One of the files called "Vet Detective" has activities that might be fun for a kid interested in becoming a veterinarian. However, each "activity" is merely a short passage with one or two multiple choice questions. The science content is limited to the application of a few simple facts. Catch the Science Bug makes efforts to highlight women scientists but the site could be improved if other underrepresented groups were featured too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can help kids extend their learning to include critical thinking and questions about their observations.

  • Families can also talk about how media portrays scientists. What is the first image that comes to mind when you say that word? Is this who scientists really are? How does Catch the Science Bug portray who scientists are?

  • For families who are interested in how media portrays gender roles check out our Tips for Battling Stereotypes.

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For kids who love learning about science

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