Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Fascinating World of Mammals DVD

When we go to the library I find that Gess rents more educational DVDs than she does entertaining movies.  She seems to enjoy learning about new things so when I had the opportunity to review The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD by BrainFood Learning I figured it would be something she would enjoy.

The Fascinating World of Mammals uses a mixture of beautiful images and video footage of mammals in their natural habitat while explaining certain facts, key points and vocabulary words for each mammal.

The Fascinating World of Mammals is a 52 minute DVD in which they say "children of all ages can benefit from the videos."  While that is probably true I would recommend it for preschool up to around age 10.  However, the vocabulary words on the video are pretty tough so there is something for older students as well I just don't know if they would enjoy watching it as much as the younger children will.

The first segment defines what a mammal is and uses examples to highlight the main distinctions of a mammal such as they are warm blooded, have hair and lungs, are vertebrates, etc.  They use humans as examples of mammals that have hair and lungs and various animals for the rest.  After they teach you what a mammal is they examine 10 different mammals and vocabulary words.  At the end of the video there are 5 reviews for the student to do.

1. Mammal Flash Cards
2. Review the Mammals
3.  Features of a Mammal
4.  Review the Mammal Facts
5.  Review the Big Words

I liked that the reviews offered something for every age group.  The first segment was simply mammal flash cards identifying the name of each mammal with the picture.  These are good for preschoolers and young students.  They verbally say the name of the mammal twice while showing both the name and picture on the screen.  There was no quiz for this one.

The next 4 reviews were multiple choice quizzes that were shown on the screen and read audibly on the video.  After they read all three answer choices you were given about 2 seconds to respond before they show you the answer.  You can always pause it if you need more time but that seemed sufficient for Gess, partly because she could read it while they were talking.

The vocabulary words were the big words.  I like that young children can begin to get familiar with these terms we often think are too hard for them like hibernation, echolocation, ruminant, and vertebrates.  Here is Gess watching one of the quizzes.

While you can play the video from beginning to end you can also go to the menu and watch one mammal segment at a time.  Be sure to just hit play first though, as I think that is the only way to see the introduction to the term mammal.  The main menu lets you see each individual mammal segment but not that very first part about what a mammal is.  There is also a menu to choose to do review segments individually as well. 

We watched the video from the beginning and then just watched the first few mammals. The next day we watched the rest of the mammal segments and after that we did the reviews.  Gess was old enough to really do it all together but its nice that you can space it out for younger children.

Gess seemed to enjoy the video and interacted with the quizzes.  While it isn't a video she chose to watch on her own, she enjoyed it when we did watch it. I think it was just a little young for her but I thought it was pretty well done.  Visually it was appealing.  The teaching was clear, precise and just about the right length.  I think that it is very good for children who have special needs like Gess because it is not too flashy or fast paced.  I wish there were more mammals on the DVD but it is a good start to learning what a mammal is.  I also did not find any references to origins throughout the DVD. 

I think The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD is a really nice addition to a homeschool or family library.  You can add it to any study or use it alone and let the child enjoy learning.  My grand-daughter who is only three was excited to watch it as well.  I love that she doesn't even know that she is learning.

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD sells for $14.99 which is not a bad price considering it is almost an hour long and has a variety of quizzes and viewing options.  They also have The Fascinating World of Insects and The Fascinating World of Birds which other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were able to preview.  To learn more about each of the products visit their website or click on the banner below to read more reviews.


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Erica B said...

Sounds fun!

Michele said...

We loved this video too! I want to get the other too for our collection.

Pebblekeeper ~ Angie said...

Sounds like a great tool! Love your photos!

Emilee Roberts said...

We loved the Mammals DVD and want to get the others now. I agree with your points about how great it is that it's not flashy and overwhelming!


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