Thursday, November 9, 2017

Innovators Tribe REVIEW

Innovators Tribe
Recently, we received a 2-year subscription to Thinking Like an Engineer by Innovators Tribe. This is a really fun, and hands on program that gets your student on the road to engineering. This online course is self-paced and designed for kids in 6-12 grade. This program features self paced online video segments, hands on activities, design software, and even a journal you can print and keep for records. 
Innovators Tribe What You Get
How did we use this?
I first spent a few days going over everything myself so I could be familiar if a question came up. The course layout is great. It's easy to use, and any reader of my blog knows how much I like a "billboard obvious" login.


The log in for this is at the top. It's easy to find, and that's great for kids like Mr. B! 



The course has a syllabus and a running list down the side. What is great about this is that it features the duration for each portion. Mr. B doesn't have to ask me "How long do I need to do this?" or "How long will this take?" He can easily look to this side and see that Lesson 3 on clean water is going to take 15 minutes. 

 After I became familiar with the layout, and basics, it was time for Mr. B to get started. I knew he would like the program, but I grossly underestimated the degree at which he likes it. He didn't want to stop! When he finally got to the first activity, and realized we had 0 masking tape in the house, it was clear I really had no choice but to go to the store and buy some because he wasn't going to stop trying to come up with an alternative. He really takes the course seriously, and does his best to accomplish each activity, on his own, with little to know help from me. 
Thinking Like an Engineer

Mr. B works through the lessons in order, and spends about 3 or 4 days a week on it. There have been times he's asked to repeat the Challenge Activity. I can't show all that we did, so I picked out my personal favorite which was the Lesson 3 Challenge Activity of filtering water.

 It just so happened that I didn't have what was needed to do this, and I wasn't going out at the time. So...we tried to wing it. I knew I had everything here to whip up a quick field filter, but I couldn't remember how to do it exactly. So the materials are a plastic bottle, cotton balls, moss, gravel, sand, charcoal, and some yucky, NASTY water that I gathered up from a mud hole by the road. It is full of red clay gunk, so it's all kinds of gross. I wasn't even sure it would work in this filter lol.
So basically I cut the bottle in half, stuffed the opening part with cotton, then layered on some charcoal from a Keurig Filter, sand, then some moss, then gravel, and more moss for good measure. I know moss can do something to purify water, so I wanted a double dose. Of course, hindsight tells me the sand was wet from rain and the moss was dirty. But...whatever, we tried.

I poured the water slowly because I knew Mr. B would go too quickly and make a mess. And...it did come out a bit more clear. But not enough. I'm sure if we did this through 3 or 4 more filters, it'd be a lot more clear. I'm going to try and find Alum and the other stuff needed to make the one in the Activity, but for now, this was a great way to at least showcase what it was supposed to do! 

(I'll post this pics of this as soon as my phone behaves and sends them to my email.)

Overall, This course is great. My son is learning a lot, and I feel it is well suited for the intended grades. I high recommend it! 

Does Innovators Tribe Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?


The lessons are in order, and I wouldn't suggest skipping. Actually, I am not even sure if it's possible to skip since we didn't even try. These are self paced, so you can set your own schedule, pause, and take breaks. I was able to tweak the water filter activity, but that's really been the only one we've tweaked out of necessity.

 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

Our subscription for review is for two years, and good for the whole family. It is good for the intended ages of 6th to 12th grades. I'm not sure I'd attempt it with younger grades. Now, with that said, younger kids could definitely take part in some of the Challenge Activities. 
There are NO hidden fees beyond the need for certain materials for the challenge activities that we mostly had on hand. 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

It's not boring at all! Each video lesson is pretty short, and the duration listed. They are varied in time, but usually no more than about 15 mins. The Challenge Activities take longer, but they are fun and hands on. For example, the water filter is said to take 120 minutes, but it takes a bit to build it, and it takes a bit for the water to go through. I think it's great for ADHD. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This is great for science, and each portion can tie in differently. 



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Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}

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