Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Science Trek 4,5,6 - a Software from Nectar Foundation

Science Trek 4, 5, 6
From the Nectar Foundations

What is the NECTAR Foundation?
The NECTAR Foundation is incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act with Letters Patent issued to NECTAR in 1990 by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Affairs of Ontario. The New Era Classroom, Technology and Research (NECTAR) Foundation, is dedicated to the development of innovative educational programs featuring the integration of interactive technologies and the individualized student programs.

The NECTAR Foundation, with its partners, develops and markets innovative, state-of-the art curriculum-based multimedia software. Its products are marketed and used around the world. A number of its software programs have been licensed for use by large educational jurisdictions such as the province of Ontario, SchoolNet India, South Africa and large counties in the United States

NECTAR develops curriculum-based educational software programs for kindergarten to grade 12. It focuses on Mathematics, Language Arts and Literacy, and Science curriculum.

Visit their website at

My Thoughts on the Science Trek 4, 5, 6
This specific science software is geared for student in grade 4, 5 or 6. It is available in French and English. Here at home we tested the French version of the software. My son Alexandre is starting grade 3 but he wanted to look at this one as well so we sat down together and went through it to get an idea of the product.

I really like what I have seen and explore. You would find videos so the student can see how something works. However, there isn’t sound on the video. But honestly that’s okay. You will find a lot of interaction in this software as well as moving images to keep the interest of the student. For example, while the student learns about the heart, he will have some various images to show his the outside and inside of the heart as well as one specific animation that will show him how the blood circulate in the heart. I thought it was pretty interesting and a good introduction to how the human body works.

One thing I need to specify before I go further in my review of Science Trek. There is a lot of reading to be done to learn about the various subjects of science. So I would strongly suggest that your student be fluent in his reading before introducing him to Science Trek. There is also some guidance provided throughout the software to gives the student guidelines to follow.
In Science Trek you will explore various subjects - Living Things; Matter; Energy, and Earth and Space.It contains 15 units divided as follow;

Living Things:- Habitats and Communities - Human Body - Diversity of Living Things

Matter: - Properties and Changes of Materials - Structures and Mechanisms - Flight and the Properties of Air

Energy: - Sound and Light - Electricity- Conservation of Energy - Pulleys and Gears - Motion - Forces and Simple Machines

Earth and Space: - Weather - Space- Rocks, Minerals and Erosion

With the interactive activities, you can also print support materials like activities and practice some journal writing. You will get introduced to various scientist as well as scientific illustrations. I find that the software is really well done and grab the interest of the student while learning some science facts. You can also generate some word search to have the student look for the new words he has just learned.

Another interesting feature is the ability to click on a bold word to get the definition of the word. This opens up a new window and the student can read the definition. You have the possibility to listen the proper pronunciation of a word by clicking on a small button at the top of the definition. However, there isn’t a button to close this pop-up window so you need to click in the previous screen to go back.

You will also find some facts buttons everywhere in the software. These buttons will gives you a bit more information about a specific subject. Interesting facts about what you learn helps to keep the information in your head I find.

At the end of each section, your student will have a mini-test to assure that he comprehend the information he has just read. And believe me when I say that the student should investigate all images and buttons included in the section he reads before taking the mini-test. Each sections are packed with tons of information.

The only information that disturbs me a little bit was the fact that the information included in the software seems to be based on evolution. As a Christian and homeschool parent, I find it important that my children be exposed to the creation first and then eventually, when they are in age to understand that there is a difference, to evolution. I know that my oldest knows the differences between the two so I have no problem for him to explore the information about life on Earth in the software. But I also know that some parents won’t be too happy about this and I think it is important for them to know about this. I think it would be nice eventually if Nectar would produce a Christian version of their software about science.

Having said that, I still think that Science Trek is an interesting software to own in your homeschool. It would permit the student to explore by himself and learn at the same time.
Science Trek is available directly from Learn with Trek website. Here’s the direct link to this software.