Recent Posts

Monday, April 14, 2014

Curiosity Quest

This is a review.

We got two fun DVDs to review in our school.  They are considered to be geared towards ages 7-14, but V-girl, age 4 loved these, and so did I....and I am a lot older than 14!

They are from the Curiosity Quest series.  We got  DVD Combo Pack - Produce series and  DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea.

These DVDs are from shows hosted by Joel Greene. In some areas, they air on PBS.  The premise is that for each show, he goes on a "quest" inspired by a question from a viewer with something they are curious about.

He is a super high energy, fun host that isn't afraid to jump in and try his hand at sorting mushrooms on an assembly line, putting on hip waders to head out onto a field of cranberries that has been flooded for harvesting, or climbing  a ladder and cutting oranges off the tree without bruising them.  Sometimes he messes up, but just laughs and moves on.  He is fun to watch.

We received 2 combo DVDs that had 3 episodes on each one.  Each episode is about 30 minutes long and spends that time digging deep to answer the original curiosity question and any other than happen to arise once they start learning stuff.

In addition to the behind the scenes looks, they sprinkle in some fun trivia or "fun facts", and interviews on the street with kids asking them about facts from the episodes.  Although, I am not sure if they did it on purpose, it was a little like  "Jay Walking" from The Tonight know......where the people they ask never know the answer to the question.  In this case, the kids never knew the answer either....which then the episode would answer.

The first DVD we watched was the DVD Combo Pack - Produce series, because we are in the middle of reviewing Florida and Washington in our Geography class....and have learned about apple and orange farming.  The Produce series went behind the scenes and taught us how oranges, cranberries, and mushrooms are grown and eventually end up at our stores.

First, we watched the episode on mushrooms.  I found this one the most interesting out of all of us, because I am the only one in this household that willingly and with full knowledge eats mushrooms.  But, even though I am the only one that eats them, the kids found it interesting.  Gross in some parts, but interesting.  I know they were interested, because I was only planning to have them watch one episode a day and they asked to watch the next one too.  So, we did.

Have you ever seen the Unwrapped series on Food Network?  Back in Minnesota, many nights that would be what we watched before we went to bed.  We loved that show, because it was entertaining, fascinating, interesting, and you always learned something.

That is exactly what we found with the Curiosity Quest series.  The Produce Curiosity Quest in particular, seemed like the smart man's or maybe I should say healthy man's Unwrapped.

We learned things like how important it is not to bruise oranges, even just a little bit....and why.  We learned why those guys in the cranberry commercials are standing in their hip waders in what looks like a lake full of cranberries.  We learned how incredibly smelly it is at a mushroom farm when they are letting the spores develop.

I mean, when you think about it and see behind the scenes as to how many people are much work is much machinery is involved in getting our food from the field to the is amazing.

 (This is the host, Joel Greene, learning the right way to cut an orange and place it in his bag....up on a ladder....which gets really heavy.)  You know what I learned?  I learned that I could NOT do this job.

This series teaches basics about the food, but gets you behind the scenes tour of facilities, fields, and factories that normally you would have to try to arrange for your homeschool co-op.  Believe me....this is way easier.....and you don't have to be doing headcounts all day to make sure you haven't lost anybody along the way!

We loved seeing all the work that goes into getting some of our favorite foods from the farm to the store, to our fridge.  I can't tell you how many times one of us said....."I didn't know that!  Did you?"

The second DVD was the DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea.  This one covered Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, and Salmon.  Host, Joel Greene does a really good job of describing everything he is seeing, hearing, feeling, and even smelling while he is trying to answer our Curiosity Quest.

Honestly, we watched all the episodes on this one in one it was a movie.  You get sort of sucked in....which, in this case, isn't bad because you are learning useful stuff and not just being entertained.

This series taught us things like penguins have 100 feathers per square inch.  Did you know what penguins sort of sound like dolphins?

I am not exactly sure why, but this one was V-girls favorite episode.  Although, they are really cute and they all had fun people names, so I guess it isn't that surprising!  She can't wait until her Grandma comes to visit because she loves penguins.  V-girl has plans to sit Grandma down as soon as she gets here so she can learn more about penguins.

The Sea Turtle Rescue episode covered what happens at a Turtle Hospital in Florida.  I want to go and feed Bubble of the turtles who lives there.  Yes, just because of his name.  Emoji  Oh, and remember in the movie Finding Nemo when the turtles were riding the gulf stream?  Dude!  That actually happens.  They probably don't talk in surfer dude speech....but they really do travel and move around that way.

(By the way these baby turtles were a little freaky to me....they were just in constant motion....just flapping around....reminded me of a thick spider or something.  I liked the baby loggerhead turtles much better, they were just real chill and just hung out in the rubber bins!)

The Salmon episode gave a really cool way to remember the 5 types of pacific salmon that are found in Alaska, using each finger on your hand.

  • Chum is your thumb, 
  • Sockeye is your index finger (imagine poking someone’s eye out), 
  • King is your middle finger,(tallest/biggest) 
  • Silver is your ring finger, and 
  • Pink is your pinkie.
It was really interesting to learn how salmon imprint or "smell" their place of birth so then they come back to that place when they are ready to spawn...or have babies.  Yes, I said.....smell.  Salmon always go back to the stream that they were born in when it is time to spawn.....because they recognize through their olfactory glands the "smell" of their home stream.  Always.

These DVDs are very well done and not cheap looking.  I was also super impressed with all the people/experts that were guiding Joel through the episodes. Yes, there is an occasional mention of evolutionary theory, but that didn't bother me.

You know how sometimes when you go on field trips or listen to an educational discussion, they are a little stilted in their delivery and uncomfortable?  The people in these DVDs were all sort of chipper, happy, occasionally sarcastic, but always smooth and conversational in their delivery.

They have a whole Curiosity Quest Goes Green series that deals with recycling, compost, and repurposing. Actually, the Sea Turtle Rescue episode is part of this series.

There are lots of  DVDs available as part of this series.  Go browse around and see if there are any that peak your curiosity!

Honestly, this is my kind of learning.  It is fun.  It is fast paced, but not cartoony.  They seem to always ask the questions that I was thinking in my head while I was watching.  I liked these DVDs a lot.  They will be coming out as reminders when we get to studying any of the episode topics.

Every episode ended with Joel Greene saying this:

Every Great Journey Begins With Just One Person's Curiosity!

It is so true.

Take a peek at Curiosity Quest and maybe even send them on a Quest!

The Combo Pack DVDs are available for $24.95.  Go see what other TOS Review Crew members thought about Curiosity Quest.