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Review CornerSoftware
Bean There Grown That
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This unique product combines a virtual laboratory with a real-world seed-growing kit. It does a super job of keeping a child's attention and of making science fun and interesting.
Ages: 8-12  Subject: Science  Brand: Curious Company
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
image Product Overview
This package is a complete seed-growing kit, in addition to a CD-ROM filled with biology and botany facts that help kids learn about their project, designed for children in grades 3-6. The software teaches kids all about biology, botany, and ecology, while instructing children how to work with their real lab kit. The experiment itself involves growing seeds over a 10-day period.

The content of the lab kit is as follows:

  • a variety of seeds: beans, lentils, and garbanzos
  • a petri dish
  • a ruler
  • a magnifying glass
  • a cloth growing medium
The CD-ROM includes 4 machines in the virtual lab:
  • In the Instructocon, the lab assistant host does experiments and gives explanations of scientific concepts. It includes 45+ minutes of instructional video that correspond with the 10 day project. Each day focuses on a different topic, and includes such subjects as osmosis, photosynthesis, measurements, and more.
  • The Glossiraptor contains more than 100 terms that are defined using text as well as pictures and some animation. Definitions of terms include Legumes, Animal Kingdom, Taxonomy, Xylem, and more.
  • The InfoDrive contains a whole lot of additional facts as well as quizzes to test children's knowledge on the scientific material presented. Various forms of media are used to present these facts including animations, video, and sound clips. Topics include Talking to Plants, Amount of Gas You Pass, Photosynthesis Movie, Scientific Method, and more.
  • AutoScribe is an online journal that kids can use to record their observations and measurements. Kids can add photos to their text, and a printable report can be generated that includes graphs and photos. This report can be edited if so desired.
Children in the suggested age group can use Bean There Grown That independently. The host guides kids through their experiment step by step. For example, he will explain what a child must do ("pour 6 teaspoons of water over your seeds"), then ask them questions. The video pauses after he asks children to put their observations, measurements, thoughts, or predictions into the AutoScribe. After the day's lesson, kids are free to explore the Glossiraptor and InfoDrive.

This program is ideal for homeschooling families, school use, or for home use as a special activity that kids can take pride in. An 8 year-old tester, although at the youngest end of the suggested age group, was totally thrilled with his project. His only complaint was that the introduction was too long. He completed this project with a personal sense of accomplishment and with a much bigger understanding of the science behind plant growth.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a Pentium 166 processor, 32 Mb RAM recommended, and CD ROM drive. Mac users require a 166 MHz Mac or Power Mac with 32 Mb RAM, and a CD ROM drive.

Skills Covered
osmosis, seed anatomy, measurements, photosynthesis, classification, tropisms, leaves, ecology

Educational Value
The combination of a real-world experiment and a virtual laboratory is fantastic. Children not only see results on-screen, but get to watch their seeds grow day by day, which is an excellent experience. Loads of science facts can be absorbed from using this software, and kids also learn the benefits of the computer for generating reports, graphs, etc. to enhance their experiment.

Entertainment Value
The host is silly but he does hold kids' interest and attention. This title successfully presents science in such a way that it is fascinating to 3rd through 6th graders.

The clear instructions and explanations make this product very easy to use.

This program is based on the 10-day seed experiment, but extra lab kits can be purchased through the publisher.

Dollar Value
This product's uniqueness and educational potential make it invaluable. The home version is $40 US, and there are various pricing options for the school version.

Released: 1998