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Review CornerSoftware
I Love Science!
Rating: four and a half stars
The Bottom Line
Through a combination of question-and-answer, experimentation, and arcade-style activities, kids will learn plenty of science facts in this straightforward and engaging program.
Award of Excellence
Ages: 7-11   Subject: Science  Brand: DK Interactive Learning
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
I Love Science! Product Overview
I Love Science is designed as an interactive science lab enlivened by three animated characters — Mo, Rosie, and Al. Kids explore 3 different areas, as follows:
  • Mo's Workshop: Mo, whose full name is Mo Mentum, hosts the physics lab. Topics covered are Forces, Electricity, Light, Sound, and Heat.
  • Rosie's Treehouse: Rosie is a hilarious girl who hosts the treehouse activities that focus on biology. The activities involve sorting various pictures that are attached to a moving clothesline in arcade (timed) fashion, as well as exploratory activities within the main topics of Humans, Animals, Plants, and Environments.
  • Al's Kitchen: Kids learn about chemistry in this lab - as they test, mix, and heat materials in the kitchen. There are activities relating to Matter in the sorting, testing, changing, and separating categories. Each activity starts off with a bit of reading in the science book about the topic at hand, then kids play the activity which involves experimenting with different materials in a variety of ways, and when they're ready, they answer a series of 5 multiple choice questions.
There are 100 experiments and activities altogether that culminate in a question and answer session (multiple choice) that tests the science facts learned. Additionally, there is a science reference book to help kids out.

Each area involves first reading a short explanation of a science concept, then doing an activity related to that topic. The activity can be a timed one that involves sorting pictures into groups, or can involve freely exploring and experimenting with various materials. Once complete, kids answer a series of 5 multiple-choice questions about the science facts learned.

Additionally, there is an arcade-style activity in which kids are faced with a definition and they must click on the correct word from a number of words that fly toward them. For example, a given definition is "water as a gas" and a number of words fly out toward the screen, including the correct answer ("steam") and incorrect ones (such as "oxygen"). Other tests help to recap the lessons learned in each 3-lesson session.

An example experiment in Al's Kitchen involves experimenting with various tips (wooden, steel, marble, etc.) to see whether they will scratch tiles composed of the same materials. Kids will choose a tile — say steel — and then see what happens if they apply the plastic, wooden, steel, diamond tips to it. Children choose when they want to start the questions. An example question is: "Which is the hardest material here?" Kids choose between diamond, plastic, and wood. When they choose diamond, they are told they are correct, and they get an explanation why — the diamond tip scratches all the other materials, and none of the tips scratch the diamond tile, so it must be the hardest.

Each learning area includes a parents/teacher section that provides ideas for activities, science notes, and printable worksheets. There are also options to control the amount of animation, to copy science notes so you can paste them into a word processor, and to print options. The "Did You Know" button provides interesting facts for curious kids.

We are impressed with the fact that explanations are given when an answer is right (so kids will learn even when they made a lucky multiple-choice guess) or wrong. Keep in mind that some of the timed activities require some really fast reflexes, so kids without the best eye-hand coordination, who know their material may, feel behind.

Children interested in the world of science will find this game appealing. There is a good amount of content covered, and a nice mix of styles of learning activities — arcade, timed, exploration, and question-and-answer. The characters have just the right attitude for the targeted age group of 7-11, and are really quite funny. Rosie, for example, ends most of her statements with a rhyme ("you'll do fine, sunshine", "that was way cool, toadstool", "'fraid not, flowerpot", etc.).

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements for PCs are a 486/33, 8/12/16 Mb RAM (for Win 3.1/95/98 respectively), and 2X CD ROM. This requires hard drive space of 20 Mb. Mac users need at least a 68040/25, System 7.0, 8-12 Mb RAM, 2X CD ROM, and 20 Mb of hard drive space.

Skills Covered
experimentation and science facts: biology - plants, humans, animals, environments; physics - forces, electricity, light, sound, heat; chemistry - sorting, testing, changing, separating

Educational Value
Working through the program challenges kids to remember science facts through question-and-answer activities as well as experimentation and exploration.

Entertainment Value
The use of humor is excellent, as with the other I Love... series by DK, and the whole spirit of the program is probably perfect for the suggested age group. The approach is entertaining but not excessively so.

Design
The program is designed well with good options. Although there are no difficulty levels to choose from, kids get to choose the activities they want to play.

Replayability
The program is interesting enough that kids will want to play it again. Many will be motivated to go through all 100 experiments/activities.

Dollar Value
We find this to be an excellent value considering the good amount of content and fun experiments.

Released: 1999