8/4/13

BrainFood Learning: The Fascinating World of Mammals {Crew Review}

Supergirl loves watching movies.  I’ve found that DVDs make a great supplement for her especially for science. Thanks to the Old Schoolhouse Magazine, I was introduced to BrainFood Learning.

BrainFood Learning offers three DVDs: The Fascinating World of Birds, The Fascinating World of Insects, and The Fascinating World of Mammals. Fascinating is the perfect word to describe these fact-filled educational videos.

I own all three of these amazing DVDs but this review will focus on The Fascinating World of Mammals.  Be sure and visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog to read reviews about all three different DVDs.

The DVD menu has a play all, an individual mammal section, and a review section. The “play all” menu includes a general introduction, description, and facts about mammals. After the general facts that apply to all mammals, the viewer is introduced, one at a time to a select few specific animals. For the Mammals DVD, viewers will learn about 10 different mammals such as the giraffe, the chimpanzee, the dolphin, or the bat.  The menu selection of mammal allows you to watch, over and over again, the creature of your choice, bypassing the general facts and introduction.

Lasting an average of 3 minutes per animal, each clip features a combination of stunning still photos and beautiful video footage. Except for some of the footage of the dolphins, it looked like each one was filmed in its natural habitat. I felt like we were on a virtual safari visiting Africa to watch the lions and giraffes.

While watching the creature, a narrator tells us facts specific to the animal, such as what the young are called or that chimpanzees have opposable thumbs. Viewers learn that lions live in prides, that giraffes have four chambered stomachs, and that marine mammals still breath air with lungs. At the end of each creature’s feature a “big word” is written across the screen and defined. These are excellent science vocabulary words like zoologist.

Finally, the third menu choice, Review, brings a deeper educational level to the DVD. The Mammals Review has 5 Sections:

  1. Flash Cards
  2. Review Mammals
  3. Mammal Features
  4. Review Mammal Facts
  5. Review Big Words

I love the review sections. Some are multiple choice questions. The video waits a few moments before revealing correct answer. In my opinion the review section would be very useful for students in 2nd or 3rd grade and up. My daughter is doing 1st grade work and found some of the questions such as the Big Words sections to be a bit challenging for her but others were perfect such as the Review Mammals.

Using the DVD:

At first, I used the DVD as an introduction to mammals  At first she said they were “boring.” These videos are not entertainment videos. The Play All menu choice was a bit overwhelming for her. When we watched only the general introduction/description part of PLAY ALL and then went back to the menu to choose specific animals she was much happier. I love that you can access the mammals individually allowing a student to choose the order.

Now, I am using the DVD as a supplement to review a specific mammal when we study it in our science curriculum or animal based lapbook. We’re currently studying whales and dolphins so we’ve watched and re-watched and then watched again the video clip about whales.

When we first started watching the DVD, the website did not provide any additional information, but now Brain Food Learning has added a curriculum section with lesson plans for each of the three DVDs.  These PDFs can be found under the Curriculum Tab. I am thrilled with the picture match cards for mammals.

Even though I intended these for Supergirl, the whole family watched and enjoyed the videos.

 

Thoughts from Turtlegirl (just turned 16):

“It’s a good refresher for my knowledge of basic mammal species. It has also helped me figure out how to tell whether a giraffe is male or female (look at the horns; if they’re tufted it’s a female, if they’re ‘bald’ it’s a male). It’s also kind of nice that they have a definition for a new vocabulary word at the end of the little video for each animal. “ 

Thoughts from Tailorbear: (Age 14 1/2)

“ I like how the animals are described. Informational but not too chunky, and for those who don’ t know what a ruminant animal is, or any other strange word, There is a definition for it at the end of the video. I also like how they told you how to differentiate male from female. I think this is a good video for new mammal learners, and old students brushing up on what they already know!”

I recommend this DVD as a supplement to any animal study. Upper elementary students could keep a science vocabulary notebook and could use the review sections for notebooking ideas. My 14 year old and my 16 year old enjoyed watching the creature clips with my 1st grade daughter. I found myself fascinated with the beautiful video footage and I have to admit that I learned some new things about mammals. We’ll be continuing to use this as part of my 1st grader’s science program.

Thoughts from Supergirl:

I like the video. I like to watch the dolphins and giraffes, lions and zebras. And elephants. Oh and moose. It’s great. It’s a great video. I learned that dolphins communicate. I learn that beavers live in water and they build homes. They use their teeth to cut down the trees. The babies stay with their parents. The DVD is fun.

The Details:

  • Vendor: BrainFood Learning
  • Product: The Fascinating World of Mammals
  • Age Recommendation: Ages 3 to 11 is suggested but the video is appropriate for ALL ages!
  • Price: $14.99

Watch a Preview!

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read what others have to say about Brain Food Learning and the Fascinating World Of series DVDs.

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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.
You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews by clicking here.

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