With its approachable and understandable video instruction, strong science learning and myriad of fun hands-on experiments, Supercharged Science is a convenient, effective and engaging K-12 online homeschool science program that can really help students connect to and enjoy STEM learning.
What We Like
But watch out for…
What Is Supercharged Science?
Created by author, mom and former NASA scientist Aurora Lipper, Supercharged Science is a hands-on, self-paced and online homeschool science curriculum.
The program offers instruction across a variety of science subjects, including chemistry, physics, life science, earth science and biology, and teaches using a combination of live classes, recorded video, hands-on experiments and demonstrations, readings, exercises, quizzes and more.
What Ages or Grades is Supercharged Science Appropriate For?
Supercharged Science is aimed at, and provides science courses for, students across the K-12 age range, including classes in:
- Earth Science
- Life Science
- Physical Science
- And more
To do so, the program is broadly structured along two methods of study.
Parents can use Supercharged Science as an eScience curriculum, where the program is broken down by grade and arranges topics accordingly.
With this method, families can simply click the grade in which their student belongs and start learning the different science topics relevant to that grade level.
The program also arranges its material by topic, which are more like focused explorations of a particular concept in science (mechanics, energy, motion and so on).
In this way, rather than diving into an entire grade’s worth of science, students can pick and choose the topics they are most interested in studying.
As a result of this twin track, we feel there is a good deal of flexibility built into Supercharged Science that homeschools should find pretty useful.
It can either be used as a full curriculum that serves as the backbone of home science study or as individual courses that can slot easily into unit studies, unschooling, remediation and so on.
Homeschooling parents should be aware, however, that there is no real placement test for the program as it largely follows grade level.
Those switching into Supercharged Science from a non-traditional science program will need to do a bit of looking around and/or align themselves to the curriculum using the company’s “Grade Level Outline.”
In addition to this resource, and to Supercharged Science’s credit, the program does include little introductory videos before each unit that can be used as a kind of topical overview to see if a student is ready for the material.
Parents should note, however, that if they do decide to go by topic (rather than grade) they are a little limited, being given access to 1-2 additional topics in addition to that in which they are interested.
Those who choose to go by grade level, on the other hand, have access to all units and topics for that grade.
That said, parents can always email the company to get special access to any topics that they would like to learn about.
What Materials Are Included In Supercharged Science?
Supercharged Science is an online science program and most of its resources are provided online with a subscription and are accessible through a main account.
As a result, there aren’t generally a lot of materials for parents to buy, store and keep track of beyond materials for their experiments.
A self-guided program, Supercharged Science’s teaching tends to center around:
- instructional videos and seminars
- Student packets
- Teacher’s Guide or Planner
- And various experiments, which we will discuss a little later on
Supercharged science primarily uses video as its method of instruction.
These videos are hosted by Ms. Lipper herself, who explains various scientific concepts using a combination of lectures, props, physical demonstrations, pictures and short videos.
Courses also include full lab videos where Ms. Lipper goes through a complete experiment from start to finish, which can be helpful if parents or students run out of time or can’t do a particular experiment themselves, as well as longer seminar videos, which are full lectures taken from Mr. Lipper’s live classes.
With the exception of the seminar “tele-classes,” which tend to be around 30-45 minutes long, Supercharged Science videos tend to be fairly short, usually under 10 minutes long, and tend to be fairly to the point.
As a result, video lessons tend not to be as overwhelming or frustrating for students, particularly those who find it hard to pay attention to a screen for long periods of time.
By and large, Ms. Lipper also uses a very approachable, energetic and straightforward teaching style that can make science and scientific concepts a lot more understandable and easier to digest for students.
At the same time, although taught in a fun and approachable manner, we feel she treats the science itself very professionally, diving into topics thoroughly enough and using all the proper terminology and even math that students are expected to know.
On the downside, although very educational, there aren’t a whole lot of entertaining animations or actors involved, such as can be found in Generation Genius or similar programs.
While this does keep internet usage down and speeds up loading times, and while it does keep the focus on the science itself rather than on any special effects, some students may find it a little plain after a while.
Further, Ms. Lipper does tend to speak quite quickly, which can be hard for some students to follow at times.
Interestingly, video lectures for Supercharged Science, at time of writing anyway, are available in both streaming and, in the case of the stopic study option, as DVDs.
The availability of course material in physical media does set Supercharged Science apart from many other online homeschool science programs out there, such as Mel Science or even Generation Genius, which tend to only offer digital streaming.
This can allow Supercharged Science to be a bit more useful to homeschools located in more rural areas or in areas with poor internet service, as well as for homeschooling parents who simply don’t feel comfortable leaving their children alone with an active internet connection.
In addition to the videos, Supercharged Science offers students downloadable and printable student packets that they can use to follow along in each lesson.
Written to students, these student packets tend to form the second half of Supercharged Science’s self-study method.
These packets generally include a brief written overview of the video lesson material, which allows students to follow along a little easier or review the concepts as needed.
Although they don’t contain a huge amount of photos or illustrations (there are some), these overviews are also written in an approachable and straightforward manner, making them a little easier and more fun to read than a standard textbook.
In addition to these readings, the student packets also include questions and exercises to complete, data tables to fill out, quizzes and even a suggested schedule.
By and large, the student packets are pretty sensibly organized and laid out, and do a pretty good job at guiding students through a lesson without much issue.
Although it is designed to be more of a self-guided science program, those who pick up the DVD version of the course can also access a Teacher’s Guide for each course.
These planners are, like the student packets, downloadable and printable PDFs, and contain the material from the student packets as well as an overview of how the program works, tips for teaching, troubleshooting, a master materials list for experiments, an overview of each course and its concepts and even some help on navigating the website, which can be helpful.
They are written for a classroom setting, however, so homeschooling parents may have to adapt accordingly.
Approach To Teaching Science
As mentioned previously, while students can download and print student packets with readings and concept outlines, the core of Supercharged Science’s instruction comes in the form of its video lessons.
These video lessons come in three forms – recorded lab demonstrations and topic introductions, live zoom session classes taught by Ms. Lipper and recordings of those sessions that students can watch at their own pace.
These video lessons and labs can make science a lot more engaging and interesting for students compared to typical textbook learning, as Ms. Lipper is able to make use of props, on-screen demonstrations, cutaway video and pictures and more during each recording to both explain concepts and make things more fun.
With recorded videos, students can also pause, rewind and rewatch concepts that they may have missed the first time around.
Supercharged Science’s video-based learning can also help students with different learning styles, as the audio-visual instruction works alongside the readings and hands-on components to create a more multisensory learning experience.
Parents should be aware, however, that as with other video-based courses students will spend considerably more time sitting in front of a screen with this style of teaching compared to more traditional, textbook-based learning methods.
Self-guided science study
Supercharged Science is designed to be a more or less self-guided method of studying science.
Aside from the experiments, which may require parental oversight and supervision, the combination of videos and guided student packets and readings mean that students should be able to go through the program’s lessons more independently.
This can, of course, be an ideal solution for busier parents and those whose own science skills are a bit rusty as it can take a lot of the pressure off of teaching physics, chemistry, biology and more.
How independent the program actually is, however, really depends on the student in question.
Supercharged Science does approach science in a fairly in-depth manner and, although she explains things in a pretty approachable and straightforward way, the readings and videos that Ms. Lipper provides don’t really dumb the material down or avoid using proper terminology.
As a result, in order to properly study the material on their own, students do need a certain level of reading and comprehension skill and younger students (K-3, for example) will probably need a bit of parental help and supervision during lessons.
Hands-on learning and experiments
While the vast majority of science curricula out there have a significant lab or experimental component to them (after all, how can you learn science without doing science?), we feel that Supercharged Science places a stronger emphasis on hands-on learning than most.
The program uses hands-on learning as a way of getting kids curious and excited about learning science, typically diving into theory only after the experimental component.
This differs from most other homeschool science programs that tend to keep lab work to the end of a unit or sprinkle them throughout the lectures or lessons.
Overall, the program contains 1500+ demonstrations and experiments, or about 60-80 per unit, so there is quite a few opportunities for students to get messy trying their hands at science.
Those who opt to participate in the the guided program, i.e. those who follow along with Ms. Lipper’s schedule, can also access to periodic design challenges and even a yearly science fair project.
This focus on hands-on learning continues well into the high school level, with students being able to take on more complex scientific challenges and formal lab experiments (like building an adjustable voltage divider or working with lasers)
By and large, the experiments in Supercharged Science are based on common household materials, so there’s nothing unusual that the company needs to send or that parents will need to buy.
Given that most of the items can be found in large discount stores and supermarkets, it also helps to keep costs down and makes setting things up a little more intuitive for parents and students.
Ms. Lipper also includes videos for each lab that can be used to walk students and parents through the experiment (including setup) and its results, which can be especially helpful for new homeschooling parents.
Interestingly, Ms. Lipper has allowed commenting on her website, which is fairly unique among online programs, so that users can read what others think about the experiments or the underlying concepts, areas they had trouble with and so on, as well as Ms. Lipper’s often informative replies.
On the downside, having so many labs in a unit can require a little more time and effort during lessons.
To go through the program properly, parents and students will, of course, have to take the time to gather materials, set up the experiment, run the experiment, interpret and record results and, of course, clean up afterwards.
This can extend the length of any given lesson, which in turn can impact a student’s homeschool schedule, which is something to keep in mind.
Additionally, the use of household materials, rather than a specialized lab kit or virtual tools, also means that parents may have to go shopping for supplies periodically, as not every household will have all the materials for each unit on hand.
Similarly, there can occasionally be some items that aren’t exactly that common, depending on where a homeschool is located, such as neodymium magnets or liquid crystal sheets.
How it Works
As we’ve previously mentioned, Supercharged Science is an online homeschool science program.
Once parents and students sign up for the program, they can then log into the company’s website and begin accessing full grades worth of science materials.
Alternatively, they can choose to learn specific topics in science (energy, motion, matter and so on).
In either case, each grade or topic is subdivided into different units and lessons that students cover over the course of about 34-36 weeks on a 2-3 lesson/week schedule.
In terms of the program’s pace, homeschooling families can either choose to follow a more structured pathway, where they can follow along with Ms. Lipper throughout the year, attending live Zoom classes (or watching their recordings) at certain times a couple times a week, completing assignments/quizzes on a set schedule, much like a virtual class.
For those who prefer to work at their own pace, have really busy schedules or who live in time zones that make attending live classes infeasible, Supercharged Science also supports self-guided study.
With self-guided learning, students can choose to watch session recordings and lesson videos at their own pace, completing experiments, exercises and quizzes on their own schedule.
For the most part, learning in Supercharged Science is pretty straightforward.
Each topic is introduced in a general reading and video lecture, after which students progress through a series of several lessons.
Hosted by Ms. Lipper, the videos provide core instruction, often in more detail than the readings, and often demonstrate scientific concepts on screen.
Students can download a student packet, which contains relevant readings.
Students are also encouraged to make a science journal to help them take notes on and keep track of what they’re learning.
Supercharged Science even offers tips and guidance to help students learn to organize and structure their notes, which is always nice.
Following the introduction of a concept, students are usually presented with a series of hands-on lab experiments and labs that serve to introduce and explain concepts in more depth.
Each experiment comes with its own short video (3-15 min), where Ms. Lipper walks students through the scientific concept in question, the experiment, its purpose, set up and execution, as well as discussing results.
Following the experiments, students can access a variety of readings and exercises in their student pack to help formalize and reinforce the learning.
There are also written explanations of the experiments, with information about the expected outcome and the scientific principles they demonstrate, which can be helpful if students don’t have time to complete an experiment, if they don’t understand something or if things go terribly wrong along the way.
These might be a simple set of questions, advanced or enriched questions for deeper learning, data recording exercises, or charts and graphs that can help students record information to analyze later on.
One thing that parents will have to be aware of is that the answers to the various exercises are also included, so they may have to step in to prevent frustrated students from taking a sneaky peak.
At the end of each unit, students are presented with an evaluation exercise, typically a quiz, which can help evaluate their retention of information and identify any gaps in knowledge that may have arisen.
Overall, we found Supercharged Science to be a pretty fun, convenient and effective way for students to learn science.
The program’s labs, video instruction and reading packets all explain scientific concepts clearly, in plain language and in a very step-by-step manner.
As a result, they can make even advanced concepts more understandable to young students, for example being able to teach the essentials of electromagnetism or balanced vs unbalanced forces to third graders.
At the same time, the program’s lessons treat the science very professionally and, through the videos, labor and associated exercises, actually dig pretty deeply into the material in question, avoiding the more superficial coverage of topics that some homeschool science programs are known for.
In fact, at the high school level, Supercharged Science actually goes beyond the typical chemistry, physics and biology classes typically offered to homeschoolers, offering courses and lessons in things like astronomy, math, electronics, robotics and more.
We also liked the fact that the experiments and hands-on learning opportunities were not only plentiful, but also relevant.
Rather than relying on abstract lab experiments, many of the demonstrations and experiments included in Supercharged Science are based around real-life questions, problems or experiences that students can readily understand and/or get excited about.
For example, students might explore Newton’s Third Law by building a roof or bridge, explore the conservation of momentum by launching balls off one another, using stomp rockets, laser microscopes, or building a mini-ecosystem in a plastic bottle.
Finally, we liked the fact that Supercharged Science tends to keep things fairly short.
With the exception of the occasional seminar, most video lessons are about 10 or so minutes long, while the experiments themselves are pretty short and focused on specific concepts.
As a result, most students should be able to get through a complete lesson in Supercharged Science in about 40-50 minutes or so, which shouldn’t be too intimidating or frustrating for students to work through.
On the downside, the Supercharged Science website isn’t the most sophisticated we’ve ever seen.
Although it is an improvement over previous iterations, and while the company is constantly improving things, it is a little old school, can be a bit clunky and can take time to learn to navigate.
That said, once we got a handle on things and learned where everything was located, things did load and work pretty smoothly, which is the key thing with a learning management system.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Supercharged Science can be a little advanced at times for certain students, at least compared to some other homeschool science programs we’ve looked at.
For example, students in the first grade may be expected to learn things like diffraction, how a compound microscope works, learn about waves and molecules and so on.
While not at all a bad thing, and while the program does make these topics more approachable for younger students, it still may require parents to step in a little more and work through experiments a little more slowly to help students understand things properly.
How Easy is Supercharged Science to Teach
We feel that Supercharged Science is fairly easy to use as a homeschool science program.
Although a lot depends on the individual student, the program is designed to be as self-guided as possible.
The videos and student packets do an excellent job at guiding students (and/or parents) through each lesson, its experiments and its practice/evaluation.
This becomes even easier for those who choose to follow the live class format, following along with Ms. Lipper’s year-long classes.
Much like a virtual class, in this case the pacing and scheduling is clearly laid out and parents simply need to move into more of an oversight role, making sure students attend and complete their exercises on time.
As a result of all this, parents don’t really need a lot of teaching experience or scientific knowledge to help their students through Supercharged Science, making it ideal for new homeschoolers and those with a weaker science background.
As a heavily hands-on program, however, Supercharged Science does include a lot of experiments in each unit and so will require parents to gather the materials required and organize/prepare them ahead of each lesson, so there is a bit of prep work required from the program.
Is Supercharged Science Secular?
We would argue that Supercharged Science is more of a neutral science program than a secular science curriculum.
Although it doesn’t contain any religious content and makes no reference to God or the bible, in order to be more widely usable to homeschools Supercharged Science also doesn’t teach topics such as evolution.
Consequently, while it will probably suit most homeschools well, it may not be as appropriate for those interested in a strictly secular science curriculum.
Pros and Cons
Approachable, engaging science instruction
Whether it’s through her videos or through the readings included in each student packet, Ms. Lipper teaches using a clear, straightforward and step-by-step method that does an excellent job at helping students grasp sometimes complex science topics.
Extremely hands-on science curriculum
With over 1500 experiments, Supercharged Science is a very hands-on science program that focuses heavily on getting students interested in and doing science, rather than just reading about it.
Interesting, fun and relatable experiments
Not only does Supercharged Science have a lot of experiments for students to engage with, they are actually quite fun and relevant.
Depending on the topic, students might build electronics, bounce balls, race cans, make their own indoor weather, build speakers and much more.
Experiments use easy to find, inexpensive household materials
Unlike some other science curricula that require parents to purchase lab equipment, the vast majority of Supercharged Science experiments can be done with relatively inexpensive and easily sourced household goods, reducing the overall burden on parents when it comes to gathering and preparing materials for learning.
Strong science learning and practice
Through its combination of video instruction and hands-on learning, Supercharged Science does make scientific concepts more approachable for students.
At the same time, however, the program treats its subjects very professionally, never dumbing down the material and exploring concepts in a fair amount of depth and with all the appropriate terminology and math.
Supercharged Science’s videos, website and learning materials are designed to help guide students through each lesson with a minimum of parental supervision.
In other words, busier homeschools and those interested in promoting greater independence in learning can use it as a self-guided/self-study program.
Lots of interesting topics in science
Supercharged Science goes above and beyond the usual courses in biology, chemistry and physics, allowing students to study more specialized topics in astronomy, electronics and even aviation.
A little pricey
Starting at over $40 per month, Supercharged Science isn’t the cheapest science program out there and it can be a little much for homeschoolers on stricter budgets.
In addition, although it uses fairly common materials for its experiments, there are quite a few projects in each unit and the materials lists can get quite lengthy.
Lessons can move a little quickly for some students
Although she does explain concepts simply and understandably, Ms. Lipper does speak a bit quickly and it can be hard at times for certain students, such as those with processing difficulties, to understand.
Who Is Supercharged Science Ideal For?
Busy parents looking for self-guided science study
As it does an excellent job at guiding students through lessons and experiments, Supercharged Science can be an excellent resource for parents who simply don’t have a lot of time or ability to sit down and teach their students science.
Fans of video based learning
Some students do well with textbook-based learning, while others excel with more dynamic, audio-visual lessons.
With its clear, engaging and understandable videos and seminars, Supercharged Science can be a great curriculum for the latter.
Students who love hands-on learning
Supercharged Science is one of the more hands-on science programs we’ve encountered.
With well over a thousand science projects in total and dozens in each unit it offers students a lot of opportunity to get their hands dirty and do science, rather than just learn about it.
Students intimidated by science
With its plain-spoken videos, readers, demonstrations and experiments, Supercharged Science can make science learning more approachable and easier for students who have had a hard time learning it in the past.
Students who like short, to the point lessons
At less than an hour long, Supercharged Science lessons aren’t particularly long or difficult for students to get through, making learning a lot less frustrating for students (and parents).
Students who like the freedom to explore what interests them
In addition to offering more structured, grade-level courses, Supercharged Science offers students the ability to pick and choose topics that actually interest them, making it a good option for those interested in unit studies or even unschooling.
Who Is It Not Ideal For?
Parents who want to reduce overall screen time
An online program that teaches primarily through video lessons, Supercharged Science can involve quite a bit of screen time per week, which can be an issue for some parents.
Students looking for a textbook curriculum
While many students will appreciate the video learning and the freedom to explore different topics and experiments that comes with Supercharged Science, others may prefer a more formal and directive textbook approach to learning.
Parents who hate gathering or shopping for supplies
Supercharged Science uses relatively common and inexpensive materials for its projects and experiments, most of which can be found in local stores.
Because the program has so many experiments and hands-on projects, the lists of required materials for any given unit can be pretty and can require parents to go shopping from time to time.
Supercharged Science is an online science program and is priced as a subscription model.
Parents can choose to subscribe to the program on a monthly basis, which costs:
- K-8: $47/month
- 9-12: $67/month
Those willing to purchase a year’s subscription up front do get a bit of a discount, however.
- K-8: $373/year
- 9-12: $567/year
As always, it is always important that parents check for the program’s latest prices, as well as for any discounts or deals that could be on offer.
Is Supercharged Science Worth The Price?
Although perhaps not the cheapest science curriculum around, we feel that Supercharged Science can offer quite a bit of value to homeschooling families.
A subscription to the program provides students with tons of readings, videos and even seminars that introduce and explore scientific concepts in a clear and understandable, yet thoroughly professional, manner.
Supercharged Science also provides students with a huge number of interesting and fun lab experiments that can help them dive more deeply into scientific concepts, and whose practical nature can help them better understand some of science’s more abstract laws and ideas.
At the same time, the company also provides standards-aligned student packets for each unit, including lab guidance, exercises, quizzes, reviews and more, all of which help formalize and reinforce student learning.
Finally, Supercharged Science is also well-designed as a self-guided/self-study program, requiring significantly less direct parental involvement and teaching than many of its competitors.
This can be of great help to busy parents, allowing them to get back to myriad of other tasks that homeschooling often requires, as well as parents who are new to teaching or are unsure of their own science knowledge and skill.
With its approachable and understandable video instruction, strong science learning and myriad of fun hands-on experiments, Supercharged Science is a convenient, effective and engaging K-12 online homeschool science program that can really help students connect to and enjoy STEM learning.
About the Author
David Belenky is a freelance writer, former science and math tutor and a tech enthusiast. When he’s not writing about educational tech, he likes to chill out with his family and dog at home.