Ultimate Science Curriculum Series

Ultimate Science Curriculum Series

Supercharged Science offers programs for kindergarten through high school in several formats. I review their e-Science and grade-level lessons in a separate review, and I also review their Mastery programs that include most of the experiment resources in yet another review. The Ultimate Science Curriculum series addresses individual topics with short courses and full-year courses, all of which teach primarily through videos and experiments.

Courses on DVD or Online

Courses are online, and some are still available on a single DVD that runs on a computer. (DVD video presentations will run on a television monitor, but the resolution will be much poorer.) The courses still available on either DVD or online are Astronomy (1, 2, and 3), Chemistry (1, 2, and 3), Earth Science (1 and 2), Electricity, Energy (1 and 2), Forces and Motion (1 and 2), Life Science 1, Life Science 2: Human Anatomy, Light (1 and 2), Magnetism, and Mathemagic Camp (which has lots of fun math-related activities). Each course has a common theme, but some courses (e.g., Earth Science 2) seem to be a random selection of topics within the thematic area, while others are more sequentially organized.

The courses vary in length, taking from 12 to 32 weeks each to complete. Lipper recommends them for various age-range groupings from kindergarten through third grade up to grades five through eight. Check this website page to see which courses are recommended for different levels.

The courses contain video presentations for each lesson, a PDF Parent and Teachers Guide, and a PDF student book.

Parent and Student Books

The student book for each course is generally about 60 to 90 pages long. The student books include material to read, questions to answer, and data recording activities for each lesson. At the back of each student book, you will also find information about the scientific method, lab safety, methods for teaching science, and a glossary with vocabulary words introduced in these lessons.

The Parent and Teachers Guide has all the material in the student book plus very helpful teaching suggestions, a list of materials, suggested sources for unusual items, and answer keys. The teaching suggestions are written for a group class in a traditional classroom, but homeschoolers can adapt many of the ideas. Some parents and teachers will also want to use the end-of-course evaluations that include both a lab practicum and a written test.


While most of the instruction comes from video presentations, each lesson has some brief material to read from the student book. Sometimes the video presentation focuses on the experiment, while the student book provides a more complete explanation of what the experiment teaches.

Video presentations are live-action with Lipper providing voice-over instruction. Videos sometimes include photographs and illustrations. Lipper demonstrates all the experiments, and step-by-step instructions are also in the books. Parents will probably want to watch the videos with their children so they are prepared to help as needed, and they will need to look over the lesson in advance to gather materials and prepare for the experiments.

A few video presentations for some courses are from other sources or presenters, and some lessons have more than one video. For example, lesson 17 in Astronomy 2 features four videos: one of a space shuttle launch, two from JPL Laboratories and the Chandra X-Ray Center, respectively, and a fourth by Lipper demonstrating the experiment.


Some experiments are relatively simple, while others might be suitable for science fair projects. (At least one course, Magnetism, has a fully developed science fair project as an example.) You should find most of the required materials around the house, but some courses require more specific or specialized resources than others. For example, Astronomy 1 requires liquid crystal thermometers (available at fish aquarium stores) and music makers such as a tuning fork, a recorder, a harmonica, or other musical instrument. Earth Science 2 requires specific sets of rocks and minerals. While each course is suitable for three or more grade levels, some experiments will be more appropriate for older students than for younger ones within that range.

Online-only Courses

Some topical courses are offered only online. These courses combine what would be equivalent to three of the DVD courses into single courses. Topics for these courses are Marine Biology, Oceanography, and Underwater Robotics; Robotics: Build Your Own Robot; Renewable and Alternative Energy; Aviation; Biology; Civil Engineering; Rocks, Crystals, Gems, Minerals & Meteorites; and Chemistry. Some of these courses can be used for students in the elementary grades, and a few can be used for high school.

The online courses include downloadable resources similar to those that come with the DVD courses.


These Ultimate Science courses are superb for tackling special topics. They can be used alongside other learning resources if you want more "book learning." However, the hands-on approach is likely to motivate children to explore these topics on their own, which is often the most effective way for anyone to learn.

Everything Supercharged Science sells comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and comprehensive technical support.

Those who want more in-depth information can read the following, more-detailed reviews of selected courses.

Astronomy 1, 2, and 3

There are three introductory Astronomy courses that teach about the universe, stars, and planets. Lipper recommends them progressively for grades K through 3, 4 through 6, and 6 through 8, but I think they are all most suitable for students in about fourth grade and above. Each can be used as a stand-alone course.

The first two courses begin with the same lesson--one that is much lengthier than most other lessons. That lesson sets the stage with a recorded webinar class presentation by Aurora Lipper. This video presentation runs a little over an hour and includes some intriguing photos from the Hubble telescope as it presents fascinating facts about the universe, stars, and planets. You might want to have children watch the first video in segments if the entire video exceeds their attention span. There is a lot of information conveyed, so spreading it out might be good just to keep from overwhelming students. This video is so interesting that students might not mind watching it more than once.

After the first lesson in each course, the rest of the lessons have shorter video presentations, some only a few minutes long and others up to about 10 minutes in length. Every lesson includes a science experiment or hands-on activity. A few lessons use games, and almost every lesson has a paper-and-pencil, data-recording activity of some sort. Most lessons conclude with review questions.

In Astronomy 1, in addition to the introductory overview, students learn about the solar system, magnetic fields, the atmosphere, the rotation of the earth and seasons, the water cycle on Earth, volcanoes, star gazing, helioseismology (wave oscillations in the Sun), microscopes and telescopes, and star charting.

Note that a few activity pages in this course need to be printed out in color for use in a game while others can be printed in black-and-white. Astronomy 1 has 12 lessons and should take about 12 weeks to complete.

Astronomy 2 is a 10-week course with 17 lessons. After the introductory lesson, new topics introduced include topics such as the relative size and distance from the sun of planets within our solar system, the effect of the atmosphere on a planet’s temperature, lunar phases, heat produced by the inner core of Neptune, binary planetary systems, the gravity of various celestial objects, and sundials.

Astronomy 3 is a 20-week course with 14 lessons. Among topics covered are Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion, Earth’s magnetic pulse, retrograde motion, the math involved in launching rockets, Jupiter’s lightning bolts, meteorites, Jupiter’s moons, the sun, detecting cosmic rays, spectrometers, fire and optics, reflector and refractor telescopes, and black holes.

Earth Science 1 and 2

Earth Science 1 is an introductory-level course with 32 lessons. While you could do one lesson per week, some are simple enough that you can easily complete two lessons per week. While Lipper recommends the course for grades K through 3, it seems to me more appropriate for grades 2 through 8. If you use it for the upper-grade range, you will need to supplement with additional learning activities to comprise a complete year-long course.

This course is very practical. Students begin with an introduction that explains the components of a weather station that students will build and use for their experiments. They will build a barometer, a thermometer, a cloud tracker, a rain gauge, and other devices which they will then use to measure and track the weather. Weather, then is the primary topic of most lessons in this course, although that topic stretches to include lessons about broader topics such as desalinization, thermal energy and currents, the properties of freshwater, and the production of energy by sunlight, water, and wind.

In addition to weather station experiments, students do many other experiments such as creating a hot air balloon to learn about the properties of air, temperature, and pressure. Some experiments are very brief, taking no more than two minutes for Lipper to demonstrate on the DVD. Since she explains how and why each experiment works in her presentation, you might want to have students perform the experiments from instructions in the book before watching the video. They can try to answer questions either in advance or after watching the video, whichever seems most productive to you. Most experiments use items you’ll already have on hand, with the exception of a liquid crystal sheet.

Earth Science 2 is about geology, with an emphasis on rocks and minerals. Three brief introductory videos set the stage for 28 experiments.

Students work with an assortment of rocks and minerals. Experiments begin with identification tests: color, streak, and hardness tests. Then students examine cleavage and fracture characteristics, perform acid tests (can be done with vinegar), and examine rocks and minerals for density, luster, and other features to help them understand the composition of each one. Students then do experiments to produce limestone and sandstone, create rigid foam, make a “test-tube cannon,” create their own fossils, create laundry soap crystals that grow over time, and much more.

This course is best for older students since some of the experiments, such as burning coal and making polyurethane foam, are a little bit dangerous. Also, the science is more difficult than in Earth Science 1. Lipper's recommendation is for grades 3 through 6, but I would recommend it for sixth-grade level and above, even for high school students.

Resources required are more challenging than for Earth Science 1, although Lipper often suggests simpler alternatives. In the downloadable course guide, she includes links for the few items that might be difficult to find: copper sulfate, calcium hydroxide, Polyurethan A and B, and a longwave UV light.

Pricing Information

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DVD courses - $74.95 each
Mathemagic - $99.97
online-only courses (equivalent to three DVD courses) - $225 each

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Instant Key

  • Need For Parent or Teacher Instruction: varies
  • Learning Environment: all situations
  • Grade Level: grades K-12
  • Educational Methods: traditional activity pages or exercises, multisensory, lots of variety, hands-on, experiential, discovery or inquiry, critical thinking, creative activities, auditory
  • Technology: video, supplemental digital content, online, DVD
  • Educational Approaches: unschooling or relaxed homeschooling, unit study, eclectic
  • Religious Perspective: secular but Christian friendly

Publisher's Info

Note: Publishers, authors, and service providers never pay to be reviewed. They do provide free review copies or online access to programs for review purposes.

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