Age: 6.5 & 9.5 (Suitable for Kindergarten+)

For recommendations on other books/videos/audios, I’ve indexed them all under the Chinese Books Page.

We’re making our own sourdough starter and tonight the kids watched an episode from Science Around Us 生活裡的科學 to give them some of the vocabulary they are encountering.   Though it turned out that’s not what the episode is about, I was reminded just how great this series is for elementary kids.  I need to let them watch this after we’re done with 甜心格格 Sweetheart Princess.

Science Around Us 生活裡的科學 is a series put out by Daai TV, owned by Tzuchi Foundation, a Buddhist organization based in Taiwan.  But the series is secular.  This is the description on their website:

Science around Us is a children’s program that solves the mysteries behind all sorts of phenomena in people’s everyday life.

I wish I could translate every single episode and list it here.  But there’s 193 on their Youtube Playlist.  Here’s a sampling of their playlist with my very rough translation:

1. Taekwondo
2. Pingpong
3. Generating Electricity with Wheels
4. Tornados
9. Which Finger is the Strongest?
18.  Magnesium
21.  Fighting Gravity
36.  Dissecting Hairdryer
39.  Anti-Earthquake Technology 
44.  How Strong is Solar Energy?
48.  Amazing Hexagon
51.  Air Buoyancy
55.  Liquid Buoyancy

Here’s an episode on ways to use Lemon.

And the one on Taekwondo:

As you can see, the topics run all over the place, some are the science of man-made things you see around you, and others cover chemistry and physical science.

In many of the episodes we watched together, there is an experiment element to it.  In these experiment episodes, there are two MCs and 2-3 children participating.  The MCs often ask the children to make a hypothesis and then the children test out their hypothesis.   So one thing I’ve always wanted to do is to preview the video myself, gather the ingredients, make hypothesis and experiment alongside the show.

For example, in the bread episode, the children experimented using baking powder and yeast to make bread rise.  They baked a tiny cake at the end of the episode.  Each child had to decide just how much baking powder to put in their little cake and see whose cake rose more.  If I were more organized I would have stopped the video half way through and baked the cake with the kids.

Here’s another idea I will never have time to implement, go down the videos during once a week during a school year, conduct the experiments and study some science around that episode.

The show is a super great way to get children familiar with some daily science terminologies in Chinese and also a great supplement to a science curriculum.  We’ve binged watch the shows every once in awhile ever since Astroboy was 4.

This series is probably best for kids who have a really good basic command of Chinese, 5 or 5.5?  At 4, Astroboy really did not understand a lot of what was said and even though the show was engaging, he would eventually lose interest.   Plus there is the factor of native speakers speaking fast on TV that takes a little getting used to.   But not understanding doesn’t mean you don’t show them if they find it interesting.  In fact, the earlier they’re exposed to non-fiction TV the better.

Concurrently, the children can listen to Children-Can-Listen-Encyclopedia to increase their exposure to science and other non-fiction terms.

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