BrainFood Learning: The Fascinating World of Insects {TOS review}

The Fascinating World of Insects is one of three DVDs in the Fascinating World of series of videos by BrainFood Learning, which is a company that was started by parents of small children. Their videos manage to capture the attention of children as young as two years old and as old as adults (me) with the presentation of animals and insects in their natural habitat, introduction to vocabulary words and providing interesting content.

We were given the opportunity to review a physical DVD of either the Fascinating World of Birds or the Fascinating World of Insects or the Fascinating World of Mammals. I allowed the children to choose, which one we would see. Of course, they chose the insects. That is fine, but I am not a fan of anything that is really, really small, has legs and is creepy.

Despite that, I did not allow my personal feelings to get in the way of a learning experience.

The Fascinating World of Insects is a little over 40 minutes long, so you are able to watch it in one sitting. BrainFood Learning actually intends for children to watch the video several times, which is something that younger children tend to do (just like reading the same book a cazillion times).

There are 11 insects: ants, grasshoppers, lady bugs, rhino beetle, firefly, mosquitos, honey bee, water sliders, praying mantis, dragonfly and butterfly presented in the video and a new vocabulary word (“Big Word”) is shown and defined before the viewer is introduced to a new insect. One of the earlier words that you learn is entomologist, which is one who studies insects. Viewers learn more “big words” like scientific name, which is a longer name for each insect; proboscis, which is a “long nose for sucking and piercing”; and larva, which is a baby insect.

BrainFood Learning also has free lesson plans (insects; mammals; and birds) for each video that provides more learning opportunities using science, reading and writing activities, which takes the learning past just a one-time sit-down watching of the DVD.

River, Lily and Canyon answering the review questions.

At the end of the DVD is a five-part review that covers the following:

1. Insect flash cards (showed pictures of the insects for review before taking the multiple choice)
2. Review your insects (multiple choice)
3. Parts of an insect
4. Review of insect facts
5. Review of big words (vocabulary words)

I set the DVD up and have to honestly say that I had no intention of watching it with my children. Quite simply, bugs totally creep me out and I was not in the mood to be grossed out.

I sat down for a few minutes and watched the introduction. A few minutes into the DVD became 10 minutes and soon 20 minutes, where I found myself just as much engrossed in the presentation as my children. This reminded me of BrainFood Learning’s goal:

The goal of our video content is to capture the attention of the viewer and teach them a wide range of words and concepts

My attention was definitely captured and I will say that I was able to watch the DVD without having to turn away.

Lily celebrating that she got all of the review answers right.

Before we moved to the town where we now live, the only insect that we regularly saw was ants. Since we have lived here, I believe that we have seen every one of the insects presented in The fascinating World of Insects. I think that I also solved a mystery regarding one of the bugs I have seen before watching the DVD and was unable to identify. After watching The Fascinating World of Insects, I believe that it was a rhino beetle.

Some cool facts that we learned after watching the DVD are:

• Fireflies found east of Kansas are the only ones that glow (we never learned why). The glow is a way they communicate with each other and also ward off its enemies.

• Only female mosquitos suck blood, which they take back to feed their larva.

• Mosquitos can grow from egg to larva to adult in less than seven days.

• Grasshoppers spit a brown substance (we never learned what is was or is called) that protects them from predators.

• Lady bugs flap their wings 85 times per second.

• Lady bugs and praying mantis are friends of the farmer, because they eat insects that damage crops.

• Ants, described as “highly social and organized” insects, have two stomachs for storing food for itself and another. They can also lift 20 times their body weight, which is the equivalent of a human lifting an automobile.

• Dragonflies, which eat mosquitos, can have a wingspan (a BrainFood Learning Big Word) as wide as eight inches.

Take a peek at this video to see a preview of the Fascinating World of Insects:

Although the mentioned age range for the Fascinating World of series is ages two through about 13 years old, I think that it would be a fun-watch for a parent and a child. After all, I sat, watched and enjoyed the video. I even learned some interesting facts along the way.

The Fascinating World of Insects is available as a DVD for $14.99 plus shipping.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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