GeoKit: Fish, Reptiles, & Amphibians
Finley, Sally, Multimedia Schools
Company: National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; Phone: 800/368-2728; Web: http://www.nationalgeographic.org/.
Price: $220--single copy.
Audience: The publisher recommends the GeoKit series for grades 6-12 and the reviewed title for grades 5-8.
Format: Multimedia curriculum kit with VHS tapes, color transparencies, maps, graphic organizers, and online links.
Minimum System Requirements: A computer with Internet access and an Internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape. A VCR is needed to view the VHS tapes. An overhead projector is required for the color transparencies.
Description: GeoKit: Fish, Reptiles, & Amphibians is a multimedia kit focusing on scientific inquiry skills in the life sciences. The kit's videotapes, online links, graphic organizers, transparencies, maps, and class sets of National Geographic magazine articles help students to conduct research on fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
Installation/Access: The multimedia portions were straightforward and worked well. The Internet links were easily accessed. Installation/Access Rating: A
Content/Features: GeoKit: Fish, Reptiles, and Amphibians is a multimedia resource kit designed for use in secondary science classrooms. The kit is one of 14 GeoKit curriculum modules offered by National Geographic.
Additional kit titles include Cells and Microorganisms, Dynamic Earth, Oceans, Insects and Arachnids, Pollution, Rocks and Minerals, Plants, Astronomy, Earth's History, JASON Project Expedition, Ancient Egypt, and Human Body I and II. Each GeoKit contains a wealth of materials, offering teachers integrated lesson plans through standards-driven instruction in geography and earth and life science.
Kit components include videos, a Teacher's Guide, hands-on activities, Internet activities, overhead transparencies, a glossary, Q&A cards, poster-maps, binder and slipcase, assessment guidelines, and a class pack of National Geographic articles.
The kit's Reading Guides focus on comprehension skills related to three National Geographic magazine article excerpts. The videos offer comprehensive footage and are accompanied by student and teacher viewing guides.
The guided Internet activities offer online research for collaboration in small groups. The maps provide opportunities to integrate geography standards into science. The color transparencies enhance basic concepts.
The lessons are non-sequential and designed to supplement classroom instruction, not replace it. The videos are outstanding, with actual footage sure to appeal to older students. The narration was provided by middle school students who were supposedly sharing presentations of research they had conducted in the classroom. The video segments occasionally contained cartoon animals who provided an element of humor to the documentary.
Some of the strongest features, in addition to the high-quality videos, were the graphic organizers and student handouts. …