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spacer all reviews > > > science software

Bean There Grown That

Curious Company

Ages 8 to 12

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
5.0
Kid Appeal
4.0
Ease of Use
4.5

Bean There Grown That Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

This "botany lab in a box" provides users with everything they need to learn about and experience growing beans from seeds. The kit includes an instructional and informational CD-ROM and an easy-to-use lab kit, complete with seeds, petri dish, growing medium, magnifying glass and ruler. The CD guides the user through 10 days of activities, as well as offering related facts and information and a handy journal for entering observations and measurements.

Kids access the program's "Instructocon" daily to follow step-by-step instructions presented by the "Nerdy Lab Assistant". This madcap character not only explains and demonstrates how to perform the experiment, he also explains the biology behind what's happening in the experiment in easy to understand terms. When kids are not following the Lab Assistant, or jotting down observations and answering questions in the electronic notebook (called the "AutoScribe"), they can access the program's two 'virtual machines': the "Glossiraptor" which is a glossary of scientific terms related to the subjects under study, and the "InfoDrive," a fact file filled with interesting scientific material presented in amusing ways. Examples of InfoDrive topics include "Why do beans give you gas?" (this section has some interesting sound effects!), "Burgers, fries, shakes, and BEANS?" which compares the food value in the aforementioned foods, and "Talking to plants" (do they speak English?).

Educational Value
In addition to learning about the specific task of growing beans from seeds, the program's 10 days of activities explain and illustrate the following related topics: Osmosis, Seed Anatomy, Measurements, Photosynthesis, Classification of Living Things, Phototropism and Geotropism, Plant Life, and Ecology. The Glossiraptor provides easy to understand definitions of pertinent terms, and the InfoDrive adds fun and interesting facts to expand the child's understanding of the topic and peak interest in related investigation and learning.

Kid Appeal
Our kid testers enjoyed this science program. They found the lab instructions adequate, and the seed growing task simple and fun to complete. Although they mentioned that the Nerdy Lab Assistant is "a real dork" they agreed that he is also charismatic in an offbeat way, and the quirky (and sometimes base) topics found in the InfoDrive are "worth checking out."

The lab itself is extremely informative, and really lets kids do hands-on observation. Our testers especially liked dissecting their beans. Their only complaint about the program was that it requires a large time investment. "I would have preferred to do this over vacation or during the summer," was a 6th grader's comment. "Then I could really devote more time to it."

Parent reviewers felt that the program's daily time commitment was "just right" and looked forward to joining their children in the experimentation and learning process. "My daughter and I worked with our beans at the same time each day," was one mother's comment, "it was a nice way to connect with each other, and we both learned a considerable amount!"

Ease of Use / Install
Installation of Bean There Grown That requires the product's serial number, which can be found on its vinyl CD sleeve. Three installation options are available, a typical install, a compact, or limited install, and a custom install. We initially chose the compact install, but experienced trouble running the program, so uninstalled and reinstalled the program using the typical install option.

The included Parent's Guide provides a valuable overview of each day of the experiment. It specifies lab activities, lists related terms and InfoDrive topics, suggests discussion ideas and warns about potential experimental pitfalls.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program is recommended for classrooms and/or individuals who are interested in growing things and wish to learn more about botany in general. It requires patience and persistence and therefore might not work for kids who require immediate feedback or easily tire of projects that extend beyond a day or two.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other science software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95 or greater, 166 MHz or faster cpu, 32 MB RAM, 16-bit color display, CD-ROM drive, Sound system.

Mac: System 7.0 or higher, 166 MHz or faster cpu, 32 MB RAM, 16-bit color display, CD-ROM drive, Sound system.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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