Friday, January 11, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Friday Fun: Cells at Work.

I really thought our days of watching a cartoon and calling it science passed by with the elementary school years, but that's before we discovered Akane Shimizu's "Cells at Work!" on Crunchy Roll (a subscription anime streaming site).

I wouldn't normally recommend an anime site (not all anime is child or even teen friendly, they may look like cartoons, but they can cross the line into mature viewing without warning).  Our oldest has a subscription though, and had decided to binge watch anime over his semester break - "Only the clean ones, Mom." - in the hopes of spontaneously learning Japanese (a plan I would have mercilessly mocked if not for the memory of myself, at about that age, sleeping with headphones on and language learning tapes playing, with similar hopes of my own).  Needless to say, neither of our language learning experiments were successful, but I did notice my science shy son suddenly spouting a substantial number of science related facts.

Did you know for instance that, "the most common type of white blood cell is called a neutrophil?"  Or that, "an eosinophil is a type of white blood cell designed to fight parasites?"

It turns out he had stumbled onto "Cells at Work!", a kind of  "Magic School Bus" for teenagers, following the adventures of an anthropomorphized red blood cell as she and her compatriots perform their duties inside the body (I'm not making this up).  The anime on Crunchy Roll is in Japanese, with English subtitles, and it is an anime, so annoying anime voices, a spattering of swear words (mainly d--n and h--l), and a good amount of anime style violence and gore, but otherwise generally upbeat, and surprisingly packed with facts.

Since my youngest two (ages 12 and 14) happened to hit a section on cells in their science studies this week, we streamed a few of the episodes, following them up with "Real Doctor Reacts" off of YouTube.

The episodes move quickly, and throw a lot of information out at once.  I decided to slow things down by picking up a manga (comic book/graphic novel) from the series at our local bookstore, for the girls to pore over and ponder, as they sketch the characters out onto the fronts flashcards, copying the definitions from the book onto the backs.  They've picked up quite a bit already, including - I almost hate to admit, several new words in Japanese.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

1 comment:

Ticia said...

I always like finding shows like that, and they become harder to find once kids leave the early elementary age.