Specifically, we watched the DVD Combo Pack – Produce (Mushrooms, Cranberries, and Orange Packing)
the DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea (Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, and Salmon)
The first DVD was a very interesting subject–how food is grown.
We learned how mushrooms are grown in the first episode called Mushrooms. Joel takes us to the Monterey Mushrooms facility. I never knew growing mushrooms was so fascinating! This episode was really fun. We saw how hay is turned into compost. Then the compost is pasteurized and the mushroom spawn is put into it. Then they are taken to another room where the mushrooms begin growing. We see the pickers picking them–and they are fast. Finally, we travel to another facility where they are packed for shipment.
The second episode was about Orange Packing. I really expected this to be the most boring, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had no idea what an orange goes through before it reaches the grocery store. We see the huge wind machines that blow warmer air down onto the trees to keep the oranges from freezing if a frost is coming. We see the oranges in a room that has ethylene gas to help them ripen quicker. (This is the natural gas that fruit exudes.). And we see them travel through all kinds of different stations on conveyer belts. The most interesting spot was where they used black light to identify slightly damaged fruit!
Cranberries were the subject of the third episode. Curiosity Quest goes to a cranberry bog in Wisconsin to learn about harvesting cranberries. Now, this is actually something we have done before. We love to go up to Wisconsin in the fall when they are harvesting cranberries. We’ve had the pleasure to walk around the bogs and watch the men in the water harvesting and see how they are transported back to the building to be sorted and packed! In this episode Joel goes to 2 different bog sites. The first produces fresh cranberries, so they have to sort them more. The second turns its cranberries into juice and Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries).
Next we watched the “Penguins” episode. Curiosity Quest takes us to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to meet some magellanic penguins. He helps to prepare their food and then goes into the penguin habitat to feed them. He finds out that they are a little wary of him and don’t warm up to him as much as he’d like. We learn why don’t penguins fly and what the zookeepers do at the aquarium to help keep the penguins healthy.
The final DVD was called “Salmon.” Now, we have traveled all the way to Juneau, Alaska to learn about the amazing life cycle of the salmon. There are 5 species of salmon in Alaska, including sockeye, king, and pink. In order to have LOTS of salmon to support the fishing industry, there are fish hatcheries. We see one where the fish eggs hatch and the baby salmon are taken care of for a while. Then they are moved to a particular stream where they stay in nets for a while so they can get the “scent” of the stream. Why? Because in 3-5 years they will travel back to that exact spot to spawn. We see the fish returning, and they have grown quite large. It’s amazing that they actually know where to go! They were born in the fresh water fish hatchery and then swam out into the ocean, maybe as far away as Russia. Then they are returning. It’s difficult for them to swim upstream, against the current. And once they reach their stream they will spawn (reproduce), and then die. We don’t see them dying, though. :)
I really enjoyed watching both of the DVD sets. Joel has a fun way of connecting with the kids who are watching. Every once in a while there is a “fun fact” that is shared or interviews with people he meets on the street, which are often humorous. The people who were the experts in the videos were friendly and knowledgeable. I really felt like my kids learned a lot from watching the shows. The only thing I didn’t like were references to evolution in the sea turtle and mushroom episodes. (I expected it in the penguin one, too, but it wasn’t there.) And it was occasionally frustrating to know that the episode is only catching “one day” of the activities of the place visited. For example, we didn’t get to see the cranberries growing in the spring or the bogs being flooded, we didn’t get to see the baby salmon in the nets in the streams or being fished for out in the ocean, and we didn’t get to see the healed sea turtles being returned to the ocean. Seeing those would have made the Curiosity Quest DVDs even better.
Overall I recommend the Curiosity Quest DVDs to anyone with kids! They will love them!
The DVDs from Curiosity Quest are geared towards children ages 7-14, but my preschoolers enjoyed watching them as well. The cost for the combo packs is $24.95. You get 3 30-minute episodes on one disc.
Be sure to check out Curiosity Quest here: