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Couch Potato Science

Family Learning from Adventure and Science TV

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The boys and men in our family spent Mother's Day afternoon glued to the TV watching the Deadliest Catch marathon, a Discovery Channel series that follows the men who catch Alaskan King Crabs. It's a man thing, I thought, the equivalent of the women and girls watching HGTV and Food Network. Before long, I was intrigued by the program also.

Later, we watched the History Channel series, Modern Marvels, and learned all about knives and swords. I was actually fascinated by the things I learned on the show. I'm no science buff, and this TV program taught me some things I never knew before.

I was delighted to realize that today's science education and adventure TV programs can be a fun way for families to learn about science and technology. Men and boys especially enjoy them and girls get hooked too. It's fun to talk about the things you learn while you're loafing on the sofa in the air conditioning over the summer months.

I don't always know when a show that interests us might be on TV; we found these programs while channel surfing. When I checked the 'Net for more information I learned that some programs have mobile, email, and RSS episode reminders.

Visit these sites for some great Science and Adventure TV programs; and you'll find several that are not only educational, but entertaining and addictive as well. Sign up for a mobile or email episode reminder to get started, and soon you'll have the whole family hooked on educational television programs.

Discovery Channel

  • Planet Earth
    The Planet Earth miniseries looks at Mountains, Deserts, Deep Ocean, Shallow Seas, Ice Worlds and more. This is a fantastic learning opportunity for kids and families. New episodes air on Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. eastern time.
  • Man vs. Wild
    Adventurer, Bear Gryllis, 'strands himself in popular wilderness destinations where tourists often find themselves lost or in danger. As he finds his way back to civilization, he demonstrates local survival techniques.' This hot show airs through the day on the weekends and on Sunday evening marathons.
  • History Channel

  • Modern Marvels
    An amazing list of topics will hook you on this very educational program. A few favorite Modern Marvels episodes are Ice Cream, Biggest Machines, Sports Gadgets, and Police Gear. You may even want to purchase the DVD to find back episodes. Show times are primarily in the evenings during prime time.
  • The Universe
    Raise an astronomy fan by watching the fascinating space topics on The Universe. Samples of The Universe episodes are Wildest Weather in the Cosmos, Biggest Things in Space, and Gravity. Show times are primarily early evenings and mornings. You can also watch full episodes from the web site.
  • We like the pet training shows on Animal Planet and always catch the big dog show. You'll find many other animal-related favorites on the network, including Meerkat Manor, the soap opera-meets-animal behavior documentary.

    If you have the Science Channel, you might check out Hot Rocks (geology), It's All Geek to Me (tech gadget mysteries), and How It's Made. Nonstop science series and specials make this channel some people's HGTV (the network I turn on and leave on all day). Your kids are sure to enjoy it if you do.

    Be cautious about letting your kids channel surf through cable and satellite programming. Set parental controls on your TV to protect your kids from the predominant cable genre, trashy shows that are totally inappropriate for kids and young teens. Block those networks and get your kids hooked on modern educational television.

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