Confession: I have seen most, if not all of the episodes of a show called “Grossology”. I can blame this partially on the fact that I have an 8 year old son who revels in anything with the words ‘snot’, “poop’ and ‘fart’ in it. The first time I saw Grossology I was conned into watching it by the above-mentioned 8 year old boy. Quite frankly, I was grossed out. An episode about earwax? Zits? Ewwww!!! The girly, sensible side of me was screaming “Look away! Look away!”. But the curious educator side of me was a teeny bit interested. And dearest blog readers, I’m afraid I got sucked in. As Discovery Education subscribers, you can too. (Right now, this series is offered to Discovery Steaming Plus subscribers)
This series, despite it’s rather comical name, actually is quite scientifically minded. It is very loosely based on a series of books with the same name, and authored by Sylvia Branzei. You (or rather, your students) get hooked into the story of a brother and sister team–Ty and Abby–who are superheros protecting their city (and the aptly named “Ringworm High School” ) from disgusting villains. By the way, when I say disgusting villains, I’m being quite literal. Where else would you find such “baddie” names as Roger Pink-eye, Frankenbooger and The Scab Fairy? But a few minutes into the icky yuckiness of the plot, you realize that you’re actually learning some interesting facts, soaking up new vocabulary and gaining a new understanding of what makes us and the world around us tick.
Take for example “Vein Drain”. Ty and Abby are sure that there is a vampire on the loose. But they soon come to realize that the true culprits are leeches, and that these slimy black slug-like creatures actually have a history of being used medicinally.
Or, if blood and bugs aren’t your style, you might enjoy “Yack Attack”. Our superheros learn all about the human digestive system. How? Well, lets just say it involves germy microbes in the city’s water and a whole city who ends up loosing their collective lunch.
Barfing not your cup of tea? Then perhaps the two-part (Yes! Two episodes worth!) “Silent But Deadly” where the team has to figure out why the city smells like sulfur (rotting of organic matter) and methane (from—well, you know). They learn that there are certain kinds of bacteria that eat these chemicals and help purify the city again.
Is Grossology disgusting? Of course it is. But you know, the world is kind of an icky place when you get down to the nitty-gritty. And this is a great show (especially for kids 3rd grade and above) for getting your students engaged in biology and helping them figure out the scientific reasons for all that icky. Being grossed out is just the added bonus.