REVIEWS - Curriculum, books, media, homeschool products

S.T.E.M. with Brilliant

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Are you looking for different ways to develop your student’s (or even your own) problem solving, critical thinking, logical reasoning or STEM skills?  You may want to check out the interactive learning approach used in the Premium Subscription from Brilliant.

What is Brilliant?

Brilliant  is an interactive web and mobile based platform that helps users master concepts in math, science, logic, and engineering by solving fun, challenging problems. With over 60+ STEM-related courses to choose from, with a wide target age of 10-110, you’re sure to find something that interests you. The folks at Brilliant believe that the best way to learn anything is by doing it yourself. Rather than watching videos or reading a lot of content,  Brilliant focuses on a hands-on, interactive approach.

What kind of courses can I find in Brilliant?

  • Everyday Math – reinforce math foundations and see numbers in a new light.
  • Pre-Algebra – an introduction to variables and equations.
  • Geometry Fundamentals – begin here to start exploring geometry.
  • Scientific Thinking – solve puzzles with science.
  • Computer Science Fundamentals – fundamentals for a high school or college student.
  • Logic – construct the critical thinking skills that are the basis for mathematical reasoning.
  • And more!

Let’s take a closer look at the scientific thinking lessons.

Just in this one course, you will find activities on a large list of topics including:

  • Balances
  • Buoyancy
  • Electric Circuits
  • Forces
  • Gears
  • Heat Flow
  • Kaleidoscopes
  • Pulleys
  • Quantum Superposition
  • Scientific Thinking

In this particular course, like many others, there are no prerequisites. They say, “We’ll bring the rules, you bring the imagination”. You can jump in and simply follow along! For instance, in the unit on structures, I worked on adding and removing beams to make bridges more stable, and keep them from collapsing. Not only was I able to try it and see it myself, if I failed (and I did on some), Brilliant provided an explanation, and I was able to try again.

I really like that this program stretches your mind by actually seeing what happens next. To me, these types of projects are better than reading the concept in a textbook, and just taking it for its word. The active learning part is what really gave me the connection.

Who can use Brilliant?

Anyone! I would normally be one to shy away from these types of things, because it is not a “curriculum” per say. Over my years of experience, I have changed how I feel about curriculum and education in general. Any student could use this as an elective, or as a replacement for higher level math in my opinion. Just the logic course itself can be valuable for anyone! Logical thinking is a skill that is necessary to overcome obstacles of daily life. Morning warm-ups also come to mind if your students need a boost to get going and focused on school tasks.

I will be using my Premium Subscription in an introductory engineering course I will be teaching my 11th grader next semester. I had no idea when I signed up for this review, but it will be the perfect compliment! In the meantime, I will continue to dabble with it myself. Here’s a new kitchen skill I learned through Brilliant to close with: Does the cookware we choose really influence how fast the water will boil? Yes it does, and I will need to mismatch my pots and lids!

To see what other reviewers like me had to say about their experience with Brilliant, click the banner below!

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