January 30, 2001. East Dorset, VT- When kids ask, "Do we have to go to recess?" because they would rather conduct scientific experiments, teachers know that they have discovered a precious tool for learning. The Science Explorer software series, a best seller in the Tool Factory line of educational software, has the rare ability to spark genuine excitement and curiosity in the minds of elementary and middle school students. Once they enter the virtual museums and space stations of the two CD's in the series, kids will be loath to leave. "This is so cool!" and "Hey, have you done the bungee jumping experiment yet?" are a few of the phrases that ring out in classrooms and computer labs where Science Explorer I and II are running.

Teachers also bubble over with excitement when they see this remarkable software. Even those who proclaim themselves "techno-phobes" or who think they do not have time for software are consistently impressed by the quality of material and its presentation on the Science Explorer CDs. Topics such as The Human Being, Living Things, Electricity, Light & Sound, Forces & Motion, Space, and The Material World both supplement and reinforce science lessons covered by most teachers. Educators and parents are thrilled to see these topics taking on new appeal for students who were previously unable to grasp the relevancy of science lessons to the world around them, or who were bored with the way the material is usually presented. With the Science Explorer software, students interact with fun experiments, activities, briefing sessions, and quizzes, so that they are always engaged in the learning process. Amazing 3D graphics, video, audio, and narrated text make students eager to get their hands on dozens of experiments.

Travel through the halls of a science museum until you come to the Electricity, Light & Sound exhibit. After an audio/visual briefing about the components of an electrical circuit, in which you may click on new vocabulary to read their definitions, try out the "Don't be alarmed!" experiment. You can only reach the museum's prize diamond by successfully completing or breaking a series of circuits. The "Pitch Perfect" experiment, in which you adjust the length of a whistle to change its pitch, will be music to the ears of students and teachers alike. One teacher, listening to the chorus of notes coming from her students' computers, could say only, "This is wonderful!" as she realized with disbelief that her entire class was totally enraptured with the activity.

Students can make snowflakes, build a bike, and experiment with water levels in The Material World section of Science Explorer I. Each activity is introduced with a brief lesson about relevant scientific principles. Students may choose the "Tell Me More" feature, or go directly into an interactive quiz. The Log Book feature will show teachers which sections, experiments, and quizzes students have completed, and will indicate the date and score of each quiz.

The futuristic space station of Science Explorer II takes students to a whole new galaxy of experiments in the same general topics covered by the first CD. Kids always rush to the Bungee Jump, Water Slide, and Parachute Drop investigations, where they explore principles such as elasticity, gravity, and air resistance by setting up parameters and clicking "Go" to set an animation sequence in motion. Results are displayed in easy-to-read charts and graphs, so that students can do multiple trials to find optimal combinations of parameters such as angle, weight, speed, and thickness.

Students make their own Frankenstein monsters come to life in the "Heart Maker Investigation." The big-headed green guy awaits a heart, veins, arteries, blood, and (this part can be tricky!) valves facing the right direction. When all the pieces are in place, click a lever to see if the blood will circulate through the heart and pump life into the monster. The Human Beings station also contains the "Muscle Mover" and "Dental Records" investigations. Another favorite is the "Growing Tomatoes" activity, where students set water, light, and temperature conditions and then test their green thumb. If they have followed the briefing closely, they will accurately predict what conditions tomatoes require to grow into healthy, red globes of fruit before their eyes.

Both CDs in the Science Explorer series are easy, and indeed fun, to navigate, and both offer the same range of helpful features. In addition to the Log Book, where each student's progress can be tracked, there is also a Lab Book in which students may save and print out pages of text and graphics directly from the program. The Lab Book facilitates the research process for students preparing lab reports and essays. Through the Catalog feature on the main menu, areas of each CD can be searched by topic and sub-topic, and a click of the mouse will bring you directly to the chosen area. Teachers love to use the Catalog as they plan and organize lessons.

Minimum System Requirements:
Win. 3.1+, 486, 4 Mb. RAM, 2x CD, SVGA; Mac System 7.1, 68040, 8 Mb RAM

To Order:
Single unit price for each CD is $59.95. Bulk pricing is also available. Mac and PC versions sold separately.
To order toll free from the US or Canada call (800) 220-8386
Fax your order to (802) 375-6860
Email your order to
Printable order forms are available at

About Tool Factory:

Tool Factory conducted an exhaustive search for unique educational software in various markets around the globe. Their flagship product line consists of 17 educational software tools, which were hand-picked for their innovative contribution to computer-based learning. To complement the tools and applications, Tool Factory is also distributing an extensive range of curriculum titles throughout North America. Their first catalog includes over 100 CD-ROM products, most of which are new releases in North America.

For press inquiries, please contact Kendra Ericson at Tool Factory, Inc. 3336 Sunderland Hill Rd, Sunderland, VT 05250, USA.