Reviewed by Geraldine (Gerry) Waller
Middle School Teacher
Elementary investigators are invited to learn about sound, electricity, simple chemistry, and weather through this collection of interesting investigations. The emphasis throughout the book is on how things work and why things happen, which enables young investigators to increase their awareness of daily phenomena.
Authors Terry Cash, Steven Parker, and Barbara Taylor have written concise procedures for each experiment followed by explanations of how it works and the appropriate science concepts. The diversity of topics, the accompanying scientific information, and the beautifully detailed diagrams work together to make this book enticing to budding scientists of all ages.
The procedures for are easy to follow and generally require simple, readily available equipment and materials. Uncluttered illustrations, diagrams, and photos depict the scientific principle being explored. A brief introduction provides safety warnings and tips on how to proceed as a scientist. For instance, students are encouraged to be aware of new discoveries as they experiment and are reminded that many scientific discoveries have been made accidentally.
Although the book has a 1990 copyright date, the activities, diagrams, and photos are certainly current. The one exception is a sound experiment: “Yogurt-Cup Record Player.” Today’s CD users may be hard-pressed to find a record player, although this could turn into a lesson on how rapidly technology changes in the modern world. Elementary students with an interest in science will enjoy trying the experiments in this book and entertaining their peers. Less scientifically inclined students might just possibly discover unexpected reasons to enjoy science, and parents could use this book as an excellent source of activities to try with their children. And, of course, elementary school teachers will be able to use many of these experiments to enhance existing curricula.
Review posted on 5/3/2002