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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2007
I would have given this 2.5 stars if possible. This review applies to all the books in this series, not just this particular one. The book's strengths: (1) Truly simple experiments that make science fun and give it a "Wow" factor for children. Everybody can follow the simple instructions in this book. (2) Seeing science done with ordinary objects takes science out of the elite laboratory and puts it into context of everyday life. (3) Even adults can learn so much about how everyday items and phenomena are related to science.

The book's weaknesses: (1) Explanations of the science behind the experiments are too brief and vague. (2) For too many of the experiments the directions are incomplete at best, and sometimes just not adequate at all. The big majority of the experiments will work, but for the several that don't, the teacher/parent is left saying, 'What went wrong?" You can follow all the directions perfectly, but poor directions don't make an experiment work. Sometimes it's an issue of needing more detail, but sometimes it's an issue of the directions themselves not working, no matter how much detail would have been given. For example, the directions for making Rock Candy (to see the shape of sugar crystal growth) are ludicrous. They wouldn't work no matter how hard you tried. But, the directions for making salt crystals are just fine, and we have some beautiful cubic salt crystals to see now.

Overall, I like these books. I'm very glad to have such easy-to-put-together and fun experiments for us to do at home. But...I'm always prepared for something to backfire, I read with a discriminating eye and the benefit of an extensive science background, and if an experiment promises to deliver something "too cool" with simple instructions, I always search the net first.
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2001
I've picked up many books which claim to demonstrate science with "everyday materials." Most times the "everyday materials" are not something I keep on hand. Like cheesecloth. Who keeps cheesecloth on hand? But the demonstrations in this book really are simple and really do include basic household supplies. I've used the book with my five year old and have found the demonstrations and explanations to be thorough enough to engage his interest. And I've enjoyed myself too!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2004
Simple fun filled experiments which easily captures children's attention. What is outstanding is the huge spectrum of experiments -- indoor - outdoor, simple - complex, tips & tricks and the list goes on. Thanks to this book my daughter interest has increased to the extent that she now wants to participate in Science Fairs. Clearly a very useful book that every family should benefit from.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2009
I am a science teacher and believe strongly in a hands-on approach for learning, especially to apply science theory to real life. Without the application, it is all just science mumbo-jumbo.

I have taught for fifteen years, and teach a science class created for me by my principal. This is my third year of teaching this class.

I bought this book to add to my library of resources, but have not found one new or creative idea in this book. I would recommend this book for students in the third grade or younger. There are few steps to the activities, there is minimal critical thinking, and, frankly, the activities are boring. We live in the science land of CSI and older children and middle school children are no longer interested in seeing the celery change color as it absorbs water containing food coloring (this wonderfully new idea is in the book).

Instead, I recommend getting books by Mr. Wizard, Beakman's World, or Bill Nye.They have great activities, correct science explanations, and have great "wow" factor.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This two-volume series is a great introduction to hundreds of simple scientific experiments, each involving modest materials that are easy to find and instructions that are easy to read, accompanied by friendly cartoon illustrations. The series seems to be written for children to read -- a precocious ten-year old should be able to do most of these experiments, although people of all ages will find these activities exciting and fun.

Adults can certainly use this book as a guide for science exploration -- you might want to read ahead and try some experiments in advance, to make sure the instructions make sense and get the intended results. Although the scientific principles are explained in general terms, the book is designed to keep the text to a minimum, so the scientific chatter is perhaps less thorough than some parents or teachers might like... If it's important, you can research the principles elsewhere had prepare more in-depth explanations using other sources of information. For the most part, though, these books are pretty brilliantly planned: the experiments are easy to reproduce and the scientific principles are mostly pretty self-evident. We've had a lot of fun using these books, and I'm sure you will as well... Highly recommended! (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain children's book reviews)
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34 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 1999
I like science now. I used to hate science until I got this book. Even though some of the experiments don't work, there is a lot of interesting facts. I learned alot about what happens to some of the experiments. Buy this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2010
I bought this for my 6 yr old grandson. He is very excited to use the book but hadn't before I had to leave. I did create an experiment box of supplies to go along with the book so it would be easier for him to do some of the experiments. I looked through the book and the experiments seem to be easy to follow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2013
Great tool for science fair poyects. Very easy to understand and interesting. My 11 year old son just love it.
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on June 24, 2014
Every activity contains the following sections:
1. Title ("Make a Water Trombone", for example)
2. What you will need (water, empty soda can, drinking straw, for example)
3. What to do (simple, easy-to-read and follow directions anywhere from a sentence to a paragraph in length)
4. What happens (a written explanation of what will happen during the experiment anywhere from a sentence to a paragraph)
5. Why? (an explanation in scientific terms, but written at the level of an elementary student. This is my favorite section because it ties the experiment to science that the children have learned, or will learn, in elementary school. The length of this explanation also ranges from a sentence to a paragraph.)

There is an expansive range of topics covered as well in this book, from weather to simple physics to simple chemistry.

Great buy! Will use this for the next several summers and perhaps to further illustrate science concepts being taught in school during the year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2014
What a delightful book for boys and girls, age eight to twelve....lots of experiments with stuff that you have around the house! Loved it!
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