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Science Stunts: Fun Feats of Physics Hardcover – January 19, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—Educational consultant Brown's collection of hands-on science books continues with these 25 experiments on gravity, motion, temperature, magnets, sound, light, and electricity. The book is narrated by Dr. Dazz, a cartoon physicist and magician. He is accompanied by three cartoon sidekicks (Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein), who explain how each of the experiments works. Each activity includes a description, a list of required props, and a numbered list of instructions and ends with an explanation of the history and science behind the stunt. The activities range from a tea bag rocket to a straw oboe. Cartoon drawings of a diverse cast of children demonstrating the experiments liven the text and clearly illustrate concepts and instructions. Readers are presented with safety rules and tips in the introduction and reminded of them of them throughout the book. In addition, experiments requiring adult assistance are noted. VERDICT Brown's humorous and upbeat presentation will appeal to readers and would be a worthwhile resource for classrooms and public libraries.—Maren Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA
Showman Dr. Dazzleberry and his friends Galileo, Newton, and Einstein demonstrate and explain 25 astonishing science tricks.
In seven engaging chapters, this collection of science explorations spotlights traditional physical phenomena: gravity, motion, heat, magnets, sound, light, and electricity. Clear instructions for each demonstration are laid out like a recipe, with a list of easily obtainable necessary materials and step-by-step directions. These are followed by "The Science Behind the Stunt," humorously explained in a simple but usually accurate first-person narration from one of the scientists. Some tricks are very easy; others require more time and practice and, occasionally, the supervision of an "adult sidekick." Other precautionary measures suggested include fully reading directions and wearing eye protection or glasses and washing hands where appropriate. Some projects may be familiar, but others are likely to be new and intriguing. Not every trick will work the first time, Dr. Dazz reminds his readers. Sometimes trial and error as well as practice are necessary. Sidebars add extra information sure to appeal to intended readers, such as an after-Halloween Punkin Chunkin contest in Delaware and a rock band made up of deaf musicians. Helpful cartoonlike illustrations feature a diverse cast including the African-American Dr. Dazz, whose showmanship is only exceeded by his sense of humor.
Magical science that's amazing, astounding, and sure to appeal to middle-grade and middle school readers.
Brown and Owsley follow 2012's Crazy Concoctions with another engaging collection of science experiments, this time centered around physics. Playing host to readers' explorations is Dr. Dazzleberry, an enthusiastic physicist/magician in a rhinestone-studded tuxedo, who is joined by cartoon representations of Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein. Brown includes 25 experiments, spread out over seven chapters devoted to gravity, magnetism, sound, light, and more. Motion-related experiments include creating a marshmallow catapult out of wooden craft sticks and using centripetal force to cause a penny to whiz around the inside of a balloon, à la a planet's orbit (sections titled "The Science Behind the Stunt" explain the forces at work behind each "trick"). Sidebars discussing real-life applications of physics (such as the record-breaking speeds of Japan's Maglev trains) round out this hands-on look at science in action.
Educational consultant Brown’s collection of hands-on science books continues with these 25 experiments on gravity, motion, temperature, magnets, sound, light, and electricity. The book is narrated by Dr. Dazz, a cartoon physicist and magician. He is accompanied by three cartoon sidekicks (Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein), who explain how each of the experiments works. Each activity includes a description, a list of required props, and a numbered list of instructions and ends with an explanation of the history and science behind the stunt. The activities range from a tea bag rocket to a straw oboe. Cartoon drawings of a diverse cast of children demonstrating the experiments liven the text and clearly illustrate concepts and instructions. Readers are presented with safety rules and tips in the introduction and reminded of them of them throughout the book. In addition, experiments requiring adult assistance are noted. VERDICT Brown’s humorous and upbeat presentation will appeal to readers and would be a worthwhile resource for classrooms and public libraries.
- School Library Journal Xpress Reviews
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This book is appropriate for so many ages. My daughter is too young (five years old) to understand some of the science, but she loved helping out or observing the experiments. She was fascinated by one particular experiment that used matches (with my help, for course, I don’t want her to become an Internet meme).
One thing that always annoys me with “simple” experiments that you can find online is that they sometimes require equipment that the average person will not have. I would rather not head to the physics department to ask them for supplies. SCIENCE STUNTS contains lots of experiments with materials that people will have on hand or are easy to find. One experiment requires two forks, a chunk of carrot, a single toothpick, and a cup. We only needed a single balloon and a penny for our favorite experiment.
Kids can do many of the experiments on their own, but others require parental help. Most are not messy, but Brown is nice enough to include a disclaimer such as “work space that can get messy and wet” with some of his experiments. These are great, and so much better than the vinegar and baking soda that most parents do when kids express an interest in science. I could see parents who do home teaching using this book.
The experiments themselves are explained in plain English. Each experiment has a section that explains how it works. Brown also adds plenty of physics tidbits, such as fire in space. Physics can be intimidating, but it can also be tough to teach. Brown does not just cater to those who naturally grasp these concepts. If my college professors had Brown’s ability to explain tough concepts, I would have won a Nobel Prize in physics by now. Twice.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book through the publisher (via NetGalley) for the review purposes.
Craft sticks are attached in a crisscross manner by rubber bands and the spoon is attached. Now it's time to launch the marshmallows. Sir Isaac Newton uses this experiment to explain the three laws of motion. Other chapters explore gravity, heat and cold, magnets, sound, light, and electricity.
The obvious first thought is to use this in a science class, but think about language arts and math too. Procedural text is a genre that often shows up on standardized tests so using Science Stunts to teach reading these texts would be beneficial. Point of view lessons can also be launched with this book. There are a ton of possibilities for teaching measurement skills as well. Science Stunts is a humorous book that will enliven classes across the curriculum.
This is, I believe, a perfect book for a family with young children, because adults can get just as much fun, information and understanding from it as the children they guide through the "stunts." Then the book can serve as a return experience when the children pass through school grades and even into high school.
What I like most about the book, however, is that serious science is behind the experiments and children are left with equally serious thoughts. The experiments may be presented in a jokey setting, but they convey ideas.
I also liked the YouTube experiments conducted by Olivia. I see her as a future TV salesperson.
Finally, every school science teacher should be required to read this book. The activities can enliven their classroom presentation.
The engaging physics activities are organized into seven chapters focusing on gravity, motion, heat, magnets, sound, light, and electricity. What makes this title unique is the way information about scientists and the science behind the stunts is woven into the narrative.
Although the library is already filled with science experiment titles, the unusual approach and visual appeal of this informational text makes it worth the purchase.
This engaging work of nonfiction would be a great addition to your library’s STEM collection. The diverse cast of characters adds to the appeal of this useful science resource.
Published by Charlesbridge on January 19. ARC courtesy of the publisher.