Friday, May 30, 2014

Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments {Review}

Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments #affiliate

Mike Adamik, author, blogger, dad, has just released his second book - Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments. This follow up to Dad's Book of Awesome Projects presents 30 interactive experiments that can be carried out with simple household items. The experiments are designed to be easy and safe for kids, and are accompanied by full colour photographs and explanations of how and why they work. This book will inspire your family to explore the science behind, among other things:
  • Chemistry, with Soap Clouds
  • Biology, with Hole-y Walls
  • Physics, with Straw Balloon Rocket Blasters
  • Planet Earth, with Acid Rain
  • The Human Body, with Marshmallow Pulse Keepers
From Mike, “I’m excited to share all the fun kitchen sink science experiments I've done with my daughter over the years. Rockets. Eruptions. Neat experiments with air pressure and gravity. Fun ways to blend science into snack time. We’re big believers in tinkering and failing and trying again or just making stuff up and having fun. We’re also big believers in the idea that you don’t need to go out and buy a mess of supplies — you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen or medicine cabinet to explore the wonders of science right now. Think MacGyver meets Mr. Wizard. Now that’s how I like to spend my afternoons.”

Sounds fun, right? I like that this book is very conversational and straightforward. Reading it you feel like you're just hanging out in his kitchen as he tells you about these experiments. Every experiment comes with a simple explanation of the science behind the phenomenon, and includes every day examples of where you might see it occur in the real world.

For example, the first experiment Boo wanted to try was "Penny Shiners." Essentially, you take dirty pennies and clean them with vinegar and salt, then see what happens when they are exposed to air both after rinsing and with the vinegar and salt mixture left on. What we are learning about is the oxidation of copper, and Mike uses the example of the Statue of Liberty. She's green today because she is coated in copper oxide that has mixed with sea salt, creating a green patina over the copper statue.We replicated this process with our pennies.
What you need - vinegar, salt, a bowl, dirty pennies, paper towel.

First, Boo dipped a couple of pennies for a few seconds and watched the dirt disappear. Next we soaked 10 pennies for 5 minutes or so, then took them out to dry on paper towels, rinsing half of them in clear water.
Over the next few hours we watched as the rinsed pennies dried clean, while the unrinsed pennies darkened and began to turn green. The green even began to come off onto the paper towel. The vinegar and salt left on the newly clean pennies caused a chemical reaction with the oxygen in the air, just as the salt water has done with Lady Liberty. The green compound, by the way, is called malachite.

Mike has addressed the book to parents, but the activities are all kid-friendly, and he is clear that the kids should be doing the actual work. Get them involved and learning through fun. Another message in the book is that is ok to fail, and in fact failure is an important part of the scientific process. He even includes an example of a specific mistake he and his daughter made when attempting to create rock candy crystals. 

This will be a great book for us to explore over the summer holidays. Boo is already eyeing a Coke and Mentos bottle rocket for our next experiment. 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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