Building, Thinking, and Tinkering Projects for the Amazing Maker in You
By: Ella Schwartz
Photos by: Matthew Rakola
Published: February 5, 2019
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books
Slow down that summer slide by keeping your kids learning and thinking and creating. Each chapter focuses on a part of science including simple machines, optics, energy, acoustics, and motion to name a few. Then the chapters offer experiments or challenges to learn about that particular part of science.
Some of the challenges offer step-by-step instructions and others offer a problem and want kids to come up with a solution. Kids that have makerspaces in their schools will be familiar with these types of activities. A lot of the experiments and challenges use found materials in your home like paper towel tubes, pizza boxes, or jars.
I chose the Walking Water experiment. I remember our daughter talking about this experiment when she was in 6th grade and I thought it was a neat experiment. Since I had all the supplies needed, it was an easy one for me to do.
This experiment had a lower difficulty level and only needs one person to complete. The lesson talked about the definitions of “absorb” and “repel”. It explained how water moves and then how to better control that movement, for example, when cleaning up a spill. The instructions were very clear about how to set up the cups with how much water, which cups to put water in, what colors to use, and how to roll the paper towels.
After 9 hours, the water had begun to move and the colors were beginning to spread.
After 20 hours we had a pretty complete rainbow on the counter with the water and colors spreading to the empty cups. Even though the instructions say to observe the results after just a few hours, it really took about 9 for the movement of water to happen and nearly a day to see major results.
The book also explains the science behind what is happening, how this type of liquid movement happens in our bloodstream, and then takes it further by asking your child to think about what would happen if you used different materials instead of paper towels or other liquids like oil. I would guess even different brands of paper towels can make a difference in the timing of the water movement.
Every experiment has clear photography to help explain the process and really encourages kids to think for themselves. Another experiment I wanted to try was making s’mores in a pizza box. I think kids would find the activity to be fun during the summer using the sun to melt the marshmallows and chocolate.
If you have a child that loves to create, see how things work, wants you to save all your toilet paper tubes, or talks about their school’s makerspace all the time, then this is the book for them. Most of the challenges use simple household items and can be done without too much adult support. These challenges would keep upper-elementary -aged kids through middle school busy, although our whole family of teenagers was pretty interested in watching the experiment play out.
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Thanks to the publisher for sending this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.