In this day and age, many people would question why you need to buy a book of science projects and experiments when you can just dig them up online. And it's true, many of the projects in this book can be found somewhere out there. But while watching a video of someone dropping Mentos into a bottle of soda is fun, it doesn't explain why the result is an extraordinary eruption of foaming cola.
Author Ken Denmead, editor of the award-winning blog GeekDad, not only explains the complex interactions that occur, but encourages a legitimate scientific investigation into how changing different factors may result in different outcomes. By laying out the groundwork for a deeper look into each project, Denmead is fostering critical higher-level thinking and analytical skills.
This doesn't mean Denmead doesn't know how to bring on the fun. He is all about making the science accessible and interesting, and he achieves this with a detailed yet amusing writing style. Humorous asides are weaved throughout the nitty-gritty of each experiment. With chapter headings such as 'Inside the Mad Scientist's Kitchen' and 'Apocalypse Survival Science,' what kid wouldn't be intrigued?
The twenty-five projects and experiments range from building a radio from scratch using cardboard tubes and wire to making your own steam engine. Each one is laid out meticulously, with a handy summary in the beginning detailing the concept, cost, difficulty, and tools and materials needed. The step by step instructions are clear, and as I stated before, detailed explanations for each step are provided. While the use of drawings instead of photos was perplexing at first, I think I see the one of the benefits of it. When a child sees a photo of something, the inclination is to have their project look exactly like what they see. A simple line drawing, however, acts more like a suggestion and allows the reader to create what they see in their own mind's eye instead.
Whether it is for next year's science fair or to help keep kids' thinking caps bright and shiny this summer, The Geek Dad Book For Aspiring Mad Scientists is a wonderful way for families to immerse themselves in science and have a blast while doing it.
The Geek Dad Book For Aspiring Mad Scientists by Ken Denmead is published by Gotham Books and available at Amazon, or ask for it at your local bookstore.
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