Product Type: Trends Child Development
Newest Review: ... price. I am deducting one star though - primarily for the instruction book and the useless cd-rom. Should Trends ever revamp the book and ... more
Review for Science Mad, Trends, Discovery World, and Nation Geographic chemistry sets
Trends Mad Science - Chemistry Lab
Member Name: broxi3781
Trends Mad Science - Chemistry Lab
Advantages: Home made explosions at last
Disadvantages: I always end up stinking!
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
Pottassium Aluminium Sulphate
Sodium Carbonate (Washing soda)
Sodium Hydrogen Sulphate
Plus various equipment, test tube rack, four test tubes with lids, 5 corks, two of which have holes to thread a glass tube through, 3 glass tubes, a glass stirring rod, a decent pair of goggles, a small funnel a glass measuring flask, a conical glass flask, a rubber tube, a plastic pipette, a couple of small plastic measuring spoons, a spirit or alcohol burner, printed instruction book, copy of book on cd-rom, universal indicator papers, and filter papers.
WHAT IS NOT IN THE BOX?
You will have to buy extra items, how many you need depends on how many experiments you want to do, but you will absolutely have to have so check the materials list for each experiment before you begin, but if buying this as a gift be certain to have some methylated spirits on hand as you can use the spirit burner without them. You will also need:
Vinegar ( the book says it must be white - but we have used brown)
Sodium chloride - common table salt
Magnesium sulphate - epson salts
Vitamin c tablets
felt tip pins
Additionally a great many experiments call for a broken flower pot. I am assuming they want terra cotta clay, but I'm not certain. I've tried a couple of other items with no luck, but as yet, have not gone out and bought a pot to smash, so have been unable to do a fair number of the experiments. As this is so crucial - I really thing they ought to have given you a wee bit.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THIS?
According to the instructions you can perform 100 experiments. I honestly think that is stretching it a bit, and many of the experiments duplicate each other. If working your way through this book, you would spend and awful lot of time testing solutions to see if they are acid or alkaline. This isn't terribly exciting to us, as we do keep various types of tropical fish and have been using wee test strips for years. One particular experiment really annoyed me. You dump a bit of black pepper in a solution you have already made, then dump the solution through a filter paper - and miracle of miracles you get black pepper on a paper. This is meant to show that some items are water soluble and some are not the pepper doesn't dissolve - but I think it is a really poor attempt to boost the number of experiments. I would also note, that you could not perform all 100 experiments without buying more chemicals to boot. I'd rather have a company tell me 25 experiments with ideas for additional activities and give me 25 good experiments, but perhaps I am being a bit pedantic here.
But you really can have fun with this set. You can grow crystals - nowhere near as spectacular as a proper crystal set, but still fun and educational. Just be aware that for the most part, you are making crystals to view with a magnifying glass, not put on display. You can make invisible inks, which my son thought was brilliant and in fact keeps asking to make again. You can make various solutions, test a few items and certainly have fun. We made the ammonia solution which is hard to find now and combined it with our own sulphur to make stink tubes ( which accidentally got dumped on me when my son was shaking - why do I always end up stinking?). By far and away though , the biggest hit with these kits is a small hydrogen explosion using vinegar and hydrogen ribbon to create hydrogen gas. This was brilliant as we had been reading about Zeppelins at the time and the Hindenburg disaster, but even better because we actually got to blow something up - no matter how small. Really all you get is a very small bang, but it does startle you the first time when you are holding a match and hear the pop. This is really why we bought the second set - we wanted more magnesium ribbon and I got it at a bargain price.
I do have a few issues with this set. I feel that they exaggerate the number of experiments, they should give us a bit of the correct broken flower pots ( or at least tell us exactly what we need), and I really dislike the instruction book. I think the instruction book should be completely rewritten, add a few pictures, and include expected results for each experiment directly under that experiment. This could be clearer, easier to understand and give some background into what the child should be learning. I feel the quantities of chemicals in the jars is also very small, and do feel they could have given us a bit more. Finally - I think the cd-rom is a rip off. There is nothing to it except a pdf document which contains the exact same instruction book that you have in print. It really would have been wonderful if they made a cd-rom with computer activities such as a virtual lab where you could try out experiments on the pc - but I realise that would be asking a lot. Still a simple you tube style demonstration of each experiment on dvd would have been a brilliant addition to this set and would not have cost very much to make and add.
On spite of my complaints, I do like this set. I got mine quite cheaply, one set at only £4 which was unused but the cd was missing and another at £8 which was new, complete and in box. Full price is within a few pence of £20, but I do feel that this is fair enough price. If you compare the amount of equipment and chemicals with other sets - you do get more than most for your money. My son's really do love this - and consider getting the science kit out a special treat and they do learn things at the same time, so I would still be happy enough had I paid full price. I am deducting one star though - primarily for the instruction book and the useless cd-rom. Should Trends ever revamp the book and perhaps give us a demonstration cd-rom or dvd I would be happy to rate this at 5 stars
The recommended age for this is 10 + My sons are age 3 ( almost 4) and 7 and both love this kit, although I can't imagine the 3 year old is really learning much. I would recommend this from age 6, but of course with direct parent involvement at all times. Even at the recommended age of 10 the manufacturer makes quite clear that this kit is intended to be used only under adult supervision. I would think common sense would dictate that when using chemicals and flames and adult need be present anyway, but common sense seems to be an endangered species nowadays. This also must be kept in a secure location out of reach of small children. The Discovery World kit really drove this home by attaching a small slip of paperto the booklet cover on which you are meant to write your local emergency room number , and the precaution that you must take any chemical jar with you to hospital. Of course I doubt anyone writes the hospital number down - but they are making sure you know these chemicals do pose a risk to unsupervised children.
I would point out that if you use the flame on the chemical burner just a bit too high, it deposits a fine layer of ash all over your kitchen. I only noticed this when I went to take plate from the cupboard after and noticed black on it. I then realised all of my dishes in that cupboard had black specks. I would also note, that even as an adult I find it difficult to resist the urge to try to get more magnesium and more vinegar and make a much bigger bang. As I child I doubt I could have controlled myself if I could find a source of magnesium. The booklet does make clear that this would be very dangerous - which would give any child who hadn't already thought of it the idea. If your children suddenly start looking more magnesium - watch out!
Summary: Fun and educational
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