Newest Review: ... idea, but I doubt he would remember it long. I know I have memorised all too many facts to pass a test and forgotten them just as quickly. ... more
Care to add to deadly poisons to your chips?
Molecule Mayhem - Tom Adams
Member Name: broxi3781
Molecule Mayhem - Tom Adams
Advantages: One of the very best books to make science fun.
When I first started home educating, I was concerned that I really couldn't afford text books for very subject. Well technically I could manage - but only at teh expense of buying other books and I wasn't quite prepared to sacrifice fun for learning. As I have gone along though - I have realised how much more children learn from books like this that are really fun. Attempting to explain the structure of an atom to children ages 4 and 7 from a text book strikes me as fairly pointless. True I could get the older one to get the idea, but I doubt he would remember it long. I know I have memorised all too many facts to pass a test and forgotten them just as quickly. As a home educator, I would far rather have my sons learn a few facts that they remember than volumes of information that they forget in 2 weeks time. We have no tests to study for, so I am looking for long term results.
This is one of those really wonderful books that I feel could teach a child as much in a few afternoons as they might learn in a year with dull and dry texts. This covers the basics of chemistry in a fun and easy to understand manner. There all all sorts of flaps to lift and tabs to pull which keep children focused on the book, as well as experiments you can try at home. Many facts and processes are explained using every day items children will be familiar with. Why do liquids evaporate faster when they are hot? Where can you easily see three elements in one place? ( a glass of fizzy drink with ice - you can see the liquid drink, solid ice and gas bubbles). Which two deadly poisons do you add to your chips ( sodium and chloride - either one alone will kill you, but combined they just make salt). Why does soap make you clean? All of these questions and more are answered in this book.
Another fun aspect of this book is that really encourages you to try out a few of the concepts they have explained. A simple experiment with pennies and a glass of water will show a child how surface tension works. The old candle with a glass over it shows that flames consume oxygen, and pushing a glass full of air with a bit of tissue paper into a bowl of water gives a quick explanation as to how we can know something is there - even if we can not see it.
On the downside, the text is fairly small in many sections, of a non standard types and often printed in reverse text ( white on black) or over fairly dark colours. Combined with the fact that the reading level is quite advanced, I would only recommend this for proficient readers to tackle on their own. However, even if the child is reading well enough to read this independently, I feel this is a book that they will get more out of is shared with an adult.
I would strongly recommend this for other home educators and teachers, but I would also recommend it for everyone else as well. This book is grand for children who love science, but I would recommend it even more for those who hate science. It makes science fun and easily accessible to all. It might just spark an interest in science for the child who has previously despised it. I think this is intended for younger children perhaps ages 6 -12, but it might just help an older child struggling with chemistry in secondary school to understand the most basic concepts. I have been out of school so many years now that I forgotten almost everything I learned there ( actually I aced every test, but rarely remembered anything long after the exam). I have to admit that I learned a fair amount from this book myself, and the way it was presented, I believe I will remember most of it.
My sons both enjoyed this as well, and both have spent some time playing with the atom pop up. My youngest obviously does not understand everything in this. - but I actually think he has learned something from it as well. But I don't even know if the children realised they were learning, they were just having fun. This book gets 5 stars very easily from both my son and myself - and my husband even took a bit of an interest in this one.
The only downside to this book is the fact that it is rather costly. This will cost you £12.74 new and delivered from Amazon or £10.20 from the book Depository. Used copies are available from Amazon staring at £11.06, but as you can buy a new copy for less - there really isn't any reason to consider used. You can buy a new from the Book Depository through Amazon for the same price as buying directly from them if you prefer.
Summary: A brilliant book I expect to enjoy for many years to come.