HEAD TO TOE SCIENCE

OVER 40 EYE-POPPPING, SPINE-TINGLING, HEART-POUNDING ACTIVITIES THAT TEACH KIDS ABOUT THE HUMAN BODY

Science teacher Wiese (Cosmic Science, not reviewed) is back with 40 quick and often intriguing science puzzles and activities to promote understanding of the human body. Activities are grouped in body systems: Brain and nervous system; Senses, Digestive; Respiratory; Circulatory; Muscular, Skeletal, Reproductive and the Skin. For each section Wiese gives an introduction and a series of projects and experiments. He lists materials, procedures, provides an explanation of what happened, and often gives “more fun stuff to do.” Most projects and experiments require only a few minutes and items easily found in the kitchen: straws, plastic soda bottles, paper plates, ruler, balloons, bread, and scissors. Drawings show boys and girls having fun with science. Some activities are more crafts than science: in “Blood and Gore,” children make a batch of “fake blood,” from white corn syrup, corn starch, and soy sauce. The fake-blood project continues, creating a cocoa and petroleum jelly scab. Later the author explains the real components of blood. Sometimes the explanations are less than satisfactory. In “Bony Blocks,” he has the reader balance a book on a toilet-paper roll set on its side and standing on end. This, he explains, shows a hollow tube is almost as strong as a solid rod. However, whether the roll is on its side or on its end, it is still a hollow tube. There is a lot here to engage curious young people. The index was not seen. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-471-33203-8

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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This middle-grade story of family, friendship and school has all the right elements, but it lacks an ignition spark.

RUBY GOLDBERG'S BRIGHT IDEA

A Rube Goldberg namesake discovers there’s more to life than inventions.

Fifth-grader Ruby Goldberg spends more time thinking about elaborate contraptions than about school or the people around her. Determined to win the gold medal that has eluded her in earlier science fairs, she focuses all her attention on the construction of her entry, ignoring her patient best friend’s needs and her grieving grandfather’s feelings. But there’s hope that, like the cartoonist and inventor she was named for, she can become a more well-rounded person. At her father’s suggestion, she collaborates with classmate Dominic, a former rival. Working together leads to friendship, and their intricate system for the delivery of a newspaper and slippers is, indeed, an engineering marvel—though she comes to understand it will never replace her grandfather’s dog. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite all come together, despite Ruby’s appropriately self-centered and sometimes-funny narration. By her own account, Ruby has been supercompetitive for years; her sudden behavior changes are therefore not quite credible. Ruby’s inventive mind is interesting, though the actual diagrammed workings of her Tomato-Matic 2000 are sadly opaque (thank goodness the narrative describes it).

This middle-grade story of family, friendship and school has all the right elements, but it lacks an ignition spark. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8027-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

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ACCIDENTS MAY HAPPEN

FIFTY INVENTIONS DISCOVERED BY MISTAKE

In this entertaining companion volume to Mistakes that Worked (1994), Jones describes more of the often humorous incidents that resulted in inventions, products, and fashions. The telephone and photography are discussed as well as cellophane, Bakelite, Masonite, and dynamite. Another chapter offers speculation as to the origins of yeast, raisins, coffee, and vinegar, without much in the way of documentation, and a part of a chapter is devoted to the meanings of some nursery rhymes (it's never clear what they have to do with inventions). Nevertheless, this is entertaining reading, with whimsical black-and-white drawings, places to write for more information, a brief bibliography, and an index. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-385-32162-7

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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