Pretested by a crew of young assistants, these dozens of science demonstrations are both doable and worth doing.
The experiments are grouped into seven categories such as “Bugs and Microbes,” “Weird Physics” and “Things Water Does.” They range from making slime (“oobleck”) and “biofilm” to designing a cat IQ test and constructing skittering “brushybots” made from motorized toothbrushes. All include not only supply lists and step-by-step directions, but expected results, explanations of the science concepts involved, follow-up questions and cramped but usually helpful photos. Many also include potential glitches—a rare feature that, in the case of efforts to light up an LED with potatoes or lemons, manifests as a frank, detailed record of one failure after another (now, that’s science!). Admitting defeat at last, the author and her partners go on to design and construct a slingshot to dispose of all the used groceries. Experimenters may have to squint to read some of the more heavily colored inset boxes, but they shouldn’t have major trouble gathering materials, following the steps or adapting most of the demos into science-fair projects. Young closes with general science-fair advice, plus keys for all of the entries to the Next Generation Science Standards.
Science fun, with both terms emphasized equally. (general and materials indices) (Nonfiction. 10-14)