Explore the science of astronomy through hands-on activities!
The author, an educator at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, has nicely organized 52 astronomy “labs,” which offer a broad introduction and reflect recent scientific discoveries. She begins with activities to hone observational skills. Then her young experimenters will learn about telescopes; work with size and scale and light, motion, and gravity; and explore the solar system and the night sky. Some activities are straightforward (two different ways to see the colors in light), and some answer questions (does the sun always rise in the east?). Each section (which range from two to four pages) includes time, materials, safety tips, step-by-step instructions illustrated with photographs, an explanation called "the science behind the fun," and suggestions for further explorations, such as questions to think about, other ways to do the lab, and related activities. The author doesn’t always reveal the expected result. The young experimenters represent a variety of ages, races, and ethnicities; they’re often shown working with a partner. The materials called for are simple and easily available. Suggested times range from a few minutes to over days and even through a year.
This well-thought-out collection includes many demonstrations familiar to science educators as well as some surprising and engaging new ones; it should be a welcome addition to any school, public, or home science library. (Nonfiction. 8-14)