Book review: Real Chemistry Experiments

Real Chemistry Experiments

Real Chemistry Experiments:
40 Exciting STEAM Activities for Kids
,
by Edward P. Zovinka, PhD
Rockridge Press
12/10/2019
Juvenile Nonfiction/Chemistry
134 pages

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With Real Chemistry Experiments, 8-12 children can have fun with easy-to-find materials, and learn chemistry basics as well as real-life science.

The author, a chemist and university professor, first explains what chemistry is.
Then he organizes the experiments he proposes in 4 categories:

  1. experimenting with Matter: how stuff behaves under different conditions
  2. with Gases: how gases behave at different temperatures and different pressures
  3. with Chemical Reactions: mixing acids, bases, kickstarting yeast
  4. with Polymers: connecting polymers to change properties from liquid to solid.

I like how he defines chemistry in a broad way and shows how relevant it can be for everyone. He also introduces Green Chemistry, “the idea that chemists need to prevent pollution or waste before it ever happens” (page 4).

Then he offers 10 experiments for each section, which offers a nice variety, with simple materials.

Each category opens with a general explanation of the topic (for instance, What is matter? for the first one).
The experiments are really cool and clearly presented through bullet-points, and are pleasant to read. They are featured as an answer to a fun question, for example, How do bugs walk across the surface of a pond or stream? Why doesn’t gum dissolve in your mouth? Why does sour candy taste sour?
The level of difficulty is specified, the time needed to try the experiment (between 10 to 30 minutes, plus some that you can follow over a week), and the chemistry category.
Then come the materials required, the steps to follow, and questions to guide your observation of what’s happening.
At the end of the experiment, some STEAM connections are highlighted, and a similar experiment is proposed – just through a question.
Each category ends with a short presentation about real world chemistry.

The book ends with a simple glossary and a list of (mostly online) resources to find other experiments to try!

This type of books didn’t exist when I was a kid in a tiny French village, and my knowledge of chemistry is less than basic. I bet many adults like me would enjoy this 101 Chemistry through these fun and fascinating experiments. Without spending lots of money, nor blowing up the house!

VERDICT:  Fun and well done, to discover the basic principles of chemistry.

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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received this book free of charge from the publisher through The Callisto Publisher’s Club. I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

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