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Oh, Ick! 114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out! Review by Brittney Rutherford

Joy Masoff with Jessica Garrett and Ben Ligon
Workman Publishing
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014-4381

If you have a child that likes science experiments and hands-on activities, and you aren’t afraid of a little gross-factor, your family will likely enjoy the book Oh, Ick! 114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out! This book is packed full of topics that are generally considered icky, gross, and yucky. It is intended for children eight and older. From insects to eyeballs, and crime scenes to sinkholes, there are numerous topics of interest for the brave scientist to explore.

The layout of the book is fairly simple. Labeled as “an A-to-Z compendium of hands-on grossness,” this book contains 37 items in the table of contents, though there aren’t actually topics for every letter of the alphabet. Each topic has anywhere from two to six activities, and starts with interesting scientific information written in a humorous narrative style. Called an ick-speriment, ick-tivity or ick-sploration, the activities are scattered throughout the chapters, and are laid out clearly. There is a picture of a clock with the amount of time needed, a list of supplies, numbered instructions, and often a What Just Happened? section to further explain the outcome. Some of the activities are less experimental and are more experiential in nature, like learning to identify scat or trying new recipes. We liked how some of the activities built upon each other, because one day we were making Squishy Eggs, and a few days later we used those eggs to do the Eggs from Mars activity. While the topics may seem frivolous at first glance, they’re actually an interesting look at how biology, physics and chemistry are present all around us.

Most of the items needed appear to be household items, or easily obtained from the grocery store or hardware store. I haven’t examined every single activity in detail yet, but one of the least common items was a lamb’s heart for dissection, but the book suggests it can be found in the supermarket’s frozen food section. Obviously, not everyone is going to want to do every activity, but this is not a curriculum and is not really intended to be used from beginning to end. It’s a fun tool to make science interesting and engaging.

I will say that there are some topics that are probably considered off-limits for some families, like bodily functions, so I suggest going through the table of contents first to determine what is suitable for your family. Overall, this book is a fun supplement that we pick up from time to time, and I can see using it alongside any curriculum, for a science experiment class at co-op, or just for summer boredom busters. 

-Product review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2017