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STEAM Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Hands-On Projects for Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Review by Jacquelin CaffeyLiz Lee Heinecke
The Quarto Group
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D
Beverly, MA 01915
I am always on the lookout for ways to incorporate STEAM learning into our week. Most time it’s a struggle but not since we have had the opportunity to explore the new book called, STEAM Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Hands-On Projects for Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. This softcover book was written by Liz Lee Heinecke, who after working in molecular biology research for 10 years left the lab to begin her life as a stay-at-home mom. Because of her enthusiasm for science and her three children’s shared love of science, they began by documenting their science adventures on a website she created called KitchenPantryScientist. From there she began to branch out and has several books and apps for kids to engage in science.
My kids crave science and are always eager to “make something explode” or get messy by creating masterpieces out of bits and pieces of whatever they find lying around. This book makes science fun and it makes it easy for moms to ensure that lessons get done! After all, the best kind of curriculum is the one that is used, right?
I can tell you your child will love each and every one of the activities in this book. Each of the open-ended labs within the book are designed to show you that the deeper you look into the art, the more math and engineering aspects you will find too. With projects ranging from tie-dyed fidget spinners to rubber band shooters, there is a project for every child that can light the fire in learning.
I really appreciate that each lab includes a complete materials list with clear step-by-step photographic directions for the entire scientific process. There are also detailed pictures of the finished samples as well. And the best part is there is no right or wrong answer, per se, so the labs can be completed over and over again with different results. The pages in the book are made with a thick, glossy paper so they can withstand an occasional splash or spill without ruining the book.
I used this book specifically with my 3rd grader in mind while my 6th grader and preK’er tagged along when it suited their interests. My 3rd grade daughter loves math and science and when our plans for science this year fell apart, I knew after seeing this book we could get back on track with success. We typically only complete one lab a week and we do these on Friday mornings because it suits our busy schedule best.
Each Friday I have her pick the next lab she wants to complete from the book. The Sunday evening leading up to the weeks lab we do some independent research either on the computer and I request any books we need from the library on the topic we are going to study and demonstrate come Friday. So far we have made an edible DNA double helix, grown salt crystals, a yardstick Ukulele, and we made our own homemade paint to name a few. She has actually made the salt crystals several times using different salts and sugars because she was so fascinated by the entire chemical process.
Overall, I think this is a fantastic book to use as our main spine for my daughters 3rd grade year. It has enough variety in activities that it keeps her engaged and wanting to know more. Next up on her list is to make a homemade Chia pet. I think this would make a perfect book to give any child who is interested in STEAM activities, either for a birthday or for the upcoming holiday season. This book makes learning fun and exciting and both my daughter and I can’t wait to explore more!
-Product review by Jacquelin Caffey, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2018