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Janice VanCleave Review by Dr. Heather Allen and Trisha White

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Play and Find Out about Nature: Easy Experiments for Young Children

Janice VanCleave's Play and Find Out about Nature is written for children ages four through seven and includes 50 fun and simple projects designed help children discover answers to questions such as:

Why are cats soft?
Why don't spiders get caught in their own webs?
Why do dogs pant?
How can grass grow in a sidewalk?
Why do peeled bananas turn brown?

Each project includes clear, step-by-step illustrated instructions that seem almost foolproof, and require only easy-to-find materials.

Play and Find Out about Nature provides a framework from which children can begin their study of nature and have fun while doing it. This is definitely a fun book for children four through seven.


--Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, TOS Senior Analyst, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Weather: Mind-Boggling Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects

Janice VanCleave's Weather is written for children ages eight to 12 and includes 20 fun and simple experiments designed to help children become familiar with weather phenomena, learn basic weather concepts, and work toward developing science-fair projects.

Problems covered include: How does the curved shape of the earth affect the comate throughout the world? How do particles in the atmosphere cause the sky to look blue and the sun to look yellow? How can you make a model of a Fahrenheit thermometer? Which warms faster, water or soil? How can the speed of wind be measured? What causes lightening? What causes thunder? How do scientists gather clues to climates of the past?

This book is a good start for any child interested in weather, in performing easy, straightforward, and understandable experiments that shed light on weather phenomena, and in beginning to apply the scientific method. All experiments use inexpensive household materials and involve a minimum amount of preparation and cleanup.

Weather provides a glossary of terms as well as an index. Both are helpful as one traverses the book. The only thing missing is a bibliography, which would be helpful if an interested student wanted to probe a particular area more deeply. If you are interested in basic, easy to follow weather experiments, Janice VanCleave's Weather would be a good place to start.


-- Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, TOS Senior Analyst, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

HELP! My Science Project Is Due Tomorrow!

Janice VanCleave's HELP! is written for children ages nine to 12 and includes five areas of scientific study with 10 fun and simple experiments in each area.

Areas covered, include:

Astronomy
Biology
Chemistry
Earth Science
Physics

Browse through the book, find an area of interest, pick an experiment that sounds neat, read the background information, collect materials required, and start the experiment. Each chapter provides a simple experiment with step-by-step instructions, a description of the expected result, and ideas of how to expand on the topic to make it "your own."

HELP! provides a glossary of terms as well as an index. Both are helpful as one traverses the book. Also, lists of references and project books are provided at the end of each experiment for students wanting to probe a particular area of study of more deeply. If you are interested in basic, easy to follow experiments, Janice VanCleave's HELP! would be a good place to start.


-- Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, TOS Senior Analyst, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Science around the Year
204 Sticky Gloppy Wacky & Wonderful Experiments
Astronomy for Every Kid

By Janice VanCleave

The one word I can use to describe these three books - Science around the Year, 204 Sticky Gloppy Wacky & Wonderful Experiments, and Astronomy for Every Kid - is simply "fun." The experiments in these books are easily done with items around the home. They only take a few minutes and you have results.

The expected results are mentioned. This provides immediate positive reinforcement for a correctly done experiment, and it will help correct errors for the student that does not achieve desired results.

There is a "Why?" section that explains what is happening in the experiment and how it relates to science.

Astronomy for Every Kid has experiments in the area of planets, space movement, sun, moon, stars, space instruments, and space and space travel. Your child will learn "how to measure the distance to the moon," "how the heat from the sun travels through space," "how to record the position of the Big Dipper and Polaris," and many, many more interesting things!

204 Sticky Gloppy Wacky & Wonderful Experiments has been organized in the different sciences: astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. This book will teach your child "how to determine which legs insects lift when they walk," "how ripeness affects the taste of fruits," "to model air pressure at different heights above Earth's surface" - you get the picture.

Science around the Year has experiments that relate to the seasons: autumn, winter, spring, and summer. Experiments include: Night Vision, Animal Weather Predictors, Moon Rings, Conserving Paper, Static Charge, Wrinkled Skin, Puffy Raisins, etc. This particular book also includes sections for each experiment on "Did you know?" "FUN TIME!" and "Book list" for further study. It includes fun things to make and most have a "More Fun" section with extra things to do.

To sum up, I found these books to be great fun for the kids (and Mom) while they learn about the things about which we sometimes don't think. Janice does an awesome job of making science simple and fun! They want to do more, and because they are simple experiments that don't take a lot of time, we can! Now I need to wrap this up because we are going to learn about wind by making a wind catcher and a wind chime.


-- Product Review by: Trisha White, Maine State Coordinator, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Guide to MORE of the Best SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS

Janice VanCleave's Guide to MORE of the Best SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS is written for children ages eight to 12 and includes 50 science projects from the areas of astronomy, biology, earth science, engineering, physical science, and mathematics. The book includes an excellent overview of the scientific method, how to select a topic of interest, project categories used at most science fairs, how to conduct sound research, how to write a winning project report, complete science fair rules and display tips, and helpful do's and don'ts.

For any student interested in pursuing a science fair project or parent interested in finding help when faced with a student interested in pursuing a science fair project, this is the book for you. Take a few minutes to peruse Janice VanCleave's Guide to MORE You'll probably find that you'll want to add it to your home library.


-- Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, TOS Senior Analyst, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

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