Sunday 29 July 2018

The Kitchen Science Cookbook Review - and a 5 Minute STEM Activity (Age 4-14+)

Here at the brick castle we are very keen on easy and fun science experiments. Children ask loads of questions and by exploring their world they learn the skills to answer those questions for themselves.

I've written several 5 minute STEM activity posts that cost pennies, and I'll be posting one a day for as long as I can keep up. By coincidence we were asked if we wanted to review The Kitchen Science Cookbook by Dr Michelle Dickinson. She is part of Nanogirl Labs and believes, like me, that science should be for everyone.

The Kitchen Science Cookbook is chock full of fantastic experiments and challenges, so the first 5 minute STEM activity for this Summer holiday is from this book.

The Kitchen Science Cookbook is a big hardbacked book which is split into several sections of experiments and activities - colourful, construction, edible, electricity, motion, pressure, reaction, sound and surfactant. Before that though, it has information about safety and how to conduct experiments, note taking and other useful tips.

Among the experiments are some of my favourites and a few which we have done before on The Brick Castle, including the Volcano and the Balloon Shuttle. There are also loads of activities I've never seen before, and each one is set out like a recipe or experiment, with equipment and instructions, an explanation of the science behind it and lots of questions and answers to get your child thinking and exploring further.

One of the main things I love about this book is that you genuinely don't need equipment or expensive ingredients. I have almost everything I'd need to try every experiment right here in my house, and none cost more than a few pennies.

Here's an example of one of the activities from the book - and this is a really excellent activity that can be a launchpad for your child drawing all kinds of animations..

Fish In The Tank

White card (or white paper glued to card)
Colouring pens
Clear tape/ sticky tape

1. Fold your card in half and use the ruler to draw a 5cm square on one side
2. Cut out the square from both thicknesses of card (2 identical squares)
3. Mark the centre of each square with the pencil
4. On one piece of card, draw a large fish bowl, ensuring its centre is in the centre of the card.
5. On the other piece of card draw a colourful fish, smaller than the bowl, but also with its centre in the centre of the card.
6. Place the pieces of card together so that both pictures are facing the same way up and face outwards.
7. Use tape to fasten the two pieces together along the left, right and top.
8. Slide the pencil into the bottom of the cards and secure into place with tape.
9. Hold the pencil between both palms and quickly spin the pencil by rubbing your hands together.
10. Watch the card, if you spin quickly enough then the fish should appear to be in the tank.

This is the beginnings of animation and my son was delighted with his result - I was frankly just stunned I managed to capture it on camera... The optical illusion works because your brain can't process the images quickly enough to separate them. You'll have to get the book to find out the rest of the the science behind this experiment...

The Kitchen Science Cookbook is a beautiful book which was launched via a Kickstarter campaign and it deserved the backing. The activities are brilliantly simple and every child can try most, if not all of them. They don't need equipment or expensive ingredients and they open up a world of possibilities and curiosity. We love it.

The Kitchen Science Cookbook is written by Dr Michelle Dickinson, published by Nanogirl Labs (which is well worth a visit). A4 hardbacked with 182 pages in full colour,  and offering good value for money - it is a brilliant gift, especially for any Primary School aged child. Available from all good bookshops rrp £19.99.

We were sent our copy of The Kitchen Science Cookbook for review. The Amazon link is affiliate, which means if you order through my link, you don't pay any more, but I get a few pence for adding it.

1 comment:

  1. ooh that looks like the kind of book my younger two would love x


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