Monday, December 29, 2008


When I was in high school, and then again in college, I took chemistry. Now, many years later, I remember only a few things. My high school chemistry teacher was very young and very handsome. My friends and I spent much of our class time admiring his muscles. My college chemistry professor, a world renowned chemist, spoke heavily accented English. I had a hard time understanding what he was saying, let alone grasping the concepts of chemistry. 

If AMAZING KITCHEN CHEMISTRY PROJECTS had been around when I was in school, I would have found chemistry a whole lot more interesting, and I would have understood it a whole lot better.  The book is divided into ten chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of chemistry, e.g. atoms and molecules, acids and bases, and the states of matter. Each chapter begins with an introduction and a glossary of 5-10 words kids need to know. There are also several interesting stories from the world of science. In the chapter on SOLIDS, for example, kids learn about the world's longest running science experiment (it's about whether a solid can actually become a liquid, and has been going on at the University of Queensland since 1927). They also learn about a hotel built entirely out of salt (it's in Bolivia) and about the salt marches of India.

Maybe most importantly, each chapter contains 3-5 really cool experiments that kids can actually do with stuff that most people have, and with a minimum of adult supervision. In the SOLIDS chapter, kids can make two different kinds of crystals, rock candy, and build candy-glass houses. Each experiment is followed by a section called "What's Happening?" where the author explains the scientific concepts related to the experiment. 

As I write this post, we are about halfway through Christmas vacation. We've baked, played cards, and watched movies. The boys have experimented with their phones and played video games. No one has said anything, but I think they are starting to get a little bored. I can't wait until they get up this morning. We are going to do some chemistry!

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