Super Science: Feel the Force! by Tom Adams and Thomas Flintham is one such book. A physically robust pop-up book, illustrated in comic book style with bold colours, Feel the Force! explores gravity, friction, floating, pressure, sounds, light, electricity and magnetism in a super child-friendly manner.
Each double page spread is dedicated to one topic, presented a little like a memo board with short notes on interesting phenomena and their explanations, mini biographies of famous scientists (such as Archimedes and Robert Boyle), and experiments to try at home. There are flaps to flip, tabs to pull and and fun paper engineering bringing the topic under discussion to 3-D life (my favourite bit of paper engineering is the bed of nails, though the water pistol elicits most giggles from my girls :-)).
Templar, whose book How the World Works, was the ultimate winner of last year’s Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize (my review is here) have produced another book that will definitely get children and their grownups excited by science. Let’s hope more such books are being planned by Templar as they certainly know how to put together a team of great writers, illustrators and pop-up magicians!
Seeing as Feel the Force! includes experiment ideas we decide to try some of them out. First up was the floating/sinking experiment.
M and J took a lump of plasticine (modelling clay), and dropped it gently into a bowl of water.
It sank. They weighed it and then squished it into a bowl shape. They weighed it again. Of course the bowl weighed the same as the lump.
But this time the plasticine floated when place on the water.
How come something that weighed the same sank first time but floated second time? (Of course Feel the Force! has the answer :-))
Next up we investigated friction. The girls placed a hardback book (and no ordinary hardback book if you look closely!) on the table and put a tin of beans (ie something heavy) on top. We lined the book up with the edge of the table and then the girls gave the book a push. We measured how far across the table the book scooted (about 10cm on repeated attempts).
Then we placed the book with the tin on top onto a bed of maltesers (you could use marbles, but why use glass when you can use chocolate?).
Again we lined the book up with the edge of the table and gave it a push. This time the book scooted on average about 35 cm across the table.
So we learned how shapes that roll are easier to move than those that have to be dragged and we talked about ball bearings inside joints, like the pedals on the girls’ bikes.
Then we ate all the chocolate.
It’s a tough life being a scientist but someone’s gotta do it.
I have to add we tried two more experiments from the book (one to do with jumping coins and air pressure, and the other to do with making mini electrical currents using silver foil and coins) which did not work for us. It might have been useful if the book had had a little section at the back on troubleshooting. It’s a shame not all the experiments were foolproof, but I would still highly recommend this book if you want to pique your children’s curiosity and get them excited about science.
Whilst we investigated forces we listened to:
Whilst looking for songs to enjoy listening to I came across this listing of physics songs hosted by Haverford University and this meta list of science and maths songs hosted by Washington University.
Other activities which would go well with reading Feel the Force include:
Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review, however, remains my own and honest opinion.