Monday, December 6, 2010

Laws of Motion

Chapter three of Objects in Motion is Newton's Three Laws of Motion.  I collected several different demonstrations for this class, and thanks to The Happy Scientist, we demonstrated all three with a scale and some hand weights.

I created a worksheet so they could fill in all the different demonstrations we did during class.  I did a demonstration and then read from the book, did another demonstration, and so forth.

The First Law is that of inertia.  I placed a baseball card on top of a glass, and then stacked coins on top of the card.  I asked them to predict what would happen to the coins when I horizontally flicked the card away (they said the coins would fly off everywhere.)  Of course they dropped into the glass, and I let them try it a few times.  I also gave each of them some thick paper (bookmarks, actually) and a stack of pennies.  I instructed them to place the bookmark on the edge of the table so half of it was off of it and then to put a stack of coins on the bookmark.  They quickly pulled the bookmark out from under the coins and the stack remained intact on the table.  (The boys, of course, experimented with ways to make the coins spill...)

Another demonstration we did used a wheeled cart and a stuffed animal.  Shoving the cart made the toy fall off the back; stopping the cart suddenly made the toy fall forward.  We discussed the usefulness of seatbelts.

Finally, we wrapped up with The Happy Scientist: Newton's Laws that demonstrates all three laws in one activity.  You do not need a subscription to view this particular file, but I highly recommend it.  For $20 a year you get a wealth of videos, experiments, and science information.  Robert Krampf does a great job, and many of his videos are quite funny as well as interesting and informative.  All you need is a bathroom scale--the type with an analog display (digital won't work)--and a heavy object (hand weights work well.)  The kids are fascinated with how the scale changes as the weights are rapidly pushed up or pulled down.  Simple yet impressive!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Towers and Parachutes

Week 3 introduces us to the famous legend of Galileo dropping objects from the Tower of Pisa.  We completed the student exploration guide of the ExploreLearing Free Fall Tower Gizmo.  Another free tower simulator, Galileo Drops the Ball, and many other science simulators are available from SEED.

Before starting the Gizmo I gave a simple demonstration.  I took a feather and a ball and asked which would fall faster; then I dropped a small toy and a large toy.  Some were surprised that the second set of objects hit the ground simultaneously.  Next I dropped a book and a sheet of paper, and they fell at different rates.  Finally, I placed the sheet of paper on top of the book and dropped them; they fell at the same rate.  That got them thinking about concepts that they could explore further with the Gizmo.

After learning about air resistance, terminal velocity, and vacuums, I gave the 3 physics groups a challenge.  They each needed to build an egg parachute that met two criteria.  First, the egg had to fall without breaking; second it had to fall more slowly than a rock dropped simultaneously.

Each of the three groups were all successful, and had very different designs.  The older boys used a large sheet of newsprint for the parachute and a thick cardboard cone to hold the egg.  It's a good thing it didn't rain that day...

The girls covered fabric with lamination, adding in straw stays for the parachute and along the strings; they had a foam cube for the harness, decorated with flowers.  It fell the fasted of the three, but still slower than the rock.

The younger boys used a trash bag for a parachute and a cut up egg carton for the harness, with a good amount of duct tape to hold it all together.

I gave them two weeks for construction.  The day of the drop was very windy.  All the kids (21 of them) gathered for the event.  You can see the videos of each parachute being dropped out a window, a team member dropping the parachute and an adult dropping a rock.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Our third week of co-op we performed the pendulum experiment described in the book.  We had three fishing weights (labeled 1, 2, and 3), three lengths of string, and a stopwatch. I created a data sheet (link goes to Google Docs) for them to fill in; they will need three of them to record data for the entire experiment.

This is one experiment in which the kids are very much surprised by the results.  They expected that lifting the weight higher up would increase the time for 10 swings; they also expected a heavier weight to make a difference.  Only the length of the string matters.

Related Gizmos:  Period of a Pendulum and Pendulum Clock

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


We are working our way through Objects in Motion: Principles in Classical Mechanics by Paul Fleisher. The first lesson is about Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion.

A key moment for Kepler was when he abandoned circular orbits for elliptical ones, so I designed an activity around ellipses.  I cut a large foam board into quarters, one for each student, and tacked paper to it.  They put two push pins along the horizontal midline of the paper, slipped a string with the ends tied together over it, and drew an ellipse by drawing the string taut with a pencil and circling the push pins.  They moved the pins progressively farther, then closer, and observed what happened to the ellipse.  We discussed how a circle is a special form of an ellipse, just as a square is a special form of a rectangle.

I then discussed Kepler's Second Law and shaded in a pie piece away from the sun and close to the sun.

For the elementary group we skipped the third law.  For the middle school kids I simply wrote the formula and we discussed what it meant, including exponents and proportionality.  They got the fact that distant planets orbit more slowly and related that to the force of gravity.

If you use ExploreLearning Gizmos like we do, there's one on Ellipse and another on Kepler's Laws.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Discount for Upcoming Live Online Immunity Class

I will be teaching a six-week class on the immune system for high school students called Immunity in Sickness and in Health.  The class runs from January 17th until February 21st, Mondays from 1:30 to 2:30 live over the Internet.  All you need is a computer, headphones, and a microphone.  The course costs $90, with a $15 discount for early registration if you register before November 1st.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Physics with Secrets of the Universe

This year we are focusing on physics, and I found a great series of books to introduce middle school students to the subject.  I am using it with our co-op as well.  The series is Secrets of the Universe by Paul Fleisher.  Originally published as a single volume, it is now available as 5 slim books, perfect for moving from elementary into middle school science.  We have started with Objects in Motion: Principles of Classical Mechanics.

This series has so much to like about it.  Fleisher explains concepts in a clear manner with informative examples.  He tells the story through the scientists who first discovered the principles bringing an interesting historical perspective.  He intersperses experiments throughout the text rather than as a separate section.  The graphics are simple and of a single color, yet effective.  It really is a pleasure to read!

The other four books in the series are Liquids and Gases: Principles of Fluid Mechanics; Matter and Energy: Principles of Matter and Thermodynamics; Waves: Principles of Light, Electricity, and Magnetism; and Relativity and Quantum Mechanics: Principles of Modern Physics.

Our TORCH co-op is now up to 6 families and 21 children.  I teach 3 sections of physics, one for middle school girls (4 of them), another for middle school boys (4 of them), and another for older elementary boys (3 of them).  I plan to blog more about out experiences soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Planets and Meteors August 12

This Thursday, August 12, is a good night to have an amateur astronomy party.  Every summer the Perseid Meteor Showers dazzle us with their show, but this summer, they have an opening act.

Venus, Saturn, and Mars will all be appearing in the western sky just around twilight along with the crescent moon.  They will be in tight conjunction and easy to see--you won't even need a telescope.

Just as the planets are disappearing, around 10 pm, the meteors will begin.  And with the moon being but a crescent, they will be very easy to spot.  If you rise early, during the darkness just before dawn Friday morning, you could enjoy seeing dozens per hour. 

You can read about it on the NASA blog.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you, Annie, from Learn At Every Turn, for this award! She has a great blog with lots of science resources, as well as stuff for other subjects.

For this award:
  • Tell 7 things about yourself
  • Pass it on to other versatile bloggers
 Here are my 7 things:
  •  I love writing; that's why I am a blogger more than anything else in the social media world.
  • I very much enjoy teaching, especially through inquiry.
  • I could spend all day working on a new Zome model design.
  • I would like an iTouch but not until they come down in price.
  • I think the most versatile machine would be a tablet PC the size of a netbook--like a laptop and an iPad all in one--and still priced around $300.
  • Streaming instrumental music from Pandora is my constant companion at the computer.
  • I am Catholic, humbly faithful to the Magisterium, who thinks Evolution is a solid scientific theory that well explains the origins of species to the best of our scientific knowledge today.  That does not make me a deist; God is very much involved with His creation, and has been from the beginning.
I mentioned a lot of great blogs in the recent Blogger of Substance award.  This time, though, I will pass it on to a few, and simply list some other outstanding blogs I love to read but are not really candidates for award memes:

Rockhound Place
Academia Celestia
LaPaz Home Learning

Unity of Truth
The Deeps of Time
Science Notebooking
Notice the Universe

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Review: Secrets of the Universe

Objects in Motion: Principles of Classical Mechanics (Secrets of the Universe)
This fall, with Ds#1 being of sixth grade age, we are embarking on a year of physics using the Paul Fleisher series, Secrets of the Universe.  This is an outstanding series to introduce middle-school students to the subject.

The books have no color-laden pictures, no distracting side bars; rather it has clear, descriptive, interesting writing that explains the concepts.  He bases the topics on the scientists who first described the principles, and relates the material through common, illustrative examples.  He intertwines the experiments with the narrative rather than putting them in a separate section.  The end of each book includes a timeline and short biographies of the scientists mentioned as well as a suggested reading list and glossary.

The book was originally published as a single volume and then subsequently divided into the five-book series.  Though the experiments are few, the series makes an excellent spine around which you can easily add in more activities and reading.  As science books become more splash than substance, the elegance of this series is a reminder of the good writing that is being lost to the photographs and isolated side bars facts so prominent today.

If your library carries the series and you can wait to purchase these books you may be able to pick them up through the used book market at a reasonable price.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Blogger of Substance Award

Thank you, Alex, from Serendipity Home School for A Blog With Substance award!  Hopefully this blog will have more substance when I finally fill in those tabs, lol!

Here's how this award works:
  • Thank the blogger that awarded it to you.
  • Sum up you blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using exactly 10 words;
  • Pass it on to 10 other blogs with substance.
My summation sentence:

Sharing science resources with other homeschoolers returns many more blessings.

Here are at least 10 blogs where I find all kinds of thought-provoking and helpful material on them:
  1. Learners at Home
  2. Funschooling
  3. Books, Links, and More
  4. Miss Julie's Place: Art Lessons for Kids
  5. Of Great Mind: A Journey in Home Education
  6. Talking to Myself that just moved over from Homeschoolblogger, with more great hands-on stuff.
  7. Totus Tuus Family & Catholic Homeschooling
  8. Maureen Wittmann
  9. Abiding Faith: Our Journey of Real Learning
  10. Hilltop Homeschool
 I could list more, but several have already received the award from others.  Thank you again.

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Updated Design and Tabs!

    I have long been looking to collect my resources in one place.  I have Diigo links, an Amazon Store with my favorite books, and LibraryThing.  To top it off, I never could get the header to this blog to display the way I wanted.  I downloaded some code to make tabs but hadn't gotten around to hacking my template (nor would I soon.)

    Today I discovered you could add tags with Blogger In Draft, as well as other nifty things, is the new look.

    I plan on using the tabs to link over to Diigo or LibraryThing rather than reconstructing everything anew here.  I hope to get to that sometime, or at least get something crude going until I can polish it off.  My hope is to have each page divided by level--maybe even subtopic.  We'll see how it ends up, but at least I have a start.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Buying a Microscope 2010

    This is the 2010 update for those of you in the market for a student microscope.  Some companies have dropped their prices making the decision-making process more difficult.

    For an explanation of the parts I mention, you can see my original post or this guide.

    The microscope with the most features and the best price is Bargain Microscopes' Student 1000x.  Besides having the additional 1000x oil immersion lens, it has professional-grade halogen lighting, coaxial focus nobs, iris diaphragm, and a mechanical stage.  It costs around $245 with shipping, far less than other 1000x scopes.  (Oil immersion is really great for looking at blood cells and other objects of similar size.)

    You don't need an oil immersion lens or halogen lighting for high school biology, though.  The Sonlight Ultra Microscope has the same features only with fluorescent lighting without the 1000x lens for $230 with shipping.

    If price is the biggest factor you can get less expensive microscopes if you give up some combination of fluorescent lighting, mechanical stage, or iris diaphragm but you won't be as happy (in my opinion, anyway.)

    GreatScope's SAF3 has fluorescent lighting, iris diaphragm, and a clip stage for $211 with shipping.

    Home Training Tools' Home Microscope has fluorescent lighting but a disc diaphragm and a clip stage for about $187 with shipping.  A mechanical stage costs $25

    Bargain Microscopes' Student 400x has tungsten lighting, disc diaphragm, and a clip stage for $175 with shipping.

    I could not find a scope with tungsten lighting and an iris diaphragm.

    For something a little more eclectic you can look at Bargain Microscopes' Rechargeable 400x and camera.  The microscope has LED lighting (takes less power and is a step up from fluorescent), a disc diaphragm, and a clip stage; it is also rechargeable so you don't have to be near a plug.  It has a camera that you can insert into your eyepiece and plug into your computer with a USB port.  It captures video and still images.  The package is $210 with shipping.

    That's the round-up for this year.  I hope you find something you enjoy!

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Review of Charles and Emma: Darwins' Leap of Faith

    I learned a few things from this young adult book about the life of Charles Darwin after his adventures on the H.M.S. Beagle.  The book is based on his and his wife’s diary entries and because Charles was the more prolific writer we have more of his insights than Emma’s.  The quoted material is more of a sprinkling than a basis for the book so it is mostly the author’s interpretation than their actual words.

    Charles was agnostic from the start.  His father was a wealthy physician whose money bankrolled Charles’s scientific career and lavish home life (which turned out to be a very good investment).  He was a Unitarian, which the author describes as “a lenient Christian faith” though most other Christians would not agree; they would be more in line with Charles’s grandfather, Erasmus, who said it was a “featherbed to catch a falling Christian.”

    Charles studied theology at Cambridge because everyone studied theology that went to university in those days; University College London, the first “godless” institution, didn’t open until 1826.  Charles did not do well, though he steeped himself in the Natural Philosophy of the day—the notion that the beauty of nature proved God’s existence.  This very popular philosophy during Darwin’s time is what was so threatened by his hypothesis of Natural Selection because, in Darwin's mind, the process of Evolution developed the beauty of creatures and not God.  When someone like Charles has been raised without a clear theology and tends to take up the current philosophical fad of the day (he later followed Francis Newman for awhile until he disagreed with him, too,) we are not surprised by his eventual atheism.  Charles, however, did not have the animosity towards people of faith as many of the atheists of today have.

    Overall, Charles was a highly reserved man who did not want to offend anyone.  (In fact he likely suffered from panic disorder and agoraphobia.) He was incapable of even disciplining his own children, though he had nannies to take care of that.  Ultimately it was this extreme Victorian reserve that held him back from publishing his thoughts on the very controversial topic of Natural Selection until he could have complete proof that he was right, perhaps the same level of proof he sought after in his search for God.  While he never took the leap of faith required of a Christian believer, he did publish his theory without iron-clad proof ultimately because someone else was going to beat him to it.  He received a letter from Alfred Wallace who conceived the very same theory, and even then he needed some coaxing from his friends, who also testified that Charles came up with it first.

    Emma Wedgwood, from the family of pottery fame, was Charles’s affluent cousin.  According to the book “Charles’s Wedgwood cousins had been brought up with few, if any, rules and the encouragement to think freely.”  She is often stated to be “deeply religious” though after reading this book I question people’s definition of that term.  After suffering the tragic loss of Emma’s sister, Fanny, Emma’s faith was then derived mostly from a desire to see a loved one in the afterlife rather than on any deep personal belief.  This theme is emphasized by the author throughout the book.  I am not surprised she was unable to convince her loving husband of the existence of God.  She, too, picked and chose what she wanted to believe. She turned away from the altar during mention of the Trinity, and their daughter Elizabeth decided not to be confirmed because she also did not believe in the Trinity.  The frequent mention of “free thinking” in the book seemed a nod to modern rationalism.  (Freethinkers, ironically, can only form opinions based on logic and science without philosophy or theology, which seems hypocritical to me.)

    Though the book is based on the writings of Charles and Emma, the author does give us a good dose of her own filter.  The most telling words in this regard are:

    For his part, Charles admitted that Emma had been right when she said that his looking at the world in a scientific way probably precluded him from looking at it in a religious way.  Perhaps to do the great science he did, he had to focus entirely that way—to let religion in would have diluted his effort.  That did not mean he would deny Emma—or anyone—their beliefs.  But for him, science was the way to get answers. (p. 213)

    Emma must not have been familiar with the long and important history of scientific discovery brought about by people of faith that continues today.  This false generalization is the result of ignorance given her social circles, though it is a stereotype that the author willingly perpetuates.

    The enjoyment of the book came through the loving and devoted relationship between Charles and Emma throughout their lives and tragedies.  We learn about living a privileged life in Victorian England.  They had 10 children, one who died at less than a month, another at age 10, and their last at age 2.  Charles himself was plagued with sickness throughout his life (though the book does not mention panic disorder as the likely cause).  Emma mothered him and he was willingly a child around her.  She gave great comfort to Charles as well as the children during their times of illness.  We really don’t get much of a scientific history; the book is primarily the personal life of Charles and Emma Darwin.   One tidbit I found interesting is how different their painted portraits looked from their photographs; I would not have thought them to be of the same subjects.

    The book brings to light so much of the religious confusion in 19th century England.  Unfortunately the author’s anti-religious filter stifles the potential for it to enlighten the reader regarding this turbulent time so well reflected by the Darwin family.  In the end the religious story is a tragic one for the Darwin clan, deteriorating into the birth of the Eugenics movement through Charles’s cousin Francis Galton that was endorsed by Charles himself (also not mentioned in the book).

    I am disappointed to find a modern trend in children’s book awards to select titles with anti-religious themes, this book being no exception.  Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith has received the YALSA-ALA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction award, was a National Book Award finalist, and is an honor book of the ALA’s Printz Award.

    This review is also available on

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    Diigo web 2.0

    Diigo is a web 2.0 (social network) site designed to share bookmarks and lists.  You may have noticed I used to use Delicious and fed my bookmarks to the sidebar of this blog.  I have found Diigo to be much easier to use and much more powerful.  Besides being able to bookmark and tag websites and feed links to the blog, I am able to create list lists for science subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Science Interactives, and so forth.  I can add notes to websites that others in my network can see when they visit.  I can even highlight and annotate part of a website and send that to others in the network.  I am also able to create groups, like the At Home Science group I made, to which members can contribute and be emailed the latest posts as they are added, or daily, or weekly.

    Diigo also has a very hand toolbar for bookmarking, highlighting and annotating websites.  I have buttons that take me to my library website or displays links in a sidebar.  If the toolbar is too much, you can drag the Diigolet to your links toolbar, then click on it whenever you want to save a website to your Diigo.

    If you decide to use Diigo, be sure to follow me and join the group to send and receive great science links.  If you don't join, feel free to browse my public library and lists.

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Carnival of Homeschooling is Up

    The Carnival of Homeschooling is now up, put together by Shez at Homeschooled Twins.  If you've never browsed this oldest and largest and most diverse homeschool blog carnival, treat yourself!

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Finding Darwin's God

    Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (P.S.)Evolution, Creationism, Microevolution, Intelligent Design, Materialism, Science and Religion...where does one begin to understand what all controversy is about?  Start with Kenneth Miller's book, Finding Darwin's God.

    Kenneth Miller is a Catholic cell biologist that clearly explains all of these subjects.  He begins by taking us through the volumes of evidence supporting Evolution, including the scientific meaning of "theory" that is often misused by opponents of Evolution.  He then gives the details of Creationism, Microevolution-only, and Intelligent Design, describing not only where these proposals are wrong based on the scientific evidence, but also where they are philosophically insufficient to explain God's relationship to His creation.

    After showing the fallacies in these common challenges to Evolution, he continues on to a very important section detailing how scientists also misuse Evolution as a basis for a philosophy of religion in that it somehow proves that God does not exist.  He points out that scientists' vicious religious attacks are some of the reasons why Evolution has such passionate opponents. (He did not continue on with how a twisted interpretation of Evolution became the foundation of the horrid philosophy of Eugenics.)  He points out the hypocrisy in demeaning those who try to discount Evolution by distorting the science while giving a pass to those who also distort the science to apply it to philosophy and society.

    Finally, he takes his readers through the scientific basis as to why Evolution does not mean that our lives, our choices, our futures are determined and predicted by our genetics.  He explains that, at the very core of all the ordered universe, we have found quantum chaos that impacts even how mutations occur. In other words, God has a role to play in our lives.

    My sense is that Miller wrote this book for scientists and people like me--Catholics who understand the Unity of Truth and have no qualms with Evolution, but strongly reject Evolutionism.  He demonstrates that being a serious scientist and a serious Catholic is not a conflict.  He does not, however, get into any of the theology about where Evolution fits into God's plan; he does not discuss why there is something instead of nothing, and, frankly, that is much too big a question to address in this book.

    In taking this approach, he sometimes oversimplifies an argument to the point where he puts it on theologically shaky ground.  For example, he says that evolution eventually created what God was looking for--creature that could know and love Him--undermining an All-Knowing God.  He also discusses free will by saying that it is impossible to create people with the option to sin that would never do so.  Technically, using a logic argument, it is highly unlikely that no one would sin ever but not impossible.

    While the book is an excellent overview of this controversial topic, it does not discuss Evolution in light of Catholic religious philosophy or theology.  Finishing this book left me looking for a good follow up to fill in these areas.

    I particularly took interest in the tale of Fr. Murphy, who told a very young Miller that a flower is a work of God, just like we are, because scientists don't know why they form.  This was, indeed, a botanical mystery until a much older Miller saw the discovery of genes that cause leaves to modify into flowers.

    If we teach our children a God-of-the-Gaps--that God must exist because science cannot explain certain natural phenomena--then we are setting them up to lose that belief as science progresses, especially if they become scientists.  Teach them that we must have a regular, predictable world in order to recognize miracles; that we live in a natural as well as a supernatural world; and that God is the answer to the question, "Why is there something instead of nothing?"

    You can read a different review of this book at

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Cloud Study Week 2

    The second week's activity was for the students to research and create a cloud classification system.  It was meant to be done as a Problem Based Learning exercise, but our kids did not do well with this approach at all.  The difficulty was that none of them were adept at extracting information from their book sources, so that only led to confusion when trying to pull things together as a group.  Ultimately I gave them each books to take home so that next week they could all bring back information they learn.

    I have been looking for online resources for the kids to look at, too.  One of the best sites I have found is Windows to the Universe, which has a wealth of information for all fields of science. Their teacher resource section for Atmosphere and Weather has several activities relating to clouds.  It also has this nifty cloud viewer to print and use for classification.  We have decided to continue our co-op until the end of June so I can find some extension activities here if we finish the NASA packet.  The student page about clouds has a lot of great information for the kids to read.

    Another site I got from Library of Books, Links and More: Crazy About Clouds was NOAA's JetStream--Online School for Weather section about clouds.  They have two interactive cloud charts (main page and classification page,) a pdf cloud observation log, and a cloud identification wheel to cut out and use.

    Finally, I found a neat article about Luke Howard, the man who named the clouds.  It's from The Weather Notebook, a great resource from the Mt. Washington Observatory that is still available though stopped posting new material in 2005.

    A site a just recently came across is NASA Virtual Skies.  This has all things aviation, from math, to physics, to weather, to technology.  It includes teacher resources as well.  I found great information on clouds including a chart of cloud map symbols.

    Hopefully the kids will do a little better with the group dynamics once they all have some information under their belts.  I am going to read more about PBL from a teaching perspective to find some tips to encourage my students.

    We Found Them All!

    I just thought I'd mention that we found all 10 of the Mystery Classes! The kids were very excited to see the posting on the web site and to see the locations displayed on the animated globe.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Review of Newton and Me

    With the release of Newton and Me I was hoping to find an elementary science book written as an engaging story but, unfortunately, I was disappointed. The book is about a boy and his dog, Newton, discovering various forces in their daily lives, forces first described by Isaac Newton.

    The difficulty I have with this book is that the reading and concept levels do not match. I very much promote and encourage introducing science concepts at a young age; however, the basic story and rhyming text, appealing to preschool through first grade, does not introduce any concepts they do not readily realize naturally, and yet this same age group would have a hard time understanding the concepts presented in the "For Creative Minds" section, like friction, or pushing something "twice as hard." (This is available as a free download from Sylvan Dell.)

    The colorful yet simple illustrations are well matched to the text and theme. Some of the concepts presented are things like: a ball rolls easier on a sidewalk than on the grass; when it is thrown into the air always comes down; a toy truck stays stationary on level ground yet rolls on a hill, and others. Many of the activities in the "For Creative Minds" section are cross-curricular relating mostly to language development.

    Sylvan Dell has long struggled to publish non-nature science story books for elementary-aged children.  Based on how few titles actually fit that description from any publisher, it must be a tough genre. I am still holding out hope that they will publish better offerings in this area.

     This review is also available on