Molecules in Motion (“730 Easy Science Experiments” – Book Review)

By , September 22, 2008 10:45 pm

I must admit, my heart sank when my sister gave my kids the book 730 Easy Science Experiments: With Everyday Materials by E. Richard Churchill, Louis V. Loesching, and Muriel Mandell.

This confession will certainly earn me yet another “Mom of the Year Award,” but here it is:

Was my first thought:  “730?? Oh hooray! Think of all the wonderful projects and what we will learn together!!”  Noooo…. My first thought was:  “730?? Who is going to have to do those 730 science experiments with them?? Oh no!”

My childless sister seemed to pick up on my silent consternation and left with a sadistic smile (or so I thought) and the parting words of: “Have fun!”

Well actually, we are having fun.  The book sat on a shelf for a while until my 8 year-old daughter recently rediscovered it.

On Sunday, when I was planning a “Fun With Mom Day,” she showed me some experiments that she wanted to do.  Since we were going to have Fun With Mom no matter what, I was willing to assist in any and all experiments.  We did several.  The one I will share with you today involved the motion of molecules.

This sounds fancy, but actually, like most of the experiments in this very thorough (did I tell you already that there are 730 experiments?) volume, this experiment involved only items we had on hand here in the house.

You need food coloring, two clear glasses, and hot and cold water.  Put hot water in one glass (I used very hot tap water) and cold water in the other (I used super-cooled water from our refrigerator water dispenser).

Put just one drop of food coloring in each glass and watch what happens.  The molecules are moving faster in hot water so the food coloring blends with the water very, very quickly.  In the slower-moving cold water glass, the food coloring barely moves at all.  In fact it makes some beautiful slow-motion droplet shapes that reminded me of a lava lamp.

This glass was the hot water:

And this one was cold (see the “lava lamp?”):

This was just one of 730 experiments.  That means I have another 729 to inflict on you all!!

Seriously, I do like this book.  As I mentioned earlier, the ingredients are mostly household items, or are easily obtainable: no enriched uranium needed here.

The experiments vary in complexity from ridiculously simple yet not boring for young ones (Straw Wheels – moving a heavy book more easily using drinking straws as rollers – p.23) to more complicated yet still easily doable (Seeing Sound Waves p.110 or Balloon Barometer p.249).

The chapters are interesting and fun:  Clutching at Straws; Paper Capers; More Than Lemonade; Dairy Dozen; Adventures With a String; Soap Suds; Slow Start-Fast Finish; Keeping Your Balance; How to Have All the Moves; The Sound of Science; Feeling Stressed? Try Some Surface Tension; Science Can Give You a Warm Feeling; Blown Away; Being Earth Conscious; World Travellers; Leafy Lessons; Dirty Words: Soil, Sand, Humus, and Mud; Gravity and Magnetism: Attractive Forces; Don’t Fiddle With Old Fossils; Weather; Whirling Winds and Gentle Breezes; Water, Water, Everywhere; Building a Weather Station; Air, H2O, and Other Things; Here’s Superman, But Where’s Clark?; Salty Solutions and Sweet Success

Each experiment has a “What to do,” a “What Happens,” and most importantly, a “Why” section.

You’ll be seeing more experiments from us I am sure.  Remember, we still have 729 of them to show you!

11 Responses to “Molecules in Motion (“730 Easy Science Experiments” – Book Review)”

  1. The Mommy says:

    Oh I can’t wait until my homeschooled kids are old enough for this kind of thing! It looks like so much fun!

  2. Christin says:

    LOL!!! Oh my!!! I’m laughing because I have this book, too, and HAVE NOT DONE ONE EXPERIMENT out of it! It was a gift from my father-in-law (he bargain shops and found it at a deal, I guess). Well, it’s been sitting on my shelf for probably 3 years. It’s almost like, “where do you start!?”
    But I think you and your daughter have it down: give the book to your child and let THEM choose one or two to do on any given day. Hey, it saves us the hassle of trying to pick one and it assures that our child’s interests are peeked! :)

    Christins last blog post..BFS – It Keeps Going and Going and Going…(Energizer)

  3. Jenny says:

    That sounds like a really cool book. Do you think it’d be way too advanced for CJ?

    Jennys last blog post..It’s Raining!

  4. Baba says:

    lol. you have a lot of fun ahead of you. Can’t wait to see the next one.

    Babas last blog post..Your Impact is Nominated

  5. That looks like an awesome book! Thanks for sharing it!

    onemothersloves last blog post..Tiny Talk Tuesday

  6. What a fun experiment. I’ll see if Jaylene wants to try it tonight. Looking forward to the other couple of hundred experiments you’re going to do.

    Julie K in Taiwans last blog post..Musical Leaves

  7. Kathlene says:

    Haha, I love your post and have felt the same way about presents I have received.

    Yeah they are fun, but it takes a lot of effort to actually do them all.

    But hey at least you know where to go when you bored:)

    Kathlenes last blog post..Free Books Online

  8. Abbie says:

    I can totally relate to your post–my son is so enthusiastic about doing science experiments (no matter what time of day, no matter what else is going on, etc….). When he flips through a book like this one I know that the requests for materials & help are just about to start!
    Thanks for the great review. It definitely sounds like a book we’d like.

    Abbies last blog hvac

  9. Oooo. I think I am going to look at this book. We are always on the hunt for good and EASY science experiments. Most books are too advanced for my son but he sure loves science.

    Mom and Kiddos last blog post..Free Books at the Library

  10. […] Molecules in Motion (”730 Easy Science Experiments” – Book Review) […]

  11. […] even tried hot water vs. cold water.  Knowing that molecules move faster in hot water, we wanted to see if anything different happened to our oil/color mix in really hot water.  We […]

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