Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Convection Spinner

I had one more experiment I wanted to share from The Usborne Book of Science Experiments, before moving on in our summer parade of children's science books. I'm still hoping to put together a top 10 recommendation list. And, the children have agreed, they would like to pick their favorite of the top 10, to work through every experiment, as a part of their science curriculum, this year.

The Usborne Book will not make it onto our list, however - not because it's poorly written, or because the experiments are unworkable, but because the experiments were too difficult for the children to perform alone (even my 9-13 year olds, who seem to be the target audience). And, the format failed to draw them in, and really excite them. But, looking through the book, with an adult eye, there are enough interesting activities, to give this one, at least an honorable mention.

It does have some very cool experiments - such as a convection spinner, which is like a convection snake...

...but instead of using the heat from a candle, it is turned, just with the heat from your hand.

It is exciting to watch the propeller slowly, begin to spin, seemingly, on it's own. The book has a template for the propeller, which can be traced, and cutout.

The line across the middle, is a crease line. You fold, and unfold the paper, to make the crease, and then balance it on a pencil, held in your fist. That's where the difficult part came in. T, managed to balance the paper just long enough for me to take the picture, but not long enough to get the paper to spin.

I managed to get it to spin, and the children were awed, but disappointed they couldn't do it themselves. So, I'd say, there are some fun science demonstration ideas in this book, that your kids will enjoy watching, but they will need help with most of them.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


  1. In some ways those are the worst books because it has such potential, but it doesn't live up to its potential.

  2. I love your science book reviews. It can be so frustrating for kids when they can't accomplish something they want to do, so I look forward to reading your list of top books.

  3. Thanks for sharing that. We really need to get more into science experiments again. I find with so much wonder in Nature we really slack off in the science area and just stick to nature in the summer. I love reading your blog and gave you an award. You may already have one. I hope you don't mind that I did. Here is the link. http://ourpace.blogspot.com/2010_08_01_archive.html#786341764107528397

  4. I'm really looking forward to your top 10 list -- this is so helpful!

  5. I am also looking forward to your top 10, you Science Master, you!

  6. Good review! I am also disappointed when the science books appear too convoluted and require too much prep. It's especially true in my situation of very limited time. I am really looking forward to your top 10 picks! What will happen if different kids will vote for a different "top" book?