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The mucky path to discovery


Sound and Light. Electricity and Magnets. Forces and Motion. Matter and Materials. Kingfisher pound;5.99 each

This is an excellent series for ages seven and up. Forces and Motion has plenty of potential for investigation, making "anti-gravity cones", hot-air balloons and the like.

My own childhood home-science experiments were constantly frustrated by not having the right gear, and this would still apply to a few of the experiments included in these books; but generally the equipment needed can be found in any home or classroom. The microphone looks great fun, and it will work!

Matter and Materials is perhaps the least inspiring of the four, but still offers plenty of possibilities for getting dirty. The series is colourful and fun, and shouldn't date too rapidly. There is a glossary for difficult words and "what's going on?" boxes cover key scientific ideas, but the focus is firmly on finding out by making and doing.

Ian Francis is a science writer and science teacher

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