Science - Up, up and away

16th November 2012 at 00:00
Bottle rockets and volcanoes: why Lord Winston got my vote

Kira Dunn (aged 9)

The Royal Society Young People's Book Prize has been running for more than 20 years. The winner this year - selected by panels of children aged 14 and under - is Science Experiments by scientist and broadcaster Robert Winston. Here one of the judges, nine-year-old Kira Dunn from Kew Green Preparatory School in West London, explains why this book was her favourite.

All six books on the shortlist are really good. But we liked Science Experiments because it shows you how to do lots of interesting experiments at home.

The book is split into five sections: "The Material World", "Forces and Motion", "Energy in Action", "Electricity and Magnetism" and "The Natural World". It has a mixture of photographs, drawings, diagrams and text, which is really clearly spread out and shows you exactly what to do.

There are useful top tips - such as how to get the best results and avoid making too much mess - and extra information on each page to explain how the chemicals reacted with each other to make things happen.

It was a bit like some recipes: the book tells you whether the experiments are easy or difficult and how long they will take. It also tells you if they are a bit dangerous! Or if you need an adult to help you. Sometimes it even tells you to stand back.

I tried Launch a Bottle Rocket, where we taped fins to a plastic drinks bottle, half filled it with water, then pumped air into it until we had lift-off. I did it in the garden and the bottle flew really high into the air - and, a few times, into the neighbours' gardens. Next I made a Violent Volcano - you can do it with baking soda, washing-up liquid, red food colouring, vinegar and sand. It only took 20 minutes.

My friends tried Slime Time (exploring the chemical make-up of cornflour and water), made their own torch and learned how to make a metal detector.

This book is brilliant because the experiments are fun - and lots of them make a mess. It also had facts I could read on my own. At the moment, although I can see what happens in some of these experiments, it can still sometimes be hard to understand why. The book explains these things really well. My older sister finds it useful, too - and Dad keeps stealing it.

Science Experiments is published by DK.

For more information about the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize go to: royalsociety.orgawardsyoung-people

What else?

TES spoke to Lord Winston in a webchat last month. Check out what he had to say at: bit.lyRobertWinstonChat

Pupils can make their own bottle rockets in p.tyron's lesson.


The Royal Society has shared more than 170 resources, on a range of topics from bats and bugs to trauma surgery. bit.lytesRoyalSociety.

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