Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: Amazing Science

I've blogged before about the benefits of educational DVD's when I was feeling under the weather.  It's easy to find movies that cover history, but science is another matter.  So I was excited to get Amazing Science Volume 1 from   There are 23 experiments (each 6-16 minutes long) on 2 DVDs.  I figured you'd like to know exactly what they are.  I've added my own coding after the titles: WOW--high wow factor for viewers, CH--uses common household items,  PG--parental guidance needed because of fire or other hazards.

  1. Color Changing Milk (WOW, CH) -- Food coloring allows us to see the movement of molecules when dish soap reacts with milk.
  2. Egg in a Bottle (WOW, CH, PG)-- Burning matches create a vacuum in a bottle, sucking a hard boiled egg through a seemingly too narrow opening.
  3. Exploring Air Pressure (CH) -- Two cups completely filled with water are stacked open ends together.  The water of the inverted cup doesn't leak out till air is introduced via a straw.
  4. Build a Lemon Battery (CH) --  Acid interacting with two different metals creates a weak current of electricity.  Several Lemon batteries can run a calculator.
  5. Inverted Cup of Water (WOW, HC) -- A piece of cardboard (or plastic) is placed over a full cup of water and everything is inverted.  Not only does the cardboard stay in place but the water doesn't leak out.  (I've seen this performed as a  magic trick and it's simply physics).
  6. Candle Suction Power (HC, PG) - A burning candle is placed in a dish of water.  A clear glass is placed over the candle.  When the flame dies out, the water creeps up the sides of the glass.
  7. Amazing Magnetic Force (WOW) --  You need a copper tube and a neodymium magnet. Rather than simply fall through the tube, the magnet gracefully floats down--seemingly defying gravity, despite the fact that copper is not magnetic.
  8. Lift Ice Cube with String (HC) - Table salt changes the freezing point of ice long enough to melt and refreeze around a string.
  9. Unburnable Money (WOW, PG)-- Paper (or money) is wrapped around a copper pipe and held over a flame.  The copper dissipates the heat rapidly enough the the paper doesn't reach its combustion point.
  10. Matchstick Speedboat (WOW, HC)--A wooden matchstick (or some black pepper) allows us to see how dish soap breaks the surface tension of a bowl of water.  (The pepper is more eye-catching than the matchstick).
  11. Cloud in a bottle (WOW, HC, PG) -- After coating the interior of a two liter bottle with rubbing alcohol, you use a bicycle pump to increase the air pressure in the bottle.  When you remove the pump and the pressure decreases, an instant cloud forms in the bottle.  (PG so little ones don't think the alcohol is water and try to drink it).
  12. Reverse an Image with Water (WOW, HC) --Draw several arrows on a sheet of paper and look at it through an empty glass.  When you add water to the glass, the arrows suddenly appear to point in the opposite direction.
  13. Floating Eggs (HC)--By adding salt to a glass of water, we change its density allowing eggs that previously sand to the bottom to now float (This demo is much cheaper than a trip to the Dead Sea, but it's more fun when you're the floating object).
  14. Keeping Paper Dry Under Water (HC)--Presented as more of an "I bet I can..." proposition, the paper is crumpled up and stays dry in the air pocket of an inverted glass.
  15. Dry Ice Bubbles (WOW, PG)--Probably the most mesmerizing effect on the disk (watch the video below).  The dry ice vapor is trapped in a bubble which sinks instead of floating away.  I don't know which is more fun--watching the bubble form or pop. Parental Guidance because of the dry ice.
  16.  Balloon in a Candle Flame (HC, PG)--Hold an inflated balloon over a candle and it pops, but add one simple ingredient inside the ballon and it won't.
  17. Ocean in a Bottle (HC)--You may have seen these commercially available but now make your own with oil and water.
  18. Build a Motor with Lights--By stacking a battery, a nail, and a neodymium magnet and connecting the battery and magnet with wire, you can make the magnet spin at great speed.  You can make it flashier by adding a flat battery and LED lights.
  19. Simple Lava Lamp -- (HC)You may not be old enough to remember the original lava lamps.  This version doesn't have the large globs floating up and down.  It's a much smaller and simpler version that uses oil, water and salt.
  20. Invisible Ink (WOW, HC)  I suppose making secret writing appear is always visually appealing to kids.  They may like to pass secret messages to friends or siblings.
  21. Density Tower (HC)--several liquids of different densities are color and placed in a jar.  Then items are dropped into the jar to see in which layer of liquid they rest.
  22. Soda Can Fizz (HC)--We've all faced the problem of how to open a dropped or shaken can.  Here we learn it's more effective to tap the sides rather than the bottom of the can first.
  23. Build a Motor #2 -- A similar spinning motor like experiment 18, but this one can stand on a table and spin on its own.

While watching the videos with my Schnickelfritz I noticed an emerging pattern.  He would be attentive during the "performance" of the experiment itself but often tuned out the rationalization--sometimes even leaving the room.  That was all right with me.  At his age I'd rather he develop a fascination with science then nail down the facts behind the experiment.  With younger kids it might be better to view the video alone and then do the experiment yourself based on the example just for the wow factor.  Older students studying physics or chemistry may benefit from the very thorough explanation.  You can decide for yourself which experiments to try in your home, but you can still benefit from the more complicated or dangerous ones by watching the DVD.

The 2 DVD set is $19.95 (plus shipping) or you can download the videos for $17.99.  There are many other products that have been reviewed by the Homeschool Crew in the past.  You can see my reviews of  Young Minds: Numbers & Counting and The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor DVD's or you can see what other Crew members think of Amazing Science by clicking here.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Amazing Science for the purpose of completing this review.  I received no other compensation for my honest opinion.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Dropping by from the crew...nice review. That took a lot of work to rate the experiments like that. We really enjoyed this one.

Following on GFC and Linky followers.

Karen @

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