Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
Introduce incipient inventors to How Things Work so that they can appreciate and apply the basic principles of simple and complex machines, and other mechanisms to their own inventions. Neil Ardley's directions for the projects are clearly delineated with step-by-step photographs of upper-elementary and middle grade students engaged in the activities. Cutaway drawings enhance his explanations in this newest of a first-rate series designed for adults and children exploring science together.
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
This comprehensive resource contains step-by-step experiments that investigate different aspects of technology and how machines work. Students can build machines and devices that actually work such as microphones and simple computers, explore the inner workings of different machines such as television sets and escalators, and investigate the scientific principles behind machines such as airplanes, clocks, kites, cameras, and telephones. Each experiment contains a listing of materials, colorful photographs, diagrams, illustrations, clear instructions, and useful background information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Ardley's book combines scientific explanations with over 80 experiments. Six chapters cover the basics of machines, construction and buildings, household appliances, transportation, leisure items, and information technology. Each chapter features several double-page spreads that introduce such topics as "walls and floors" or "weighing machines," usually followed by one or two activities. Captioned, full-color photographs and diagrams provide examples or additional information. In a few cases-"dams" and "combustion engines," for example-the concept is explained through captioned photos that show a child enacting an experiment. The author's weaving of history, narrative explanation, and projects is generally successful, giving children a solid context for the activities and showing how various areas of science apply to the everyday world. The majority of the experiments include an adult help advisory, and some require materials most kids will have to purchase or borrow. On the other hand, many are easy enough for youngsters to manage on their own with common household items, and the variety and quantity insure that most readers will be able to find several that are intriguing and accessible. An attractive layout, with white backgrounds and plenty of color, adds to the book's appeal, but at times the pages are crowded.-Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR