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Children's LiteratureSections of this book were previously published in five of the author's other works written from 1993 onward. A science educator, VanCleave has divided this volume into five areas of science (biology, physics, chemistry, earth science, and astronomy) and presented useful warm-up activities to get a young researcher thinking about a topic and how one might approach investigating it with a good research question. For instance, one project explores measuring the depth of the ocean by sound, using a stop watch, a tennis ball dropped from a single height onto various "sub-aquatic features" such as a pile of books, while another explores geotropism. The accompanying discussion shows how to chart the depth using sonar findings, and then suggests two experiments or explorations you could do in designing your own experiment. A "Get the Facts" section mentions other factors to consider, special resources, and books to which you might refer but since most titles are selected from the 1990s and not updated from the previous editions, students are advised to hit the internet or ask a librarian for more recent material when in doubt. Illustrations and sample charts help with visualizing what an experiment might look like or how to present data. This is a fine jump-starter for students who are clueless as to what to do as the projects include a wide range of investigations doable by someone with few resources. While an adult may need to help a teenager get located in the right subject, the introductory procedures suggest enough information and techniques to help learners do more than kill off bean plants in various ways. Some of the projects assume a sound knowledge of, say, electricity and some makeuse of appendices at the back of the book which tell how to conduct a random sampling and blow it up for a whole population, present trigonometric functions, or show a comparative chart of the planets. It's a good resource for science teachers and their students alike. 2003, Wiley, Ages 11 to 16.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.\