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Children's LiteratureThis third entry in the "Chemistry! Best Science Projects" series, combines information with how-to directions which help middle school and high school students understand how plastics and polymers are formed and why. While exploring properties with a series of low-key experiments, readers learn terminology chemists use when describing polymers, the properties of polymers (some burn, some attract water, fabrics behavior, recyclable determinants, and so forth). Experiments use household glue, polystyrene cups, oil paint, and a few things available at a hardware store. Throughout, readers are cautioned to put on or take off safety goggles, use an adult's help for certain parts, or ask their chemistry or science teacher for materials. Diagrams, lists of materials needed, and a light touch with the figures give the book an open and approachable look. In each of the four sections (an introduction and dealing with properties, testing methods, and natural rubber and polystyrene), topics to investigate are included in "Science Project Ideas." It is a clear and informative book which does not condescend to knowledgeable AP Chemistry students yet at the same time leads middle-schoolers into the topic as well. Includes a glossary, index, helpful websites, related readings, and two appendices. 2004, Enslow Publishers, Ages 11 to 15.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.