Janice VanCleave's Spectacular Science Projects Series

Each of these topical books contains 20 simple and fun experiments (using the scientific method) ready to be incorporated into (or become!) your science unit. Each exploration begins with a question / concept to answer, followed by a materials list (mostly common household items) and step-by-step procedure for performing the experiment. Most helpful is the "Results" section which briefly tells what should have happened in your experiment. Nice blackline illustrations help clarify set-up, procedure, and/or results. Following this is a "Why?" heading under which the principles involved are explained. "Let's Explore" contains one or more suggested variations on the experiment in which factors in the experiment are varied to see what the effects are. The "Show Time" section goes a bit farther, providing the basis for a presentable science fair project, if you want to do that. If not, the extension activities provide further experimentation and discovery - and you can skip the "show" part. Finally, "Check it Out!" provides some further discussion of the experience along with questions to spawn further research. This is an excellent discovery approach to science. Particularly in the elementary grades, I would consider using one or more of these books as my science curriculum, integrating outside references and books during the "Check it Out!" phase.

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