Category: Fun Science Activity (Page 2 of 111)

Chemical Reactions! #Kidlit #STEM Projects for National Chemistry Week

Right in time for National Chemistry Week October 17–23, 2021, we have Chemical Reactions!: With 25 Science Projects for Kids by Dr. Susan Berk Koch (website) and illustrated by Micah Rauch.

You can find tons of so-called chemistry experiments on the internet. The problem is it takes time to find the legitimate ones (in among the ads), and weed out the ones that are not age-appropriate or don’t work. Dr. Koch has done all that for readers ages 7-10, plus added the background and educational materials needed for successful learning.

The book starts with a historical timeline and a periodical table of the elements. The introduction lets young readers know why they should study chemistry, as well as introduces vocabulary words in convenient sidebars.

The following chapters are activities grouped based on chemical principles. Chapter 1 is about mixtures and how to separate them. Chapter 2 is about chemical reactions such as photosynthesis and making crystals. Chapter 3 covers water and the concepts of acids and bases. Chapter 4 plunges into gases and Chapter 5 explores manmade compounds, for example, the metal mixes in coins. Scattered throughout are QR codes that take you to extras like relevant YouTube videos.

The back matter has an extensive glossary, an explanation of metric conversions
, places you can find out more,  a list of the essential questions asked in each chapter, plus a full index.

The book is illustrated with diagrams, photographs and some fun cartoons, like the one you see on the cover.

Chemical Reactions! is perfect for budding chemists and students who love their learning hands on. It would also be a wonderful resource for a unit on chemistry or to develop experiments for an elementary-level science fair. Check out a copy and see what develops.


Related activity suggestions:

It is hardly necessary to supplement such a wonderful selection of activities, but here are a few.


Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 – 10 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Nomad Press (October 15, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1619309416
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1619309418

Disclosure: An e-ARC of this book was provided by the publisher. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

#STEAM #Kidlit What’s In Your Pocket?

To continue our STEAM children’s book series, let’s explore the childhood adventures of nine scientists in What’s in Your Pocket?: Collecting Nature’s Treasures by Heather L. Montgomery and illustrated by Maribel Lechuga.

When children collect and sort items they find in nature, they are learning important STEAM skills. In this book you will meet a boy who collected rocks and beetles, another who collected seeds and seed pods, and a girl who slept with earthworms under her pillow. Keep reading to find out which famous naturalists and scientists these curious children grew up to be.

They’ve created collections
They’ve made discoveries.
They’ve changed the world of science.

Maribel Lechuga’s vibrant illustrations perfectly capture each child’s wonder and surprise at the new things they stumble on.

The back matter gives a more complete biography of each of the people featured in the text, plus a charming note from the illustrator about how artists also appreciate and observe nature. In her author’s note, Heather Montgomery explains the need for collecting responsibly and gives some rules for respecting nature, respecting your family and community, and for protecting yourself when you gather from nature.

What’s in Your Pocket? is a delightful celebration of the collections made by youngsters who became famous scientists and naturalists. It is sure to inspire the next generation to make their own discoveries. Check out a copy today.

Related Activity Suggestions:

Visit Heather Montgomery’s website for resources for identification of trees, pond critters, and birds, as well as links to activity suggestions.

Activity 1. Make a leaf collection

Fall is a great time to make a leaf collection.  Use fallen leaves as an opportunity to study leaf form and function.


  1. Gather the leaves.
  2. Preserve the leaves.
  3. Display your collection.

Be sure to gather the leaves where you have permission to do so. A cloth bag can help hold your leaves while you are collecting.

There are many, many ways to preserve leaves. Personally, I press mine in between the pages of a few large books I keep for that purpose. This is something I learned from my grandmother. I still occasionally find a pressed leaf she tucked away in one of her books, a hidden treasure.

You may:

Be sure to include when and where you collected your leaves and any information you have about the identity of the plant. Keeping detailed records makes your collection more valuable as a scientific resource.

Use your preserved leaves to make and display a leaf collection. For example, see these third grade examples.

For a fun STEAM project, check out this lesson plan inspired by land artist Andy Goldsworthy.


Activity 2. Make a Seed Collection

In places with distinct seasons, plants often release their seeds in fall. To start, look for big seeds like acorns, maple keys, horse chestnuts, or walnuts. Here in Arizona we have mesquite pods.

If you can’t get outdoors, search for seeds inside common fruit like apples or pumpkins. Just be aware that learning how to dry and preserve seeds from fruit can be a bit of an art. There are books on saving seeds and many communities have seed libraries with information to help you get started.

A first collection can be stored in an egg carton (also useful for small rock collections). Bigger collections can be held in clean, dry spice jars or in labeled paper envelopes. As with the leaf collection, include when and where you collected your seeds and any information you have about the identity of the plant.





The diversity of seeds is amazing. To give you some idea of the different kinds, here at Growing with Science blog I posted a different seed photograph for 257 weeks in a row. First I posted the photographs — without identifying them — as mystery seeds. The following week I posted the identity with information about the plant (Seed of the Week). Many are listed by plant common name in the Seed of the Week archive page.

Activity 3. Make a list of things to collect

Brainstorm a list of other things that people collect.

  • Rocks
  • Seashells
  • Insects (particularly butterflies)
  • Pine cones
  • Bits of bark
  • Driftwood
  • Bones
  • Fossils
  • etc.

Discuss how these collections might be used, such as learning how to identify the items collected or figuring out where they can be found (geographical range).

Do you have a collection? What do you collect? How have collections inspired you?


Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Charlesbridge (September 14, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1623541220
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1623541224

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

Ten Reasons to Start a Nature Journal

If you have been hesitating to start, here are ten reasons why you should keep a nature journal.

1.  It is an inexpensive hobby. All you need is a notebook, a pencil, and perhaps a few art supplies.

2.  If you record the world around you, you will see how it changes over time.  If you write the date and location on each entry, you will  remember when the blackberries were ripe or when you saw the first violets the year before. You will begin to spot patterns.

3.  Writing and drawing makes you observe more closely and notice details. It will help you remember what you saw, heard, felt, and even smelled.

4.  A detailed nature journal allows you to share your experiences with others. Your journals may become a treasure passed down to another generation or a useful tool for scientific studies.

5.  You will learn the names of natural features (mountains, rocks, lakes) and living things in your community, while building your vocabulary. You get to know your neighbors in nature.

bird drawings
Can you tell the great-tailed grackle from the curved-bill thrasher?

6.  If you are worried about your ability to draw or write, remember that regular practice helps build confidence and skill. You will improve.

7. Nature journals are great places to keep track of your ideas and questions as you process.

Touch Me Not (1915) by Hannah Borger Overbeck. Original from The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

For example, why is this plant called a touch-me-not? Where does it tend to grow? Is it the same as jewel weed?

8. Writing and drawing in a nature journal takes time. It is an opportunity to slow down, to focus, to relax.

9.  A nature journal is personal. It reflects your interests, your creativity, your personality. It can be funny (cartoon animals with speech bubbles), mostly stories (writings), or almost entirely art. You can focus on the big picture (ecosystems, habitats) or the the close up, macro view (what insects live in an acorn?) Or a mix.

You can also focus on one group, such as only birds or only wildflowers.  There isn’t one way to do it. See these examples of nature journal pages to see the range.

10.  Start a nature journal and it might change your life.

Keeping a nature journal is an activity that combines science, art, writing, and an opportunity to get outdoors. What could be better?

Do you keep a nature journal? What advice do you have?

Related Activities:

  1.  See the International Nature Journaling Week website for tons of information and ideas.
  2. Try making comparisons between similar plants as a way to get started (video has details).

Free nature journal to print mentioned in the video

Their book is full of ideas:

How to Teach Nature Journaling: Curiosity, Wonder, Attention by John Muir Laws, Emilie Lygren and Amy Tan (Foreword)

Or look for books by Clare Walker Leslie:

The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You by Clare Walker Leslie

Disclosures: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles, covers, or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.

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