Crystals And Magnets.
The Crystal Kit. This activity package, designed by Running Press for children ages 8-12, includes chemicals students can use to grow crystals as well as a guide, Crystals: What They Are and How to Grow Them. The company also offers The Magnetism Exploration Kit, which includes magnets and accessories for experiments, as well as The Magnet Book, an illustrated outline of what magnets are and how they work. Cost: $16.95 each. Contact: Running Press Publishers, 125 S. 22nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19103-4399; (800) 3455359.
The World of Small. This 64-page paperback book introduces elementary school children to the miniature side of nature. Students are encouraged to use the five-power magnification lens that accompanies the text to examine everything from their own hands and hairs to feathers, flowers, mold, and worms. Part of the proceeds from the book’s sale benefits Yosemite National Park. Cost: $15.95. Contact: The Yosemite Association, P.O. Box 230, El Portal, CA 95318; (209) 379-2648.
Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method. This 224-page paperback has more than 100 different experiments designed to expose elementary students to science through their immediate surroundings. Each experiment shows children how to pose and answer scientific questions. Charts and teaching instructions are also included. Cost: $15.95. Contact: Fulcrum Publishing, Suite 350, 350 Indiana St., Golden, CO 80401; (800) 992-2908.
Janice VanCleave’s Spectacular Science Projects. This series, published by John Wiley & Sons, includes three books: Machines, Earthquakes, and Magnets. Each contains 20 inexpensive, easy-todo experiments related to its title topic. Cost: $9.95 per book. Contact: John Wiley & Sons, 630 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012; (800) 225-5945.
Archaeology And Astronomy.
Looking Inside Sunken Treasure. This 48-page paperback, part of John Muir Publications’ “X-Ray Vision” series, explores the science involved in underwater archaeology, including underwater breathing, excavation, and sunken-ship preservation. In addition, the company offers Looking Inside Telescopes and the Night Sky, also part of the series. This paperback describes various types of telescopes and includes full-color illustrations, photographs, and computer images of what the most advanced telescopes have revealed. Cost: $9.95 each. Contact: John Muir Publications, P.O. Box 613, Santa Fe, NM 87504; (800) 888-7504.
Exploring the Sky: Projects for Beginning Astronomers. This 432-page paperback includes factual information, illustrations, and 72 projects for beginning astronomers. Among other things, it shows students how to build a refracting telescope, experiment with prisms and light, and demonstrate the greenhouse effect. Appropriate for high school readers, the book proceeds from simple, backyard observation of the stars to more complex approaches to astronomy. Cost: $14.95. Contact: Independent Publishers Group, 814 Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610; (800) 888-4741.
Artificial Life Playhouse. With this 179-page paperback and PC-compatible disk, high school students can use their personal computers to study the subject of artificial life. The book guides readers through various computer programs, which cover such biological topics as genes, mutation, and evolution. Cost: $23.95. Contact: Waite Group Press, 200 Tamal Plaza, Corte Madera, CA 94925; (800) 368-9369.
Storm at the Shore. This 64-page hardback book uses a fictional story about a group of adventurous students to teach children about meteorology and hurricanes. Written in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the book includes a glossary of science terms and an activity chart that shows students how to plot the path of a storm. Cost $12.95. Contact: Silver Moon Press, 126 Fifth Ave., Suite 803, New York, NY 10011; (800) 284-8784.
Wildflower Field Guide and Press for Kids. This kit, which includes a 64-page paperback and a plastic flower press, is designed to teach basic botany to elementary school students. The guide shows children how to press and preserve wildflowers and determine their names and families. It also discusses the origins of various plants and suggests a number of hands-on projects, such as building a herbarium. Cost: $13.95. Contact: Workman Publishing, 708 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; (800) 722-7202.
You Can’t Grow Home Again. Children’s Television Workshop offers a 60-minute video focusing on Costa Rica’s rain forests. Winner of the Emmy for Children’s Programming, the video reveals how burning has endangered rain forest wildlife and contributed to the threat of global warming. Viewers learn what is being done to repair and rebuild the rain forest environment. Cost: $29.95. Contact: Sunburst/Wings For Learning, 101 Castleton St., Pleasantville, NY 10570; (800) 321-7511.
How the New Technology Works: A Guide to High-Tech Concepts. Oryx Press offers a 136-page “user friendly” guide to the latest advances in technology. Appropriate for high school students, the illustrated paperback book explains in concise terms how the technology revolution has moved into everyday life. Topics range from supercomputers to superconductivity. Cost: $28.50. Contact: Oryx Press, 4041 N. Central at Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85012; (800) 279-6799.
A version of this article appeared in the August 01, 1993 edition of Teacher as Extra Credit