How many of you parents are extremely comfortable with teaching science? And I mean extremely comfortable.
If you’re not, you’re not alone! I’m not much of a science buff myself. I got good grades in it as a kid, but I haven’t really ever been interested in it. (Except for astronomy. Astronomy is awesome.)
So when it comes to teaching science, I find it hard to get a good grasp of the concepts so I can teach them to my kids. And that’s why I was thrilled to get a chance to review a great science book and try some of the activities, including a simple heat conduction experiment!
Read on to see why I loved this book and to see one of the included hands-on activities!
Disclosure: I received this product in exchange for this post and I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.
Science Concepts for the Non-Scientific Parent
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not super comfortable with science. And what’s worse – I’ve forgotten most of what I did learn in school. Fortunately, I’ve recently gotten a copy of the book Air Is Not Oxygen: Essential Science You Should Have Learned … But Probably Didn’t! and I have to say: It. Is. Incredible.
It’s a thorough overview of several scientific concepts, including light, heat, animal behaviors, and more. So it’s a good introduction or re-introduction to the same things you and I learned in school.
I had so many “Ohhhhh!” moments reading this book. For example, when Dr. Morelan talks about heat, he explains that you can generate heat through physical or chemical reactions. And for a physical reaction example, he tells you to rub your hands together (warming them) and then wave them in the air (cooling them).
Now did you ever think of that as friction or an example of how heat is generated? I didn’t!
And the book is written in a witty, conversational manner that just makes sense. I actually found my husband reading it later. That’s how good it is.
Simple Heat Conduction Experiment
After I read the section about how heat is generated with the kids, we tried one of the experiments in the book to observe heat conduction in action.
What is heat conduction? It’s how heat travels from one object to another. For example, when you touch something made of metal, it feels cold, right? Know why?
Because the metal is sucking the heat out of your body! For real! Just another thing I learned from Air is Not Oxygen. (Seriously, buy it now. You’ll be glad you did.)
It turns out that metal is an excellent heat conductor. And to test that statement, the book recommends experimenting by comparing to two other materials to see which one conducts heat the best. We took butter and spread it onto a plastic spoon, a metal spoon, and a pencil.
Then we stood all three up in a glass and added hot water.
And slowly but surely, the butter on the metal spoon began to soften.
We watched with bated breath…
Until it finally melted!
The butter on the pencil softened, but the butter on the plastic stayed fairly firm.
Yep. There’s no doubt that metal is the best conductor of the three. Science works!
This whole experiment took about half an hour. And most of that was spent in the observation phase. It was a really simple science experiment and a great way to “see” science in action.
And I finally understand what heat conduction is!
To brush up on science concepts and give your kids a chance to try a fun and simple heat conduction experiment, get your copy of Air is Not Oxygen from Amazon!
For more science fun, check out my It’s Science board on Pinterest!
And you can get even more ideas for teaching all kinds of homeschooling subjects, including science, in the book “The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas” from iHomeschool Network!