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Spectacular Science at Your Fingertips!

From Astronomy to Physics. From Animals to Volcanoes. Whatever the science (or math!) topic, Janice VanCleave has a book full of hands-on projects that will inspire while teaching essential concepts.

Book Cover

  • Gather a bowl of water, a ruler, a spoon, a paper clip, and some black pepper. See the calm at the eye of a hurricane!
  • Got a soda bottle, a drinking straw, a chunk of clay, and some red food coloring? Make a barometer!
  • What causes the greenhouse effect? Get a shoebox, a thermometer, some soil, and plastic wrap -- and you'll find out!
  • Want to understand how cold and warm air fronts cause weather changes? All you need to understand this concept is water, clay, food coloring, and cooking oil!

Why does it rain? What causes thunder and lightning? How does a cloud form? Looking for hands-on experiments to demonstrate those and other weather concepts? Get your hands on Janice VanCleave's Weather, published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc. ($10.95 U.S.). The book includes 20 fun and simple (and safe!) experiments that allow students to discover the answers to fascinating questions about weather, plus dozens of additional suggestions for developing science fair projects.

Want to know the answer to the question What makes frost form? The answer to that question can be found in an experiment called "Frosty" in VanCleave's Weather volume. (Click here to see the experiment.) That experiment is especially appropriate this month -- as VanCleave heads off to the South Pole!

Students can follow VanCleave's Antarctic adventures on a special Web page set up just for the trip. Perform experiments with her, read results of her Antarctic experiments, and e-mail her with your questions! For more information, see this week's Education World story, "Live" from the South Pole!


VanCleave, a former classroom science teacher, is now a popular children's book writer and lecturer. She is the author of more than 30 books, each packed with simple hands-on experiments for "teaching" science concepts to elementary and middle school students. Her books, including Janice VanCleave's 200 Gooey, Slippery, Slimy, Weird and Fun Experiments, are designed to grab onto a child's imagination and to hang on!

According to VanCleave, "The best way to teacher youngsters about science is with fun, simple experiments that they can do themselves." All of the experiments in her books make use of everyday household items. The experiments are pre-tested and absolutely safe. And, best of all, VanCleave gives the scientific explanation for each experiment in simple terms that anyone can understand.

VanCleave's latest books include Play and Find Out About Math from her Easy Activities for Young Children series (available now) and, from her Spectacular Science Projects series, Janice Van Cleave's Insects and Spiders: Mind Boggling Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects (available February 1998). Those two new books join a long list of other titles by Janice VanCleave -- that include more than 2,000 hands-on projects for kids!

Referring to her writing experiences, VanCleave says, "My home used to have a small room that contained my office and laboratory. Now it often looks like a laboratory that I live in." Her family and friends are fearful to eat anything from the refrigerator without asking, "Is this real food or one of your experiments?" It's no wonder that they are fearful, since the refrigerator might contain everything from meal worms to colored slime!

You'll find many of Janice VanCleave's books in your local bookstore or teacher store. If the title you want is missing, ask your bookseller to order it for you or contact the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., by phone at 212-850-6000 or by mail at 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158-0012.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1997 Education World