Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Physics Solar Workshop

Physics Solar Workshop

Fall 2006 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $59.95
Children can choose to build an assortment of suggested miniature solar-powered vehicles: tractors, trucks, rovers, bulldozers, and taxiing airplanes. Or, they can design and create their own solar-powered devices. A photo of the Honda Dream, a spaceship-like car featured in the annual solar car race in Australia, which is inside the guidebook, is particularly exciting.

The instruction manual contains a lot of advanced science. Although some of the directions may be a bit hard to follow, persevering through the instructions is well worth it. The products are spectacular; they are sturdy and really roll. The solar panel swivels to catch the best rays. Children can time how fast the vehicles move in forward and reverse. They can add loads to their solar pickup trucks and see how much weight they carry. The vehicles climb hills, and children can measure the slopes. All of these are hands-on ways of learning math and science. This is a versatile and satisfying kit with important lessons. In this era of dwindling resources, we really want to inspire budding solar engineers.

Mary Hollowell   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Mary Hollowell is a parent, a science teacher, and a naturalist. She lives in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Look for this product at:
Thames & Kosmos
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers
Museum Stores
Book Stores

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