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

Glowing Chemistry

Glowing Chemistry

Fall 2014 Toys
Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $34.95

Glowing Chemistry is a science kit that focuses on light effects and luminescence; examining light resulting from absorption of radiation or from biological or chemical processes. The thorough manual contains 22 experiments that explore the surprising world of light chemistry.

Investigations begin with a UV lamp. Most of us know that white fabrics glow brightly under a "black light", but who knew that brown spots on bananas also cast the dim violet halo? Next, young scientists make a solution of glowing water and write with invisible ink, then add soap and blow bubbles that glow in the dark. Lab workers gain an understanding of what UV light is, where it is, and how to protect the skin from its harmful effects with sunscreen. Other experiments include learning why lightning bugs glow and how light sticks work.

"WHAT'S HAPPENING?" sections after each activity explain what's in the experiment and define science terms. "BONUS EXPERIMENTS" extend the activity, and "CHECK IT OUT" sections highlight examples in nature and provide further discussions of phenomena such as phosphorescence, bioluminescence, and chemiluminescence.

A full 25% of the experiment manual is extensive safety guidelines, good chemical handling practices, and good laboratory techniques. Proper personal protection, waste handling, and adult supervision are also specified for the chemical compounds used to conduct the activities.

The good information and great presentation kept our testers' attention and made the work fun. Plenty of chemicals are provided for continued investigations - four of which require a horse-chestnut tree or celandine plant. Here's hoping you're friendly with a botanist.

Ellie and Don Homce   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Don and Ellie Homce are the parents of two sons. Ellie is a former chemistry and physical science teacher and trainer in the hazardous materials field. Currently a professional volunteer at local schools and a thrift shop, Ellie continues to pursue her interests in art. Don is a health and safety and environmental science professional who enjoys building and fixing things. He has been a Boy Scout Leader for the past ten years.

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