Secrets of the Universe by Paul Fleisher

This school year we are exploring physics.  It is a topic that I did not have much exposure to during my education so I’m learning right along with them.  The Secrets of the Universe Series by Paul Fleisher was recommended to me.  My son likes depth so I was looking for something that went into depth, but was kid friendly at the same time.  We just finished the first book Liquids and Gases: Principles of Fluid Mechanics and I am very impressed.  I had considered just using the book with my older son, but I read aloud some of it to my younger son and he wanted to use the book too.  I am embarrassed to say that prior to this book I didn’t know how a refrigerator worked.  I do now and so do my boys.  We had to take a look at the back of the refrigerator after we finished the book.  The book also suggests experiements most of which can be easily done at home.  It took about 1.5 hours for us to read the book aloud.  We didn’t stop to do the experiments, but we did stop and talk about what we were learning and we went to Youtube to see some of the experiments in action.  It also answered a question we had on a science experiment we did last week.  We had done an experiment from Developing Critical Thinking Through Science Book 2.  The experiment demonstrated how a chemical change can cause a change in the state of matter.  We had put a balloon on a bottle.  The balloon had seltzer powder in it.  When the seltzer power hit the water a gas was produced and the balloon blew up.   At the end of the experiment we decided to vary what we did and see if something different happened.  Instead of using water that was room temperature I used hot water and we used extra seltzer powder.  The balloon blew up bigger and faster and we observed the condensation on the outside of the bottle (related to a previous experiment).  I set it aside and over time the balloon deflated and was sucked into the bottle and started inflating in reverse.  I didn’t know how to explain it as I didn’t understand it myself.  We were talking this morning and wondering why it did what it did.  As we read through the Liquids and Gases book we found our answer.  The hot water cooling down caused a pressure change.  The first chapter in this book also had my son shouting “ah-ha!” when he learned how buoyancy worked.  Fun, fun!  This book series should be a great fit for us.  

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