Energy: 25 Projects Investigate Why We Need Power and How
We Get It is a wonderful book for a science-loving kid. It's recommended for ages 9-12, but my 7 and 8-year-old sons enjoyed it as much as my 10-year-old son. This is one of those wonderful books that you can leave strategically placed for your child to pick up, and the next thing you know they're coming to you asking for supplies to do the activities. They're learning and don't even know it!
This book explains what energy is, covers eleven different types of energy (ranging from electricity and coal to wind power and geothermal energy), and wraps up with a look at the future of energy. In the back of the book there is a glossary, a list of books for further reading, and a list of websites to visit. There are 25 projects that use either household items or items you can easily pick up at the store. Projects are given after each of the book's 12 chapters, and these projects include making a simple lemon battery, trying to clean up an oil spill, making a simple hovercraft, making coal candy, and making an electromagnet. The final project walks your child through performing an energy audit of your home.
The font is a pleasant size to read, and the text is broken up with Words to Know boxes, black-and-white illustrations, and trivia facts. The experiments are fun. They require little to no supervision from parents and successfully reinforce what was learned in the chapter. Even though I chose to not do a formal study of energy with this book, it could easily be used for an introductory course on energy. I also think it is well suited to use in a co-op situation.
There are a couple of references in this book about the Earth being millions of years old, and there is also a short explanation of global warming, including a reference to the danger the Earth is in if ice continues to melt and oceans continue to rise. It is easy enough to explain your family's views on these matters, though, and the book isn't permeated with them. I learned a lot about energy from reading this book, and so did my sons. I would absolutely recommend Energy:
25 Projects Investigate Why We Need Power and How We Get It, and I will continue to leave it out for my boys to pick up.