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Did you know that I am teaching a science class? My goal was to base it solely in the periodic table, but I didn’t get the student numbers hoped for, so I’ve kinda turned it into a basic science class. We are still mostly doing the periodic table as the basis for our learning though, as elements make up EVERYTHING in the world you know? To that end, The Element in the Room, that I received as a review book from Raincoast Books has been immensely helpful.
From the Cover:
Did you know that without the ‘lead’ in your pencil, there would be no life on Earth? Or that diamonds and coal are both made from exactly the same thing? Or that the deadly ingredient used to make the most dangerous weapon in history can also be found in your bottled water?
Absolutely everything in the universe is made up of just 92 elements! And from aluminum to zinc, many of these atomic ingredients can be found in your very own home.
This funny and fascinating guide to the elements is bursting with brilliant facts about the ingredients that make up everything around us. Join the great scientific sleuth Sherlock Ohms as he explores the elements hiding in your home, and help his enquiries with explosive scientific experiments.
Ohms’ investigation will sort the isotopes from the allotropes, put the Able into Periodic Table, and electrify your electrons! Along the way, Atomic Comics show you the savvy scientists who discovered the elements and their extraordinary effects.
What you get:
Quite frankly, you get a delightfully informative book all about the periodic table. You start off learning the basics of what makes up an atom, what an electrical charge is, and building up from there. It does touch on the “big bang theory” as many science books are apt to do. Through talking about the stars and the how they fuse elements we are led into the periodic table.
As you can see, the elements are broken down into colour zone with what type they are labeled. Understanding that there are more than 100 elements leads to the question of how do they combine, so that explanation is given just before we delve into the world of the different elements in the room.
Each of the elements is discussed, some as part of a page grouping, others getting a page of their own and yet others spreading over two pages). In each case we are told where we can find the element in the world around us, the colour, how safe it is and it’s general use.
A sense of humour is evident through the pages. The author evidently enjoys science and wants to help the younger generation enjoy is as well. This is seen not only in the comics, but in the language and illustrations used.
The somewhat oversized book closes with the question…how many more elements will be discovered as scientists continue to make new ones. Will they be as unstable as the ones created thus far? Will one of today’s readers be the one to discover it?
To help the reader understand new terminology a glossary is provided at the close of the book.
What a delightfully informative book. There are several different ways to approach it.
- You could read the comics all the way through from start to finish so you get the whole story at once.
- Or you could learn about the specific element you are interested in
- Learning the elements in their groupings
- Checking them out by what state they are in etc.
In my co-op class we used it as a go-to for quick answers and for stimulating our thinking. We then took that knowledge to the internet to learn more details. One of the things I really appreciated was being told where we can find these elements in everyday life. It was an excellent Start here book for the 13 and 14 year olds I’ve been teaching. The comics weren’t just for fun, but to help us learn more of the history behind different elements being discovered. It’s led me to want to know about the Curie’s.
I disliked that the big bang theory as exactly that wasn’t introduced as the theory it is rather than being presented as fact, and… we can’t know that this theory is true. Evidence might point that way, but we still can’t know the truth. A theory should be taught as a theory, especially to impressionable young minds.
The Element in the Room
Illustrator: Lauren Humphrey
Hardcover, 64 pages, 7 and up
Science, chemistry, periodic table
Reviewed for Raincoast Books.
Where to buy Amazon.