My oldest and another Chemical History of a Candle experiment:
This experiment/demonstration absolutely required adult supervision ; )
My 8 year old daughter enjoyed her way through an entire year of Let's-Read-and-Find-Out science books last year, just perfect for a beginning reader. She basically kept a science notebook (you have to read Nancy's post on this) in which she recorded anything she thought was interesting - either by reading about it or actually observing it.
I thought I would be comfortable using a set curriculum for her science this year (aside from natural science assigned readings) because she wanted some more hands on, bang type of labs ; ) We did try it and within two weeks dropped it. It just didn't feel right for us. We were back to living books, observation and a science notebook.
I happened to find a thin 48 page picture book on our used library sale shelf last summer called Magnets and How To Use Them by Tillie S. Pine and Joseph Levine. At a dollar price I purchased it and thought my boys would find it interesting because of its simplicity and lots of illustrations. Just didn't think it was a science book! Hmmm...my daughter found this absolutely perfect for her new science this year. It isn't that the book is simplistic but, rather, that the writing is just perfect for an elementary student. It is talking to the student and giving all the information in way that they understand the subject while enjoying it too. This certainly fits the description of a living book.
I ordered a magnet set and she got to work with her weekly science as usual. I found two more titles for her by the same authors: Simple Machines and How We Use Them plus Electricity and How We Use It. I read through the books and they both just required a few things we already had around the house plus a quick trip to the hardware store totaling $6.00 for a battery and little bulbs. She has had a wonderful time going through her weekly reading and possible experiments, which seem to happen almost weekly. Last weeks light bulb trick had all the boys (and older sister) taking a turn. Then when dad got home; we got to see it all over again.
The books are less than 50 pages each but I can honestly say that it is best to savor the books. It is taking us two terms to get through the three titles I've picked. Like I mentioned, they might be picture style books but they are full of great information and possibilities for further hands on exploring on your own. While Mrs. Pine and Mr. Levine have other titles that they collaborated on, I think we are going to use a similar type of book for term 3 by a different author. I'll let you know how that one goes when we get to it. I keep being reminded that a good book can go a long way to giving my children a good education, even in the sciences. I have two happy science girls this year. One has already given me her requirements to what science she wants to study next school year.