Science is one of those homeschool subjects that comes alive when we add in experiments and other hands-on science projects. But sometimes it’s just easier to skip over the experiments and keep on moving through the book. After all, it takes a lot of time to build a volcano from scratch just so your kids can make it erupt. Or to set up the bunsen burners so that you kids can create a chemical compound. Or to gather the necessary specimens so that they can be dissected.
Our kids learn a ton when we’re willing and able to take the time to make these hands-on science experiences happen for them. Some of my absolute favorite memories from school were doing science experiments. I remember making rock candy in Chemistry class. Figuring out our blood type in Biology. And who could forget the day that we created hydrogen sulfide and made the entire school smell like rotten eggs?!?
Yes, hands-on science activities for kids are excellent learning experiences. But homeschool moms have a lot on their plates. And sometimes, the thought of having to figure out the experiments and gather all of the materials together is just too much to add to our other huge pile of responsibilities. Wouldn’t it would be nice to just have everything we need show up at the door so that hands-on science experiments weren’t so much work?
Believe it or not, I just discovered a company that does just that.
Simple Hands-On Science Activities for Kids
I received this product for free, but all of my opinions are honest and I was not required to post a positive review.
MEL Science is a subscription service which makes participating in hands-on science experiments simple! It was created by self-proclaimed science geeks who have a desire to teach children about science in an easy, interesting and effective way. They found chemistry to be intimidating for many parents to teach at home and so that is their current focus. I’m thrilled with that decision because some of my favorite science experiments were from my high school chemistry class!
When you subscribe to MEL Chemistry, you receive two kits in the mail each month. Each set contains 1-3 interesting experiments that we can do with our kids while homeschooling or over the weekend. The experiments are completely safe with no explosions or harmful chemicals, which puts my mind at ease. They also come with detailed instructions and everything we’ll need to complete the experiments.
When we received our introduction set, it came with everything we needed to grow tin dendrites and a tin hedgehog.
How MEL Science Kits Work
The first thing we did was to watch the video MEL Science created for creating tin dendrites. Then, we got to work unpacking the items we would need for that experiment. Our kit came with step-by-step instructions which made recreating the experiment we had just wanted extremely simple.
All of the chemicals we needed were provided. The kit also came with two sizes of latex gloves and a pair of safety glasses. We needed to add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the Petri dish and even that was included in the kit. Talk about thorough!
Here is my son adding the sodium hydrogen sulfate solution to the bottle of solid tin chloride.
My other son was putting the batteries into the battery holder and attaching the crocodile clips, which would be needed later in the experiment. Everything except the batteries was included.
Next, we shook the mixture and emptied it in the Petri dish.
We attached the crocodile clips to the Petri dish, making sure the metal clips were immersed in the solution. Then, we waited. And very quickly, we began to see the tin dendrites grow.
The instructions told us how to get the dendrites to grow from the other side of the dish as well.
And they had us throw the provided paperclip into the Petri dish to see what would happen.
The instructions even told us how to safely clean up our experiment and how to dispose of our solids and liquids.
The MEL Science website also gives very detailed scientific information explaining why the experiment went as it did, explaining various scientific terms, telling why the specific chemical compound was chosen, as well as suggestions for other similar experiments that can be performed.
Our kit also came with a virtual reality headset, which was really awesome. Their MEL Chemistry app is free for androids and iPhones and it allows you to view chemical molecules in 3D. My boys also enjoyed using this VR headset with other virtual reality apps in the app store such as riding a roller coaster, underwater diving, and more. A super fun addition to the kit.
Want to Know More about MEL Science?
We were very pleased with the MEL Science products. If you’re looking for a way to add hands-on science activities to your homeschool without all the muss and fuss, this would be a great option. They also have something called MEL Academy which is live online science lessons from the best teachers with practical experiments you can do at home and VR lessons. Think “TV cooking show”, by experts in home science education. For more information, visit their YouTube channel or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.
Are you the kind of person who does EVERY science experiment you run across? Or do you skip them all? Have you found ways to make hands-on science activities more simple? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.
And for more hands-on homeschool ideas, be sure to check out these posts from my fellow ihomeschool network bloggers!