Science Ideas in 30 Seconds by Dr Mike Goldsmith

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Science Ideas in 30 Seconds by Dr Mike Goldsmith

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: ‘Science Ideas in 30 Seconds’ by Dr Mike Goldsmith takes massive scientific concepts and tries to explain them to kids in 30 seconds with varied results.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 96 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Ivy Press
ISBN: 9781782401087

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There are certain things you just can’t explain in a day, never mind in an hour or a minute, certainly not in 30 seconds. If you are going to try and explain something in the time it takes a Countdown clock to turn then make it easy on yourself and break it down to bite size chunks. What’s that, ‘Science Ideas in 30 Seconds’ by Dr Mike Goldsmith has ignored this advice and plans to tell you about humongous concepts such as mathematics in the time it took to read this paragraph? Good luck.

A child’s mind is like a sponge soaking up information, but it must be framed in a way that they can understand. This can be done by building upon the knowledge they already have or introducing something from first principles. Taking on massive topics such as Cells or Energy will take more than half a minute to convey – people have careers in them and never scratch the surface. Does Dr Goldsmith manage to achieve any success?

Not as much as he would have liked. ‘Science Ideas’ is a fun book on the surface, but is actually a pretty dry read. The use of illustration and bold colours captures the eye, but they do little to disguise some pretty in-depth information that will go over many children’s heads; it certainly went over mine. Take the idea of mathematics as an example; Goldsmith shows how the Ancient Greeks discovered the concept of fractions and how maths can be used to define so many things. The use of different lengths of string to produce different notes makes sense to me, but it is not that clear cut.

Dr Goldsmith almost brings a too scientific a bent to a book that is exploring science. This a book that should appeal to 7-11 year olds who love science, but even they may be put off by the thinly veiled academicalise on offer. To think that you can pick certain aspects of science and suggest it can even begin to be explained in such a short time, feels a little disingenuous to me. The book will likely create more questions than it answers, but that is probably a good thing!

An element that does work well is the sidebars that offer fun experiments to try out. This is directly appealing to a youngster and actually suggests that the book is hitting its target audience. Working out what the speed of sound is always fun and Dr Goldsmith gives you the information to go and try it yourself.

‘Science Ideas in 30 Seconds’ is not a bad book, just a little overambitious. Other books in the ‘XX in 30 Seconds’ series have hit the nail on the head far better. Talk about Space, The Earth etc. as much as you like as they can be broken down into chunks. Science as a whole is a vast arena made up of huge concepts. Perhaps ‘Science Ideas in 30 Years’ may have worked better.

On a similar theme you might like to look at Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford and Dr Mike Goldsmith and Myths in 30 Seconds by Anita Ganeri

Buy Science Ideas in 30 Seconds by Dr Mike Goldsmith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Science Ideas in 30 Seconds by Dr Mike Goldsmith at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Science Ideas in 30 Seconds by Dr Mike Goldsmith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Science Ideas in 30 Seconds by Dr Mike Goldsmith at Amazon.com.


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