________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 38 . . . . May 30, 2014


Eco-Fun: Great Projects, Experiments, and Games for a Greener Earth.

David Suzuki & Kathy Vanderlinden.
Vancouver, BC: Greystone Books, 2001.
127 pp., trade pbk., $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-55054-823-5.

Subject Headings:
Environmental sciences-Juvenile literature.
Ecology-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up.

Review by Katarin MacLeod.

**** /4



The idea that things are connected to each other is important. Scientists have found that what keeps the Earth alive and healthy is everything in it working in harmony with everything else. That means the air, water, earth or soil, energy from the sun, and Earth's great family of plants and animals must work together as a team.

What does that have to do with you? Well, you're an animal – a human animal – so you're part of the team. To live, you need clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, fertile earth in which to grow food, and the sun's fire to fuel spaceship Earth. And you need biodiversity – millions of different kinds of plants and animals living in many different kinds of habitats.

Eco-Fun has numerous projects, experiments, and games which can be completed by a child who is semi-supervised by an adult. Alternatively, these items could be incorporated into the science classroom as activities or laboratories at the elementary/middle school level. The book begins by with a message from David Suzuki, an introduction and then a "be safe and sound" section.

internal art      Eco-Fun is divided into five chapters, namely, "A Breath of Fresh Air", "Waterworks", "Earthborn", "All Fired Up", and "Our Fine Feathered (and Leafy) Friends". Each of these chapters has a minimum of seven different experiments/games that focus on the chapter's theme. In each of the experiments, the reader is given the reason or point for completing the task. For example, in the experiment "A Weighty Matter" (p. 16), the reader is told that air has not only a substance and has pressure but also mass. The challenge is then to weigh air. After this, a list of required materials is given, followed by "what to do" or the procedure. At the end of the experiment, a section called "what's going on" helps explain what has just been observed. Most of the experiments are two pages in length - therefore, not overly complex, yet they do get the point across. Another nice feature about the experiments is that they do not require complex apparatus or chemicals; most needed items can be found 'at home' or at the local grocery store.

      Each experiment/game is visually appealing and well-illustrated; the text and printing have been done on a grey scale. There is a short glossary at the end of the text and an index.

      Eco-Fun is an activity book for children who are interested in environmental sciences and who ask "why?" or "how come?" questions. For educators, it would be an excellent teaching resource for grades 2-8 Science teachers as it connects the science content we are to teach to the environment and world around us, meeting STSE and STEM outcomes.

Highly Recommended.

Katarin MacLeod, PhD. is an Assistant Professor in Science Education at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS. Her areas of interest include physics educational research (PER), and the incorporation of science, technology, society and environment (STSE) as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outcomes into science courses at all levels to help students understand the relevancy of science, increase scientific literacy, and to promote citizenship.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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