Review: The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists
I'm pretty sure I'm talking to the majority, then, when I tell you about The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists, released today.
Geek Dad and I go way back. Geek Dad began as a Wired blog; the brainchild of Wired magazine's editor-in-chief Chris Anderson. I was one of the original contributors at its launch (if you'd like to read my Geek Dad posts, here they are).
Not long after, Chris made the eminently smart decision to hire Ken Denmead as the blog's editor, and the rest is history. Geek Dad now has tons of contributors, tons of fantastic content, a popular book series, and a companion site for Geek Moms.
Ken and I finally met in person over the summer when he invited Rael and me to speak on a panel about Geek Parenting. And all of those years of thinking he was a good guy were confirmed in spades.
SO. Now you know my bias. I love Geek Dad and its human leader, Ken.
And this is a great book.
Here's what this book is NOT: another cookie-cutter "Hey, kids! Science is cool!" book that reheashes baking soda/vinegar concoctions.
Here's what it is: smart, creative DIY projects, experiments and activities, written for grownups who are interested in science and want to share it with their kids.
I stress this, because bonafide Geek Dads and -Moms will likely get frustrated with kid-oriented (read: dumbed-down) experiment books that focus on colorful pictures and the "wow" factor (things blowing up, foaming, changing color, etc.) but give the science short shrift. There's a need for those books, but this book remains true to Geek Dad's mission: to provide activities geeky parents and kids can do together.
Among many interesting choices, you'll find out how to explode flour (yes, the white, powdery stuff in cookies) and how to determine calorie levels in food by burning it in a combustion chamber. In other words, this book is mainly mainly for you. It's not a book to hand to your nine year-old in the hopes that it will keep him out of your hair for the afternoon.
Each project is engagingly- yet intelligently-written, with scientific background and clear safety protocols. Some include guidelines for using the activity as the basis for a science fair project, with suggestions for setting up the experiment, recordkeeping, and writing up a conclusion.
All in all, a great gift for any parent with a passion for science and a desire to share that passion with the kids.
Other books in the Geek Dad series:
- Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share
- The Geek Dad's Guide to Weekend Fun: Cool Hacks, Cutting-Edge Games, and More Awesome Projects for the Whole Family
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The giveaway ended on 11/4/11. Thank you to all who entered -- I LOVED reading your learning memories. The winner will be notified via email.
Win it! I've got a copy of The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists to give away to one lucky Parenthacker, which means someone gets to make a dent in his or her holiday gift list. Or someone gets to burn Halloween candy in a combustion chamber! Mwah ha ha!
To enter, leave a comment with your answer to this question:
What's your favorite learning memory?
I ask, because, when I think back on my school years, the experiences which stand out are the ones where I was actively involved...performing in a play, doing an experiment, going on a field trip. The more "hands-on" you can add to your kid's education, the more bridges you build between academics and the real world.
Small print: Giveaway open to residents of the continental US. One entry per person, please. Comments will close on Friday, November 4, 2011, at 5pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random, and notified via email. Good luck!