________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 8. . . .October 23, 2009

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Acids and Bases. (Why Chemistry Matters).

Lynnette Brent.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4246-3 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4239-5 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Acids-Juvenile literature.
Acids-Basicity-Juvenile literature.
Bases (Chemistry)-Juvenile literature. Chemistry-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Barbara McMillan.

*** /4

   

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Atoms and Molecules. (Why Chemistry Matters).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4247-0 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4240-1 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Atoms-Juvenile literature.
Molecules-Juvenile literature.
Matter-Constitution-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Barbara McMillan.

*** /4

   

cover

Chemical Changes. (Why Chemistry Matters).

Lynnette Brent.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4248-7 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4241-8 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Chemical reactions-Juvenile literature.
Chemistry-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Barbara McMillan.

*** /4

   

cover

Elements and Compounds (Why Chemistry Matters).

Lynnette Brent.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4249-4 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4242-5 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Chemical elements-Juvenile literature.
Organic compounds-Juvenile literature.
Chemistry-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Barbara McMillan.

*** /4

   

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Mixtures and Solutions. (Why Chemistry Matters).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4250-0 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4243-2 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Solutions (Chemistry)-Juvenile literature.
Mixtures-Juvenile literature.
Matter-Properties-Juvenile literature.
Chemistry-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Barbara McMillan.

*** /4

   

cover

States of Matter. (Why Chemistry Matters).

Lynnette Brent.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4251-7 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-4244-9 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Change of state (Physics)-Juvenile literature.
Chemistry-Juvenile literature.
Matter-Properties-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Barbara McMillan.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Atoms have three parts: protons, neutrons, and electrons. In most atoms, the number of protons and electrons is the same. If the number is different, the atom becomes an ion. An acid has a hydrogen ion, H+. The ion has a positive charge: the ion has more protons than electrons. A base had a hydroxide ion, OH-. The ion has more electrons than protons. (From Acids and Bases.)

Radioactivity is the particles given off when unstable atoms decay into smaller, more stable atoms. The atom becomes stable or non-radioactive when it has given off all its radioactive particles. Radiation can occur naturally, or scientists can create it in laboratories. Radiation can help people, such as in medicine or creating energy. But it can also harm living things. (From Atoms and Molecules.)

A chemical reaction makes something new. When hydrogen and oxygen combine, they make something different from each part: water. In a physical reaction, the original material stays the same. If you freeze water, you create ice. The water is still there, it is just in a different state. If you heat the ice, you will have liquid water again. (From Chemical Changes.)

How do compounds and molecules stay together? Strong forces called chemical bonds make them “stick.” Chemical bonds can hold together atoms to form a molecule. Or, chemical bonds can hold together the many molecules in a compound. You have read about table salt, a compound made from sodium and chlorine. The salt you sprinkle on your fires is not just one molecule of sodium chloride (NaCl). It is a network of many hundreds of sodium and chlorine atoms. Those atoms are all linked together to form a huge crystal. Chemical bonds hold that crystal together. (From Elements and Compounds.)

Atoms usually have the same number of protons as electrons, so their electrical charges cancel each other out. So most atoms are neutral and have no overall electrical charge. Some atoms can gain or lose electrons, however. These electrically charged atoms are ions. If an atom gains electrons, it contains more negatively charged particles than positively charged particles. As a result, the atom has a negative charge. Negatively charged ions are anions. An atom becomes positively charged if it loses electrons. Positively charged ions are cations. (From Mixtures and Solutions.)

Why does a solid hold its shape so well? You already know that all matter is made of tiny particles called atoms or molecules. In a liquid or gas, there is space between those particles. The particles can move around to other positions. But in a solid, the materials are packed very closely together. Because the molecules are “stuck,” they cannot move much. That keeps them close together in the form of a solid. (From States of Matter.)

In Manitoba schools, children in Grade 2 science learn about the three states of matter and observable properties associated with each of these three states. Grade 5 students learn about substances, the characteristics and properties of particular substances, and reversible and nonreversible changes (physical and chemical) that substances can undergo. Students in Grade 7 use the particle theory of matter to describe changes in state. They also learn to distinguish pure substances from mechanical mixtures and solutions, and determine the factors that affect solubility. It is not until Grade 10 that Manitoba students begin to study the historical progression of the atomic model, the structure of the atom, and development of the periodic table as a means of organizing elements. It is also in Grade 10 that students identify symbols of common elements, learn about atomic number and atomic mass, compare elements to compounds, and interpret chemical formulas. As such, much of the chemistry and physical chemistry information presented in Crabtree’s “Why Chemistry Matters” series (see excerpts above) is for an age group older than the reading and interest levels provided by the publisher. This does not suggest that there aren’t adolescents and pre-teens with an interest in chemistry who will be able to read and follow what authors Molly Aloian and Lynnette Brent have written; this is simply a cautionary note for parents, teachers, and librarians.

     Each book in the series is the customary 32 pages with a glossary, index, and short list of websites where readers are directed for additional information. Moreover, each two-page spread is focused upon a subtopic particular to a book’s theme. As one example, Brent’s States of Matter begins with “The Stuff Around You” and continues with “Measuring Matter,” “What are Solids?” “What are Liquids?” and “Gases and Plasma.” She also writes about changes in state, the effect of pressure on melting and boiling points, water, air, properties of solids and liquids, and a fifth state of matter known as the Bose-Einstein Condensates. As with all Crabtree publications, each page is illustrated with photographic images, diagrams, or graphs, and important or clarifying information is presented using a design feature specific to the book’s topic. For example, States of Matter makes use of an illustration of a water molecule while a partially filled Erlenmeyer flask is utilized in Mixtures and Solutions.

     Of particular interest are sections like “Future Chemistry” in Elements and Compounds, the short biographical pieces in Atoms and Molecules, the “Hands On” elasticity investigation in States of Matter, and the four examples of chemical change in Chemical Changes (i.e., onions and eye irritations, carbon dioxide in fire extinguishers, the instant development of Polaroid film, and bread making). It’s unfortunate that these weren’t more fully developed as components of all six books in the series. Such information would help young readers to understand that there is much more to chemistry than factual information which can be quite difficult to comprehend given that it’s based upon particles, models, and interactions no one can see.


Recommended.

Barbara McMillan is a teacher educator and a professor of science education in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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