I received a copy of, and was asked to use and review Science Naturally's One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Stories You Solve with Science!, written by Eric Yoder and Natalie Yoder. Having used One Minute Mystery books in the past, I was very excited to be chosen for this review and it didn't disappoint.
This arrived at just the right time. Adam (11) and Kaden (10) had just finished their logic curriculum, and this book offered a perfect "end of school year" alternative.
I kid you not, when the book came in the mail I had to hide it from the boys. They were so excited. The mysteries are short, as the title says, and I knew if they got their hands on it they'd devour it in record time, and well before I had a chance to do it with them.
If you've read any of my home schooling posts in the past you might have noticed that I love finding ways to sneak learning in almost unnoticed, much in the same way a Mom might sneak veggies into her child's diet. This is that kind of book ... it's fun and short and entertaining, but still contributes to our weekly requirements of reading, logic, and science (it is not a science program, but a fun supplement).
Using the book and incorporating it into our school day was easy peasy. The boys and I, and Mia (13) would sit at the table and I'd read the short, engaging one page stories, each of which have a question or statement at the end that needs to be explained with science (the mystery). After they'd give their answers and discuss their reasoning (when more than one solution was suggested) I'd turn the page and read the answer, based on science. The answers were more than just one-liners, they provided the reasoning behind the answer as well. After we were well into the book I casually left it laying around and, sure enough, they picked it up and read the stories to each other and worked through the answers.
The book is divided into chapters; life science, earth and space science, physical and chemical science, general science, and bonus math mysteries. Story topics include whales (they're mammals, not fish), a irrigation problem and solution, mosquitos, and balance.
The softcover book is 160 pages and is geared for ages 8-12.
The kids and I really enjoyed and appreciated this book. While they knew a lot of the answers they didn't know them all and learned from it. It certainly held their attention, the mysteries are quick enough to not lose their focus. It's a great family activity book, easy to do together. I think this would be a great book to have on a road trip, perfect for car entertainment (the boys are planning to test Ian's knowledge with it on our upcoming vacation) and something to do on a rainy day.
One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve with Science! is available at Science, Naturally! for $9.95.
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