By: Jennifer Boothroyd
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: Augusta 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
If you look closely at the first picture in this book there is a man seated in the background, but in the front a woman can actually be seen floating toward the ceiling! What really is happening is that they are both in outer space and they are astronauts. The reason she can float in space is “because there’s not much gravity there.” There is just a tiny bit of gravity in space and astronauts call it microgravity.” This word means “very little” gravity. Gravity actually pulls things toward the center of the earth. For example, if you drop a ball it will head toward the ground or center of the earth. Gravity is something you cannot see, but you “can see how it affects things.” Waterfalls go down, leaves swirl to the ground, and if you watch someone on a slide they also head right for the ground.
If you are wiping the dishes and accidentally drop a plate, it will fall to the floor and break into several pieces. The floor will stop it from going any further and “gravity will keep the plate on the floor.” One interesting example to think about is when a batter hits a ball. When the ball is hit, the force of the bat “is stronger than gravity.” If it hadn’t been hit, it would have gone into the dirt. Once the force has weakened, the ball starts to fall to the ground, unless of course some player catches it. In this book you will also learn about the center of gravity, you’ll learn about gravity in space, you’ll learn about mass and gravity, weight and gravity, you’ll get to take a look at gravity on the moon, and you’ll get to see astronauts and see how they learn “to live with little gravity.”
This book explains the concept of gravity in a language that the younger student can easily grasp. Certain concepts are sometimes a bit difficult for the younger student to wrap around their heads and readily understand. Gravity, because it cannot be seen, is one of them. The text and well-chosen photographs in this book make it much easier, especially the baseball example, which also briefly touches on the physics concept of force. Most of the photographs show the concept of gravity in relation to activities children are familiar with or show the sun, the moon, a planet and some astronauts at work. An activity in the back, “Galileo’s Drop,” lays out a step-by-step experiment. There is also an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: If you are interested in doing a unit in the physical sciences and wish to include gravity, this would be an excellent book to consider!