Do you have a surplus of glass jars clogging your cupboards and children who are curious and excited about the world? If so, Julia Garstecki’s collection of more than 35 household experiments may be a great addition to your library. This book is divided into chapters on life science, chemistry, earth science, physical science, and environmental science. Similar to Jonathan Adolph’s 2018 book Mason Jar Science, the premise is that all of these experiments are to be conducted using glass jars of varying sizes. Although the aim is to use common household materials (stock up on food coloring—you’ll need it!), experiments occasionally call for items that are unlikely to be lying around (e.g., iron filings and a dual-probe thermometer).
For each experiment, the central concepts being tested are artfully conveyed using bright, inviting photos and accessibly written introductions, followed by a materials list and clear step-by-step instructions. Each experiment closes with an “Observations” section, which provides explanations and further questions. Fun facts on tangential topics—from earthworm poop to the autonomous sensory meridian response—make an occasional appearance.
Many classic household experiments—such as dissolving eggs in acid, synthesizing slime, and generating explosions of vinegar and baking soda—can be found among the book’s 120+ pages. Although most of the experiments listed are meant to be conducted indoors, several encourage children to go outside and explore the natural world. Where Science in a Jar really shines is with its simplest experiments, which manage to explain broadly interesting concepts—such as why puppies snuggle when they sleep and how clouds form—in a fun and accessible way.
About the author
The reviewer is an associate editor at Science.