How to Build a Hovercraft. Photo by Julie Tiu.

How to Build a Hovercraft: a Book for the Home Scientist

Books Education Featured GeekMom
GeekMom Book Review: How to Build a Hovercraft
How to Build a Hovercraft (Voltz and Grobe) – a book review. Photo by Julie Tiu.

The Coke and Mentos geyser guys, Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe, have published a science and math project book for all DIY-ers, science fans, makers… Basically, for the generally curious. How to Build a Hovercraft by Voltz and Grobe (Chronicle Books, 2013, 190 pgs.) includes twenty-five science projects and all are engaging. You can be a mad scientist in your own home!

The experiment instructions are written as if a friend is guiding you through the steps—not too technical (until you get to the science explanations), and casual. You’ll also find plenty of step-by-step pictures and templates. They include QR codes within the text to link readers to videos, and variations on the experiments.

You’ll find the book is written in three parts: Quick and Amazing, Taking It Up a Notch, and The Big Stuff. Before I read this book, I wondered if the authors meant to write this for kids, or a more adult audience. Because of the increasing difficulty level of the projects, it makes more sense that the book is for a more mature reader, with some basic tools know-how. The projects, in my opinion, would inspire users of all ages, but this is not a how-to book for young children. It does seem to be a wonderful way for families to share science theories and ideas.

The experiments use easy-to-find parts and home equipment—one uses small sticky note pads to make paper waterfalls. How easy is that? Most importantly, the science is explained behind each experiment, which speaks to my inner geek. It’s communicated in such a way that if you happen to have forgotten all the science you learned in school, well, you’ll find this all interesting the second time around.

So, I’m married to a high school science teacher, and I’m happy to report he has done several of the projects in his own classroom with success. As much as I loved my science classes in high school, I think these projects would have brought so much more to life. Personally, the “eyes that follow you everywhere” is my favorite, and also one of the easiest to pull together. I can’t wait for nicer weather so we can do more projects outside! Go on and grab a copy of this book and unleash your inner geek!

Voltz and Grobe are founders of EepyBird, their lab in Maine. Their “The Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments” video went viral in 2006.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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