The projects in STEM activity books often function solely as concept demonstrations and do not result in durable, useful, or fun creations. By contrast, the five projects in each volume of this series are attractive (LEGO monogram in Craft and Design), handy (DIY touch screen gloves in Circuitry), or undeniably cool (an airboat in Moving Machines). Not incidentally, they provide visual and kinetic demonstrations of key scientific principles, demystifying everyday magic like touch screens, electricity, and motion. The concepts build in complexity along with the projects—simple assembly jobs using LEGO lead to 3-D printing projects in Craft and Design 3-D, while rubber bands give way to littleBits components in Moving Machines. Video Animation and Photography is particularly good, quickly explaining key elements of filmmaking, such as action and reaction, establishing shots, and lighting while teaching good planning exercises that don’t overwhelm or take the fun out of the process. A clean design with lots of white space and limited sidebars lets the projects take center stage.
VERDICT Great rainy-day home projects that help kids learn by doing, easily adapted to club, school, or program use.
- School Library Journal, November 2017