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ScienceWiz finds the 'Sound' at Toy Fair

Fresh from its 2013 Puzzle of the Year citation from Games Magazine for its Cool Circuits “41-challenge” 3D puzzle, ScienceWiz brought a new music-related addition to its Science Books & Kits product line in Sound, a box containing a 48-page book and the materials required to to perform 20 sound-related activities.

Dr. Penny Norman at her ScienceWiz Toy Fair booth.
Jim Bessman

Foremost among them is building a working Edison phonograph, with which you can record and play back your own sound recordings. Other activities include making a kazoo, banjo and wind instruments; transmitting sound through solids, liquids and gases; using a slinky to model sound waves; bouncing, absorbing and amplifying sound vibrations and exploring how your ear works.

Sound follows ScienceWiz form in combining three modalities: hands-on play, physical book reading and Internet research—via free access to the portal.

“There’s a very large Internet component,” said Dr. Penny Norman, “but we always include a book, because kids still want to read books.”

Norman heads ScienceWiz, which evolved in 1995 out of her volunteer work teaching science in her children's elementary schools and her ScienceWiz after-school and summer programs. Her ScienceWiz kits are designed to teach fundamental scientific concepts to children through hands-on play.

"With electronic devices, there’s often a disconnect with the written word,” noted Norman, who assures Sound consumers that all print materials relating to the construction of the Edison phonograph are as connected as the circuitry.

Incidentally, ScienceWiz also has a new Charge Science Book & Kit box forthcoming, the highlight of which is the ability to build a real Van de Graaff generator, from which the late 1960s English progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator took its name.

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