Magic School Bus Science Club Subscription Review – Mar 2015
Magic School Bus Science Club is a subscription box for kids that is based on the books and television show “The Magic School Bus” and teaches children about science topics through hands-on activities. The subscription is part of The Young Scientists Club and was developed by a team of Harvard graduates, scientists, and educators!
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
The Subscription Box: Magic School Bus Science Club
The Cost: Regular monthly subscription is $19.99
Ships To: US only (free)
The Products: Every month, Magic School Bus Science Club sends an activity booklet with seven “experiments” and most of the materials to complete them. Each month is built around a science topic.
Check out all of our Magic School Bus Science Club reviews!
This month’s topic is acids and bases! When I started learning about acids and bases, that’s when I felt like I was truly starting to understand chemistry. I hope my nine-year-old now feels the same way!
Just as a note, if you are hesitating on this subscription because of some shortcomings you might have in science yourself, there is an answer key in the back of the booklet with some notes for parents. They also have a fairly robust set of online resources for you to read up on.
For the purposes of this review, I will only highlight a few of the experiments – enough that you get a good idea of what this subscription is all about. Magic School Bus Science Club is appropriate for ages 5-12 (per their website), and I go through these activities with my nine-year-old son.
Here is a look inside the booklet at some of the experiments and their format. Much of the important information is included in comic book dialog format, which I think is perfect for kids this age (especially boys). As I’ve mentioned, I do wish they would stick to the scientific method, though!
These are all the raw materials that were sent to us this month. One thing that I have to say about Magic School Bus is that they do NOT send you everything you need.
The first experiment we tried was the iconic litmus paper test! This is our result from using red litmus paper with (from left to right) vinegar, lemon juice, tap water, baking soda in water, and cola. Red litmus paper tests for bases by turning blue. In this case, the baking soda was our only basic solution. Success!
We also tried this experiment with bue litmus paper, which is supposed to turn red in the presence of an acid, but I think they accidentally sent us two blue tablets because we got the same results. Ooops! Accidents happen.
These are strips of the much more fun pH paper! You dip pH paper into a solution for a moment, then pull it out and you can see what the pH of the solution is based on what color it turned. What you see here is the result of dipping the pH paper into the same five solutions – vinegar (pH about 3-4), lemon juice (3), water (7), baking soda solution (9), and cola (3-4). It was really surprising to see that cola is about as acidic as vinegar! Gross!
And this is the experiment that drove the point home. On the left is a picture of a beat-up old penny. On the right is the same penny after soaking in cola overnight. So nasty! Fortunately, little boys love all things nasty, so this one was pretty fun for us.
Our last experiment was interesting but confusing. On the left is a metal plate, unaltered. We mixed some vinegar and salt and added 10 pennies. We let the pennies sit there for 15 minutes, then took them out. Then we added the plate on the right to the same vinegar and salt solution and let it sit for an hour. What you’re seeing on the plate on the right is the very early stages of copper plating. The acid in the vinegar acts as a catalyst for this chemical reaction. This was very cool, but to be honest, it was a little over our heads. This is something we will have to read up on.
Verdict: This month’s Magic School Bus was cool and pretty seamless! My son and I had a fun time going through the experiments together and I think he learned a bit about acids and bases along the way. Although I think we got a lot out of it, I am making a point of mentioning that you have to supply many of the materials from home because this month there was an item that was supposed to be supplied from home that I just can’t believe that the vast majority of people have sitting around at home — red cabbage? Am I the only mom who doesn’t have a head of red cabbage in the fridge right now? Anyway, just know in advance that the experiments usually do require things from home beyond just scissors and a bowl. Otherwise, I think Magic School bus is a highly educational children’s subscription! I would recommend it to anyone with children in this age range!
What do you think of Magic School Bus Science Club?