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MEL Chemistry Subscription Review + Coupon – April 2020

MEL Chemistry is a subscription box for kids ages 9-14 that sends all of the materials you need to complete 2-3 chemistry experiments every month. This is perfect for kids who are interested in science or for homeschool students!

 

 

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About MEL Chemistry

The Subscription Box: MEL Chemistry

The Cost: $34.90 per month

COUPON: Use code MSA25 to save 25% off your first box + receive a free Starter Kit and VR Headset ($50 value).

The Products: Everything you need to conduct 2-3 chemistry experiments each month safely in your own home!

Ships to: The U.S. and UK for free. International shipping to select countries is also available, although there may be additional shipping charges depending on location.

MEL Chemistry “Oxygen” Review April 2020

Shipping FYI: My box arrived pretty late this month. Usually, I receive them towards the end of the month, but I did not receive this until late May. This may be due to the fact that the shipping is International. My May box arrived on time, though, so hopefully, things are sorting themselves out!

 

This month our experiments’ theme is “Oxygen” and the contents were listed on the back of our box. You may note that they list a few items we need to get from our Starter Kit.

Note: The following items did not come in this month’s kit!

 

Starter Kit 

Your free starter kit (valued at $50) will come in your first shipment. It includes all of the equipment you’ll need to conduct your experiments each month and even includes some accessories for your tablet or smartphone to help you access all of the information they provide in their apps. To see more details about everything we received in our kit, you can check out our review here!

 

VR Headset

Also included with our Starter Kit was this virtual reality headset. This cardboard headset folds up easily and then you slip your phone into the slot and use their free MEL VR app. The app opens up in a lab where we have the opportunity to learn about different molecules and atoms and explore them closely. This is so great for gaining a deeper understanding of what happens throughout our experiments and as a fun extension to our lessons!

 

The first three items are those that we need each month: a tray to work on, our safety goggles, and our phone/tablet stand.

 

This month we also needed our flask, a beaker, and the rubber stopper without holes.

 

Inside our box was an instruction sheet for the parents including some safety warnings, advice, and general first aid information. The directions for the projects are pretty thorough and can be found in this booklet, on the individual experiment cards or in the app. Having this separate sheet for the parents is great so kids can work independently, but parents can also follow along for supervising.

The projects come neatly organized with all of our reagents neatly stored in plastic bags with absorbers in each to help in case of any spills. Let’s get to our first experiment!

Experiment 1: Blue Bottle

 

Our first experiment was called “Blue Bottle.” For each experiment, they provide a card like this one that contains all of the necessary information such as safety, disposal, and the directions complete with colored illustrations. The front gives a brief descriptor of what to expect and also provides a scale to rate the difficulty and danger of the activity as well as the duration. On the back is a little box we can scan with our app which allows us to open directly to the experiment on our phone or tablet. Of course, this is optional since you have everything you need on the experiment card, but I really like the interactiveness of the app instructions.

 

I set the phone in our stand and we clicked the “start experiment” button to begin. They provided information on safety, troubleshooting, and even a scientific description of what happens during the experiment. There is also an easy way to set a reminder to conduct your experiment!

 

First, we checked out the safety section and prepared by putting on our gloves and our protective eyewear. They sent a pair of small gloves and a pair of large gloves so that an adult assistant can help.

 

The app provided thorough instructions about what materials we would need from our starter kit and what we would need from our set. The kids put on their safety gear while I grabbed everything we needed. For this experiment, we needed to provide some hot water.

 

The instructions are very detailed and include one simple direction per slide. Some of the instructions are even animated which is pretty cool and usually if it is a timed experiment they will have a little built-in timer on that page for you to use.

 

All of our reagents are clearly labeled and include information about any hazards. They provided enough materials for us to complete our experiments several times. Each label also contains a little code that we can scan with our forward-facing camera to open up for more information about our chemicals. We are able to view it in 3D or even in virtual reality by using the VR app and our headset. For this experiment, we needed glucose, sodium hydroxide, and methylene blue.

 

The app gives so much detail about each of the reagents including a description, hazards, precautions, and even a link to the Wikipedia page for further information. So thorough! And it’s even more fun if you interact through the VR app!

 

They always provide a little paper clip for us to use to open our bottles which have tiny rubber stoppers in them so they don’t leak during transportation.

 

The first step was to add some hot water to our flask, then my son squirted the entire bottle of glucose into it.

 

Next, my son added a few drops of methylene blue, and then my daughter measured out the amount of sodium hydroxide using the little measuring spoon they provided.

 

Then she plugged up the flask with the rubber stopper and gave it some vigorous swirls.

 

As we watched our solution got lighter…

 

…and lighter! Until it was almost clear.

 

Then we shook it up again and…

 

…it returned to its darker blue state. You can see the kids loved it! So simple, but such an effective visual of a chemical reaction.

 

At the end, our app asks us to rate the experiment and then there is a section on how it works which includes helpful information such as a scientific description, interesting facts, and disposal instructions, all of which we had access to from the main page of this experiment as well. They did a great job of explaining what was happening with this experiment!

Experiment 2: Burning in Pure Oxygen

 

The next experiment was “Burning in Pure Oxygen” and this time we needed to grab some matches from home, and a bowl of water to keep nearby for safety purposes.

 

The reagents we needed for this experiment were hydrogen peroxide and manganese dioxide.

 

First, we added two tubes of the hydrogen peroxide to our flask.

 

Then my son added the manganese and I grabbed one of the wooden sticks they provided.

 

I lit the stick and let it burn for 10 seconds. Then once the flame was out, we waited another few seconds before I stuck the end into the flask making sure to not touch the solution.

Here is what happened. How cool! The kids really enjoyed watching this one.

 

We were supposed to be able to repeat this a few times by swirling the flask around and then adding a new stick, but since we stuck ours in a few times the first round I think we used up all of the oxygen!

Verdict: The kids and I had fun with this month’s MEL Chemistry lessons! They were both such great visual experiments and I thought they did a great job of thoroughly explaining what was happening in each experiment. The experiments are a lot of fun themselves, but I also enjoy all of the extras such as the official science lab equipment we get to use and all of the extension activities that are available through their app like the Virtual Reality portion. They feel like pretty well-rounded experiments and if you add in the scientific process of forming a hypothesis and recording your observations, you have an easy chemistry lesson at home! Perfect for homeschoolers or those who might need a little extra help understanding the concepts!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, it is possible that you will receive this set. From MEL Chemistry:

“The topics are looped such that the start date of your subscription does not matter; you will eventually receive all the experiment sets.”

COUPON: Use code MSA25 to save 25% off your first box + receive a free Starter Kit and VR Headset ($50 value).

Check out all of our MEL Chemistry reviews and our list of the best subscription boxes for kids, as recommended by MSA readers!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add MEL Chemistry to your subscription list or wishlist!

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Written by Brandi Dowell

Brandi Dowell

Brandi has loved the idea of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013. Now that she’s a mother of 3, she loves finding unique boxes to educate and entertain her kids while enjoying some more pampering boxes for herself. Her favorites these days are Lillypost, KiwiCo boxes & Wicked Good Perfume!

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