MEL Chemistry is a subscription box for kids ages 9-14 from parent company MEL Science 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! Check out our reviews for MEL Physics (ages 8- 14+) and MEL Kids (ages 5-10) to see what else MEL Science has to offer!
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
ACTIVE DEAL: Use code FREEBOX to get your first box free w/new subscription
The Products: Everything you need to conduct 2-3 chemistry experiments each month safely in your own home!
Ships to: The U.S. and U.K. for free. International shipping to select countries is also available, although there may be additional shipping charges depending on location.
MEL Chemistry "Artificial Sea" Review April 2021
This month our experiments' theme is "Artificial Sea" 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!
Your free starter kit (valued at $50.00) 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!
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 VR 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!
These are the items we needed this month: a tray to work on, our safety goggles, and our phone/tablet stand.
We also needed our glass beaker and some of these plastic cups.
We received this parent guide with safety information, information about the reagents included, and some instructions for our projects.
Another option for accessing the directions is through the app, which provides a more interactive way to complete the experiments. Here is a look at how the app is set up. It's well organized and easy to use with information on safe disposal, some troubleshooting tips, and a scientific description of what happens during the experiment. You can even set a reminder to start the experiment.
The app provides thorough, detailed instructions. 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. Some months, they even include an educational video for us to watch while we wait. At the end, they ask you to rate the experiment.
All of our reagents come packaged neatly with absorbers in the bag in case of any spills. The bottles are clearly labeled and include information about any hazards. They provided enough materials for us to complete our experiments a couple of times. Each label also contains a little code that we can scan to open up for more information about the chemicals. We are able to view it in 3D or even in virtual reality by using the VR app and our headset.
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! This is from a previous experiment, but the information follows the same format for each reagent.
They provided a few basic supplies that were used for our experiments; a pair of gloves, some double-ended spoons for measuring, some wooden sticks for stirring, and a paperclip which is used to pop out the little rubber stopper in some of our liquid reagent bottles. They also provided a syringe for us and a Petri dish with a lid.
Experiment 1: Calcium Silicate
Our first experiment was "Calcium silicate." While the app is fun to use, it is not a necessity, since they provide a card like this one that contains all of the necessary information for your experiments, complete with full-color illustrations. The front gives a brief description 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 if you'd prefer that method.
For this experiment we used one bottle of liquid glass which I poured into a cup, then I added one bottle of calcium hydroxide to the other cup and my son helped me add 10 ml of water to that. I gave it a stir for about 30 seconds.
Then I poured the contents between the two cups transferring them back and forth until all of the sudden it was like my liquid just froze mid-pour! It was pretty cool to see how suddenly the reaction happened. The solution hardened to a solid right in front of our eyes!
Experiment 2: Chemical Jellyfish
The next experiment was "Chemical Jellyfish" and for this, we needed more liquid glass, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, and iron chloride.
I added the liquid glass to the Petri dish and then I dropped 4 drops of each of the other reagents at varying heights into the dish.
The result was these tiny little blobs that resembled jellyfish. They said we could leave them to dry for 2-3 weeks so that we could keep the jellyfish! Since we have some supplies leftover, I might try to make some bigger ones to keep since the kids thought it was so cool.
Experiment 3: Chemical Seaweed
For our last experiment, we needed potassium hexacyanoferrate, copper sulfate pentahydrate, iron chloride, and zin sulfate heptahydrate.
I dissolved 2 large spoonfuls of the potassium in 100 ml of water by stirring it with a stick. Then I added some of the copper sulfate to one side and some of the zinc sulfate to the other side and set the whole thing aside for about 20 minutes.
Here is what it looked like after a few minutes.
This is after a longer period of time. What a cool reaction!
Then I added some of the iron to it and this was how it looked. The drops were almost suspended in the liquid.
Verdict: I appreciate how simple these MEL Chemistry experiments are. They only take a few minutes, but they provide almost instantaneous results with cool visuals. The theme of these experiments was fun with all of the sea-related creations, and as usual, this box was well organized with everything we needed inside. While the experiments themselves are very simple, I think they are educational and there is so much opportunity to take the learning experience further through the apps or through the live online lessons they have which are all great resources. This is a box that I think is so perfect for a homeschool curriculum or just fun for any budding chemist or science enthusiast!
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."
ACTIVE DEAL: Use code FREEBOX to get your first box free w/new subscription
Check out all of our MEL Chemistry reviews and our list of the best subscription boxes for kids, as recommended by MSA readers!
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