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MEL Physics Subscription “Vacuum” Review + Coupon

Kelly Wright
ByKelly WrightApr 26, 2022 | 0 comments

MEL Physics
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Mel Physics is a monthly subscription box for kids 8-14+ who would like to learn more about how the world around them works. Through exciting experiments kids can learn all about electrostatic energy, luminescence, reflections, and even invisibility! Each month contains a new experiment and physics lesson for kids to dive into, and will contain everything they need to safely and easily complete at home.

This month we reviewed the Alternative Energy box from MEL Physics.

ACTIVE DEAL: Limited Time Only! Get your first box for FREE - just pay shipping!

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

MEL Physics: Vacuum

This month we were sent two MEL Physics boxes which contained experiments for a vacuum and magnetic levitation (you can read my review on the levitation box soon!). My first thought when I saw the vacuum box was that he was going to build an actual vacuum...which was extremely wrong, ha! The vacuum they are referring to is actually what happens to air when there are forces added to it (or taken away) and the resulting air pressure it creates. I'll be honest, this one was a bit technical for me and unfortunately my husband (who is much better at explaining things like air pressure due to his job) was away on a trip. The instructional cards that are included explain everything pretty well, but I wasn't prepared for the "why does this work" questions after!

The MEL Physics box contained three experiments: the vacuum chamber, measuring the vacuum, and a vacuum kettle. My son definitely had a favorite, while the other two weren't nearly as fun for him.

MEL Physics Experiments:

Vacuum Chamber

This was the first experiment in the box and our favorite. These boxes are set up in a way that you have to do the first experiment first as they usually build and grow as you go along. This was area where he built the device that would create the "vacuum" for the experiments.

After laying out all of our pieces, unfortunately, the first thing we noticed for this experiment was that we were missing a piece. It wasn't a crucial piece, but frustrating nonetheless.

Tip: Keep all of the pieces facing the exact way they are in the instructions and be careful to mind the direction of the pieces when attaching them. My son tends to be impatient at times, and put this together wrong twice. We were wondering why it wasn't working until I decided to take it apart and double check all of the steps.

Once we finally sorted out the mistakes, however, the pump worked great! My son was easily able to pull the air from the container to the point that the resulting air pressure made it impossible to lift the container off its base. It was a fun experiment to show how creating a vacuum inside of something decreases the pressure and makes it so that the outside air pressure puts invisible forces on the container.


Measuring the Vacuum

This next experiment did not interest my son as much as the first. They will use the same pump that they did for the first experiment, but there is also a gauge that is built to measure the air pressure. Again, be sure to attach the tubes and valves correctly, otherwise it will not work.

After building the gauge, they can partly blow up the included balloon and stick it into the container. As they use the pump to evacuate air from the container, the balloon will inflate even more on its own. This is due to (once again) the differences in pressure. We actually had a hard time getting this one to work properly and it didn't seem to come out as cool as what the picture on the instructions showed. The air pressure gauge was also of no interest to my son as I think it just wasn't "cool enough" as an experiment. But, he is only eight, so this might really be interesting to an older child.

Vacuum Kettle

This last experiment definitely needs an adult as they will need to handle boiling water. The idea is to demonstrate how water can boil more intensely within a vacuum.

The container from the previous two experiments becomes a cup and my son added the temperature sticker on to the side. Then, I boiled the water and filled it up myself for him. Once the boiling water is added, my son added the included silica gel beads and pushed the pump about 20 times to create a vacuum inside. As the air pressure inside decreased and the silica gels increased the surface area, the water would boil more intensely. When he released the valve to let air back in, the boiling water would start to slow down.

It was interesting to watch how the water would magically boil more as he pumped the air out! I'll be honest though, I don't have a clue how or why this works, so was unable to explain much more to him than what was on the cards.


Final Thoughts - Was This Box Worth It?

I think this box is probably better for an older child as the technical aspect of it kind of went over my son's head. He enjoyed building the pump, but I'm not sure he got a whole lot out of the experiments themselves. Because of this, I don't think the box was worth it for us, but I also wouldn't totally discount it for everybody. I definitely think if your child is into more advanced science that they might enjoy and understand these experiments better than mine did. We are still at an age where he needs a big "wow factor" to engage him and we did not get that with this particular box.

The Cost: $34.90

ACTIVE DEAL: Limited Time Only! Get your first box for FREE - just pay shipping!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, this box is still available. From Mel Physics:

"Your first package will arrive within 2 weeks of registration. Subsequent monthly packages will be delivered within 2 weeks of each monthly charge."

What do you think of MEL Physics? Let us know below!

Starting at $34.90
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Get up to three experiments a month to expand your child’s horizons. Includes free VR lessons and a comprehensive mobile app. Ages 8–14+.
Kelly Wright
Kelly Wright

In a nutshell? I'm a bit of a walking contradiction!

I love traveling the world and stepping out of my comfort zone, but I can also be a complete introvert and will be totally happy hanging out at home with my family for days on end. I enjoy working out and going for runs or HIIT classes at the gym, but I also have no problem binging on a bag of cheetos and a glass of wine (which pairs surprisingly well together!). I love how I look dressed up and ready to hit the town, but am much more comfortable in a pair of sweats while watching The Mandolorian with my husband and two little boys. I love trying exotic foods and the different spices and textures that come with it, but my all-time-favorite meal is a juicy cheeseburger with fries. 

So, maybe I should just call myself well-rounded!? Whatever it is, I keep an open mind about everything and am always on the hunt for a new and exciting adventure!

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