Review: Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

When I was in school, science was taught in a lab complete with bunsen burners and the heady pong of phosphorus. The Periodic Table was tacked to the wall and we were frequently tested on formulae which I can confidently state I have never used since, with the possible exception of some unfortunate experimental cooking. Caitlin was recently sent the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit to test so I was obviously the natural choice of assistant.

Caitlin with the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

If you caught our recent review of the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse, you’ll know that we are new to the Netflix series Project Mc2 and particularly enjoying the growth in interest in STEM-based projects for kids and the recognition that science is for everyone, not just boys.

Caitlin holding the red Project mc2 ultimate lab kit bag

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) is all about building a love for learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as your children work through the Key Stages in school.

The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!).

Heroine McKeyla McAlister and her friends work for a secret government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”) and they protect the world using their science and technology skills.

What’s in the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit?

The Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit is a great asset for any new NOV8 recruit.  The kit comes in a sturdy red case designed like a bag which, when opened reveals a great selection of toy science equipment and a mini booklet which contains over 30 experiments you can try using ingredients you are likely to already have at home, or which you can easily find in your local supermarket.

The Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit contains a real working microscope with 4x power (batteries required). Inside you’ll also find 30+ additional pieces including 3 glass slides, 2 test tubes with a stand, a funnel, a beaker jar, 3 lab flasks, 15 pH strips, a pipette dropper, a petri dish, safety goggles, a Project Mc² ring, and 2 sticker sheets to examine and decorate.

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit - test tubes and bottles

The microscope does work but don’t expect miracles.  It does allow you to demonstrate how one works and the principle of examining things on slides.

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit microscope

There is enough contained within to keep even the most curious budding scientist occupied for hours, particularly if mum and dad join in the experimentation.

Loads of experiments to try

We tried 3 of the experiments with, it has to be said, varying success.

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit experiment booklet

Make a cloud in a jar

You need:

  • an aerosol can such as hairspray
  • a jar with a lid
  • boiling water
  • ice cubes
  • an adult

Fill the jar with a little boiling water and then spritz some hairspray into the jar. Flip the lid over and put some ice cubes on top of the lid. After a few moments lift the lid.

This shows you that the cloud forms because the boiling water creates a lot of warm water vapour which is cooled by the ice forming loads of tiny water droplets – in other words, a cloud.

You are supposed to remove the lid to let the cloud escape but we found keeping the cloud jar-bound gave a better result.

We then tried to make giant gummy bears.  You place two gummy bears in the test-tubes, add a little water and wait for them to grow.  This demonstrates the process of osmosis where the water is completely absorbed by the sweet.  In our case, however, the gummy bears dissolved completely!

Our best success was at making foam dough.  This is a mixture of cornflour, shaving cream and food colouring which, when mixed together, creates a very oddly textured type of dough.  Just be aware that coloured dough can equal a bit of mess and the smell of the shaving cream does tend to linger so don’t use your best mixing bowl!

Despite the fact that our results were patchy, this is a great kit which offers endless opportunities for experimentation.  Other experiments include things like “make Fake Boogers”, “make a red cabbage PH indicator” and “make a rainbow in a jar”.

The experiments are a great starting point for explaining the basic scientific theory and, of course, time spent with your kids away from tablets and PCs has a particularly special value these days.

Caitlin wearing the safety goggles from the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

There is no reason why you couldn’t then go on to devise your own experiments, whether you use the kit or not.

We thought the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit was, like the Pixel Purse, a well made, well thought out toy which offers a gentle introduction to science.  The experiments break down various scientific topics in a way which is easy to grasp and fun to explore.

The Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit is suitable for ages 6+ and is available from Amazon, Argos and Tesco.

You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.

Read our other Project Mc2 Reviews

Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic (Spy) Journal

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister Doll with Cocoa Bronzer

 

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Project Mc2 Pixel Purse Review

We are new to the Netflix series Project Mc2 but with the groundswell of interest in STEM-based projects for kids, particularly girls, we were delighted to be asked to review the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse.

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse Review

STEM, by the way, stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. It’s all about building a love for learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as your children work through the Key Stages in school.

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse - Caitlin holding the box and smiling

The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!).

The heroine is McKeyla McAlister who, with her best friends, works for a government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”).  They are a secret group of teenage female government operatives trying to protect the world using science and technology skills.

Having made a note to pay more attention to Netflix, we turned our attention to the Pixel Purse which is one of a range of toys from Project Mc2.

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse displaying the word "cool" in pink

The Project Mc2 Pixel Purse (we say handbag!) is about the same size as a clutch bag and it’s made of hard plastic in a bright pink colour with a display screen.

Be aware that it is not a toy handbag and you cannot actually keep things in it.  The only space available is to slot in your mobile phone to download your pixel designs.

What makes the Pixel Purse special is that it features a multi-coloured LED display which can be personalised with custom designs and phrases by using the free iOS and Android apps.

Go to www.projectmc2.com/pixelpurse for a list of compatible devices.

The purse also comes ready-programmed with 10 animations so you can play with it straight away, although you will need to replace the demonstration batteries with 4 x AA ones.  Make sure you have a screwdriver to hand.

The app is very easy to use and it took Caitlin no time at all to start creating designs for display on her pixel purse using the app on my iPhone.

Once you have created your design you save it and then connect the bag to your device (mobile or tablet) by inserting the cable inside the purse into your phone’s headphone jack.

We were a little thrown at first because I have an iPhone 7 plus which of course doesn’t have a headphone jack but luckily the Husband remembered that an adapter was included in the iPhone box.

Happily, this worked and it was a simple process to clip the mobile into the specially designated slot, stick the cable in and wait for the app to tell you that your design has been downloaded.

Turn the bag around and marvel at the brightly lit and flashing design all of your own making.

We did find that the designs need to be quite big and splashy.  Originally Caitlin did her name which didn’t register as well as her later attempts of hearts and snowflakes did.

The Pixel Purse light display is pretty impressive and it is light enough to carry.  It’s just a shame you can’t put anything in it.

This, of course, is not the point because its aim is to teach kids about how a light display works and specifically the role of pixels.

As the box says “if you were to look at a phone, tablet or television screen with a magnifying glass, you would see it is made up of lots of tiny dots called pixels.” Each pixel in the purse’s display can change colour and inside the pixel purse is a microchip which can remember the images and the order in which to display them.

We thought the Pixel Purse was a well made, well thought out toy which teaches quite a complex subject in an easy to grasp and non-threatening way.

The Project Mc2 Pixel Purse is suitable for ages 6+ and is available from Amazon, Argos and Tesco.

You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.

Read our other Project Mc2 reviews

Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic (Spy) Journal

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit 

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister Doll with Cocoa Bronzer