Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chemistry Studies

not just a coffee table book
My yearly plan for science rarely remains intact as the weeks progress. Our chemistry unit has been no exception. I started out a mere five weeks ago fully intending to use the American Chemical Society's Middle School Chemistry lesson plans. But as we worked our way through the lessons, we found they were a little too routine for us. So I scrapped the entire plan and pulled out a 5th grade science textbook to form my own basic outline with higher level supplements from all over the Internet.

Gotta love the yard sales!
My basic outline looks like this: properties of matter, elements, changes of state, mixtures, compounds and chemical changes, and acids, bases, and salts. When we get to the more hands-on topics we'll be breaking out the chemistry set I bought over the summer. We'll also be supplementing with experiments from an old Golden Hobby Book, Basic Chemistry Experiments by Robert Brent.

element of the day
While I was looking for a good way to explain molecular structures, I stumbled across this site where I could download some really cool Power Points and worksheets. That is also where I discovered the idea for our Element of the Day. The student fills out a notebook entry each day about a different element. At the top of the card there is a place for the atomic number, symbol and mass. Then the student needs to determine how many protons, neutrons, and electrons the element has. We also learned how to draw a Bohr diagram for our entry. The boys need to look up the name of the scientist who first identified the element. Once they have completed their entry, they watch a video from this site, The Periodic Table of Videos . The team from the University of Nottingham has made a separate educational video for each element.

Carbon Tetrachloride and Ethanol
We also broke out the molecular model set from Home Science Tools that I bought a few years ago anticipating our chemistry studies. JT was especially happy building the compounds.

I hope to continue our chemistry unit until our Christmas break. Obviously this will only be an introduction to chemistry with a full course when the boys each reach high school.

For now we're doing a little learning while having a lot of fun.

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