Sunday, September 11, 2011

Middle School Chemistry

Our focus this year is Chemistry.  A long while back I found a great, free resource called Middle School Chemistry by the American Chemical Society.  This 600+ page pdf takes an inquiry approach to chemistry, meaning that students first make observations through hands-on activities and then learn about the concepts behind them. The book has 6 chapters and 38 lessons.

It starts off simply but builds quickly.  The needed specialty supplies, like graduated cylinders and copper sulfate, are few are not needed until later in the book; everything else is around the house or at the pharmacy.

To go with this we are reading The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean-Henri Fabre.  It is available at Google Books or The Baldwin Project online, or through Yesterday's Classics in print form.  It covers a lot of what Middle School Chemistry does plus a whole lot more, including a little plant biochemistry.

This is a wonderful living science book.  It's the story of Uncle Paul educating his two nephews, Emile and Jules, through demonstration and conversation.  I hope my boys are as inspired as the nephews are in the book (and that they don't expect that we can carry out the same demonstrations!)

Finally, after working through these, I hope to work through TOPS Analysis (10).  It contains 16 Task Card Activities.  I am supposed to give them one and have them work through the task at hand.  The book gives detailed explanations for teachers so they can get students started if they don't quite understand what is being asked.  But after going through the above materials I am hoping they will have fun exploring the materials in this one.

I will find supporting material on ExploreLearning Gizmos, Adaptive Curriculum, and Discovery Streaming as well, and blog when I can about our progress.


Chef Penny said...

These were great resources! Thanks!

Michele said...

We are attempting middle school chem this year as well. I like the idea of the Wonder Book, but if there was some inaccuracy, I would not know. Do you know if there are any problems with any of the science presented? I have recently enjoyed reading your science comments on 4Real. :)

Kris said...

There's slight language variation, like oxid instead of oxide (the dropping of that last "e" was common for several words.) But the chemistry presented is fairly basic so I would be surprised if I did come across anything no longer accurate. He touches on biochemistry so I will pick it up there if I find any.

Learners at Home said...

We are doing the same thing~ ! I love the resources~ :) tracey