Adventures in Chemistry

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I can’t believe it’s the last day for the Spring 2012 Hopscotch! I’ve been having a great time with these posts! Today’s Adventure Box Theme is Chemistry.

I believe that the science of chemistry alone almost proves the existence of an intelligent creator. – Thomas Edison

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

Exploring The Periodic Table of the Elements:

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

J7 adores Home Science Tools! He will spend forever paging through the catalog. I’ve often thought I should get him a Fisher Scientific catalog and that would keep him busy for days.

For Christmas, we went through the catalog to buy his gifts. He got a motor building kit, a physics kit, and a spectroscope analysis kit. Dan had made the comment that we should be buying this kid toys- not real science stuff! What happened to his childhood we wondered aloud…but J7 is an engineer, a scientist through and through. There is no stopping his brain!

So, when he opened this kit and Dan tried to explain it to him, J7 stopped him and said I know what it is! It’s a quantitative spectroscope! It measures wavelengths of light! He was beside himself with joy.

Finally, the day came to not only use the spectroscope but also to do the flame test. E14 has been studying wavelength and measurement in his high school chemistry course so this was a family affair.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

J7 was already an expert at looking at light through the scope, but Dan worked with the other kids to explain it before we began. He was in charge of the chemical compounds and the flames.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

We used our gas stove as the source for the heat to burn the compounds. Different elements produce different colored flames. You use the spectroscope to record the wave lengths of light that the flame produces.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

As they looked through the spectroscope, they recorded the wavelengths on a sheet which Dan had prepared for them.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

When we were all finished, the kids had to match the bands on their sheets with the known wavelength distribution of each element/compound to determine what it was. A kit like this makes great fun in an Adventure Box, but obviously an activity like this one needs adult participation.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

Part of any good chemistry Adventure is having the proper tools. What do you need to have on hand to do chemistry?

  • graduated cylinder– the one we have is glass, but I recommend a polypropylene one for safety
  • beakers
  • scale– we use our digital kitchen scale which sometimes is not quite sensitive enough, but we manage.
  • watch glass– is a convex circle of glass that can easily cover a beaker
  • Household items– such as Borax, starch, or containers if you don’t have scientific glassware

Of course, you can do chemistry without all these specific items but I’ve started to purchase glassware because I want the science equipment for the science stuff and my kitchen stuff for food!

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

Activity Books for Enjoying Chemistry:

  • Cooking & Science- from Rainbow Resource
  • Cooking & Science for Elementary Students
  • Kid Concoctions– written by John and Danita Thomas. These books have fabulous recipes for all kinds of goo and fun solutions. I’ve seen the authors speak on two different occasions and their story is fantastic. They came up with all of the concoctions as a way to reduce screen time in their family and spend time together. I have a 10th anniversary volume with all four books in it.
  • Super Science Concoctions
  • Chemistry for Every Kid– or any other Janice VanCleave science fair book with chemistry
  • Janice VanCleave’s Molecules– great projects showing evidence of molecules

There are lots of books on the market to engage kids with chemistry…many of them are disguised as “concoctions”. Enjoy browsing the various titles!

At our house, my older kids simply ask permission to work with the Kid Concoctions books and they whip up recipes of all kinds that way. R12 really loves to get her hands dirty and will play with this stuff for a long time.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

Activity Kits for Chemistry Fun:

Kits are great because they come with everything you need except for household items like vinegar, etc. The equipment is all there along with any powdered chemicals and large test tubes. Usually, they are marketed to the younger crowd too so the experiments are pretty straight forward and easy to follow.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

Chemistry with Dyes:

I’ve already mentioned a few ways we’ve used dyes at our house, but these can be a lot of fun. Check out these links to see the ways we’ve used dye chemistry in our homeschool.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Chemistry

Chemistry is a good time! My kids love it- some love it a lot. These are resources and ideas we’ve used at various times, but you could easily put something together for a Chemistry Themed Adventure Box.

Keep in mind that my husband is a chemical engineer and I’m a biologist. We do a lot of science stuff at our house because that’s how we have fun. However, there are so many great products out there for kitchen chemistry including kits which make doing and explaining chemistry very easy. How about giving it a try?

Thank you for joining me for this Hopscotch Series. I’m sad to see it come to an end! So, I thought it would be fun to continue to share Adventure Box Themes with you in the coming weeks as we head into summer. If you have ideas for themes or would like to see one in particular, I can do my best to find resources. Let me know what you think!

Hopscotch-With-iHN-Spring-Collage2Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are sharing a series this week through iHN’s Spring 2013 Hopscotch.

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  1. I didn’t even realize you moved! So nice to see you again. Glad so see this post- it might be just the thing I need.

    1. I’m sorry Laurie! My husband moved the blog to WP back in February. I hope you found me by the redirect. : )

      Great to see you!

  2. Thanks for the list of resources.
    We’re doing Chemistry this year (8th Grade). We started just learning about the elements and families using the great books by Theo Gray that you have shown. One of the other resources we used was the Periodic Table of Videos by the University of Nottingham. Just google to get to their website. Great fun!
    We are also using the free Middle School Chemistry lesson plans that the American Chemical Society has available online.

    Thanks again,

    1. We’ve seen those videos Sarah! I should have included them and forgot about them. Maybe I’ll add them in.

      Thanks for the heads up on the free plans. We use CK-12 for high school chemistry. It’s an open source textbook with nice videos to go along with their chapters. I’ll share our high school chemistry in a separate post soon.

  3. I have been inspired by this series! I have been trying to plan a state of MD project that we can do while visiting 20+ state parks this summer. I have been overwhelmed by all theree is, but with an adventure box I think the problem has been solved!
    Thanks, Cherylin

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