|What are chemicals? What is chemistry?|
We just finished an exhausting math unit, and we all felt the need to take a different approach for the next few weeks. We know we have to revisit some parts of math -- that is a non-negotiable. We also want to include some work habits work this go-around. But the actual content? That is up to him. So I asked Malik what he wanted to study, and he made a list (he ranked them, himself):
- building (construction)
I was a science major in college, so I am always up for studying something new in one of the sciences. But I wanted a little guidance regarding how to introduce topics, so I did a quick Google search. I found this great article, "Making Chemistry Teaching Relevant", which is really written to address how high school and college chemistry classes are developed. In it, the authors stated that chemistry instruction shouldn't start with atoms, and work through matter, and so on (exactly the way I learned it, and exactly how I was going to teach it!). Rather, they contended that it should start with a real social, ecological or economic problem: What factors contribute to global warming? What's the best way to increase gas mileage in automobiles? What short- and long-term effects does the Exxon Valdez oil spill have on the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico? Etcetera...
|We customize inexpensive, white 3-ring binders.|
After reading the article about keeping science instruction relevant by focusing on inquiry, I asked my son what he wanted to know about chemicals, and what made him choose chemistry as his #1 topic of interest. His response was that he wanted to learn about acids and how the "burn through stuff." So I have to think a bit about what he really wants to know. Which of these topics might hit the mark?
|What NOT to do with acids and plasma!|
- types of burns (including chemical burns) and their treatment
- the use of acids in manufacturing
- digestion and indigestions -- acids and other chemicals that help us use our food
- pH: acids, bases and neutral chemicals and how to detect them
- chemical weapons and the history of chemical warfare
In the meantime, we have been reading through the basics of chemistry on Chem4Kids, which a ton of information, the basic vocabulary of chemistry, and little online quizzes after each section (Malik got a 10/10 on his "matter" quiz -- he was amped!). I learned that they've discovered two new states of matter since I was in college: plasma and Bose-Einstein condensates (when I declared this to my 24-year-old naturalist son, he chided me as being behind the times...). This is why I love homeschooling! You learn from your kids!
|We started with a high-quality online site...|
We will chronicle how we build this chemistry study on acids from scratch, for those of you who like to create curriculum. Stay tuned!
Did you know....
That there is a word that describes someone who teaches himself? You would call that person an autodidactic. Fans of the show, Criminal Minds, will be familiar with the genius character, Spencer Reed, who has several advanced degrees that he earned by teaching himself piles of stuff, just by reading books.