Friday, July 13, 2012

Need a Hands on Chemistry Lesson?

I find it quite ironic that the three other (first time) mommies that I met in childbirth classes nearly nine years ago ALL homeschool. We have many more similarities, too. 

One mommy and I in particular lived only five minutes from each other and we quickly became friends. In fact, we've both moved once (to a neighboring zip code) since our first children were born and we still live only five minutes from one another! Our daughters have been inseparable from birth and I consider her mommy a very dear friend. This dear friend is constantly researching all sorts of interesting subjects such as education, psychology and nutrition. She loves sharing her findings, and I always leave her company inspired. 
My friend invited us to explore chemistry for the next couple of months together. This isn't the first time we've paired our children together for learning. In fact, another childbirth class mommy and her children usually join us. The fourth recently moved to Tennessee.

Cooperative learning doesn't HAVE to happen only at a co-op. It's good to meet with another family or two and learn together outside of co-op.

Here are a few highlights of our first two chemistry labs from this week. Incidentally, one of the precious children learning with us isn't homeschooled. Contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers do socialize with non-homeschoolers!

We gathered different edible powders and tested solubility. Does it dissolve or is it hydrophobic? And while you have all these different powders out, go ahead and explore them with the five do they taste, smell, feel and look? What sound do they make when you shake the container or pour them into the water?? Next, we checked their pH using litmus paper. Which are acids, bases and neutrals? After each activity the children note booked their findings.

Three chemists mixing and using a pipette - a new vocabulary word.

Here our chemists are taking turns adding baking soda & water to citric acid & water using the pipette. The results are a chemical reaction that makes carbon dioxide resulting in lots of long lasting bubbles and lots of smiles!

Here is an example of baking soda water (base) "poured" into organic apple cider vinegar (acid). We also tested white vinegar. 
All ooh'd and aah'd over this one. J4 in particular insisted on trying this over and over again. ~ The cup in the background is the citric acid/baking soda still bubbling!



  1. So cool. I want to start doing these types of things with the kids. Are you using a book or website for instructions on what to mix?

  2. Kathy, My friend was in charge of finding the experiments. I'll ask her what she used. I know she's following The Well-Trained Mind's recommendations as to what area of science to study and when. I also know that we pulled a lot of extra things out of the kitchen cabinet in order to give each child multiple experiences with mixing and watching it dissolve or not dissolve. We also used two types of vinegar instead of just the citric acid powder mixed with water to combine with baking soda water. I'll have to get back to you on exactly what was used. But, basically, we followed directions and created our own experiments, too =) Your kids will LOVE experimenting with chemistry concepts!

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