Today I’m sharing what we’re doing for Science this summer and fall. We’re taking a relaxed, living books approach to Chemistry and I think we’ve hit a home run with it. It is an excellent fit with our relaxed homeschooling philosophy.
There are three Chemistry books we are using for middle school Chemistry. The books cover the elements, molecules, and reactions. They provide a colorful and interesting introduction to this science topic for middle schoolers.
I’ve been wanting to do some Chemistry with Caroline to give her a solid start in the terminology and basic principles, starting with the elements. This is how we are going to do it!
Middle School Chemistry Books
I searched for books that David and Caroline could use together since he’s implementing the Science I plan. I found a book on Amazon that had excellent reviews and decided to order it as our science “textbook” this summer. The Elements intrigued me because it is part of a three book series.
Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
The other two books are Molecules and Reactions.
Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of EverythingReactions: An Illustrated Exploration of Elements, Molecules, and Change in the Universe
My thinking was this would be an excellent introductory Chemistry series if they liked the books. The books have strong visuals which I knew would appeal to both of them.
Well, they didn’t like The Elements. They loved it.
The book is well written and includes humor which goes a long way in our home. The design is top notch. Each two page spread about the element is just long enough to be a thorough introduction and hold the attention of a student Caroline’s age (currently 12 years old). David reads the text aloud and they discuss it. She uses her iPod to look up any related rabbit trail information they want to know.
Understanding the Periodic Table of Elements
I printed off a black and white Periodic Table of Elements so Caroline can color in each element as they learn about it.
I purchased this placemat as a guideline for filling in the paper periodic table. I wanted something tactile and with visual reminders (color and pictures) that I know will work well for Caroline’s learning style.
merka Educational Kids Placemat – Non Slip Washable (Periodic Table)
TED-Ed and Periodic Videos
David and Caroline are also watching the videos at TED-Ed and Periodic Videos for each element. I added this in after I knew this Chemistry approach was going to work. They are enjoying the videos a great deal and the visual approach is great for Caroline’s learning style.
Learning About Molecules
They are doing two elements a day so it will take them about two months to go through the book. The first book in the series should take them through the summer months. When David and Caroline finish going through The Elements, I’ll order Molecules and a molecule modeling kit like one of these.
Organic Chemistry Model Kit (239 Pieces) – Molecular Model Student or Teacher Pack with Atoms, Bonds and Instructional GuideMolecular Model Kit with Molecule Modeling Software and User Guide – Organic, Inorganic Chemistry Set for Building Molecules – Dalton Labs 252 Pcs Advanced Chem Biochemistry Student Edition
Learning About Chemical Reactions
Lastly, I’ll order Reactions and a set for doing chemistry experiments. By the time they get to the third book, I’m guessing we’re going to need a quality chemistry set because the ones for “kids” will be too basic and underwhelming with what they will have learned.
Thames & Kosmos Chem C2000 (V 2.0) Chemistry Set with 250 Experiments and 128 Page Lab Manual, Student Laboratory Quality Instruments & ChemicalsThames & Kosmos Chem C3000 (V 2.0) Chemistry Set with 333 Experiments & 192 Page Lab Manual, Student Laboratory Quality Instruments & Chemicals
Relaxed Homeschooling Science
That is our science plan for the next six months. I took Chemistry and AP Chemistry in high school so these topics are familiar to me. David did not so he’s enjoying going through the book with Caroline and learning along with her. I am confident that these six months will give Caroline a solid foundation for this area of high school science. After this we’ll probably do a six month stretch focused on biology to prepare her for that part of high school science. So that’s a peek at our science this summer (and fall)!
I stumbled on your page by searching for reviews for middle school chemistry sets. After reading your carefully thought out plan, I am planning to follow it this year for my 12. He wants to go into marine biology and needs a good base in chemistry. You did a great job putting this together. I can’t wait to get started and learn along with him!