Last Spring, I taught a homeschool co-op class on chemistry for elementary aged students. Chemistry is usually a subject reserved for older kids I imagine because traditionally younger students aren’t allowed to have many hands-on lab work. I think that mindset is changing and with the popularity of sensory play and STEM activities, younger kids are being exposed to the wondrous world of chemistry.
It all started when my son got interested in Toca Lab. And his eyed widened when I told him that his precious little “blobs” were actually real elements. We checked out a few books and messed around with some experiments. Then I started to put the course together.
I wanted to spend each class using an element to explore a chemistry concept. We had a short lesson portion to introduce the element and some corresponding ideas. Then after a short break we had a lab activity.
I’ve been torn on how to blog about the course–if I should have one post with everything in it or if I should break it into smaller posts. I thought about it for like two months and then just decided to to both. This post will be my anchor and I’ll update with each element as I write the individual, in-depth posts.
I printed out black & white periodic tables for the students and spent a few moments each week locating and coloring the element du jour. Click on the image above to download the color table and right here for the black & white version.
To get a large version of the periodic table, order an engineering print of the .pdf file. I got a black & white one for less that $5 and we colored it in ourselves. (You can order them from Staples or other print/copy stores)
I found this interactive periodic table really useful too. There are tons of resources out there but most of them get pretty complicated. Here are a few of the books I really enjoyed using.
I tried to keep our supply list to a minimum. We have fabulous libraries here in Maryland and I was able to find books there. I ordered a few items from Amazon (see below) and the rest we brought from home. Here’s a master list (I’ll probably keep updating this as I’m sure I’m forgetting something!)
- Safety Glasses
- Activated Carbon
- pH Test Strips
- Assorted bottles and cups (or you could buy a little beaker set)
- Baking Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Various metals and magnets
- Supplies to make a simple circuit
- (more to come)