I think by far my favorite curriculum choice this year has been R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey, Elementary Chemistry. It is easy to follow, easy to plan, and it holds the kids' attention because it's easy to follow, it makes sense, and the hands-on activities are a lot of fun. I knew this week's experiment would be particularly fun because it resulted in a yummy snack.
The great thing about exposing the kids to chemistry in the elementary grades is that their familiarity with the vocabulary and structure of the subject will be half the battle in overcoming the mystery of high school chemistry. We have already learned the structure of the periodic table. We have already learned about atomic numbers and atomic masses, about protons, electrons, and neutrons. The children know that if Carbon has an atomic number of 6, that means there are 6 protons and 6 neutrons. They know that if the atomic mass is 12, that means there are 6 neutrons. They know that only 2 electrons can sit on the first energy level of an atom and only 8 on the second.
And right now they are learning the names and functions of the most common elements on the periodic table. They are learning them by memorizing funny mneumonic phrases. Like today, we learned that it is fun to be Constantly Silly. Carbon and Silicon are now easy to remember.
We learned that Silicon combines with two Oxygen molecules to make sand. And we learned that carbon is present in diamonds, pencil lead, and sugar. We also learned that carbon becomes a darker color when exposed to heat. To illustrate this, we placed a sugary marshmallow on a graham cracker and put it in the oven.
After we did this, we learned that carbon can turn black when exposed to heat for too long. (Note: If you decide to use this curriculum, do NOT leave your S'Mores in the oven for 10 minutes like the directions say to do. 3-4 minutes is sufficient.) Consequently, we got to do the experiment twice.
After we finished our experimental snack, we completed our lab page as well as the pages provided for our Elements Book and then had a little look-see at a grain of sugar under the microscope.
Like I said, I'm really loving this curriculum. Even though I plan to go more online classes for next year, I think we may stick with Pandia Press's science courses.