Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up, Powered by S'Mores


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.

Smores Oven

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.

Smores 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.

Weekly Wrap-UP

Hosted by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


tsinclair said...

See, if you had stayed here my kids would know all of that too. :-)

lol...I was lost with what you were talking about in the 2nd or 3rd sentence. This is why I am NOT a Science teacher.

Glad it is working out so well for you. :-)

love and life ♥ said...

I want that S'more RIGHT NOW!! Mmmmmm!!!

Lora @ my blessed life said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lora @ my blessed life said...

OK, I'm now craving s'mores! :)

Phyllis said...

Thanks for the review. I like their history. I am going to have to try their science!

Kimberly @adventures in mothering said...

Now I'm craving s'mores! They really make me think of summer.

That science sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Theresa said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog.

I have not yet found a science curriculum (this is our first year homeschooling) but R.E.A.L. is a strong contender.

I am following you now :)

dclouser said...

It sounds like your kids know more about Chemistry than I do already! Why are you going more online next year? Which curriculums are you looking at?

Sanna said...

Debbie stole my questions about going more online. :) I am checking out this curriculum b/c I haven't found the right fit for my son who really wants experiments. I like that I can download the first few lessons which also includes the whole curriculum overview! Thank you for the tip.

Our Side of the Mountain said...

We had S'mores this week too! It may be in the single digits for highs and 2 feet of icy snow on the ground...but anytime can be S'mores time! LOL


Our Side of the Mountain said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! CT can get LOTS of snow too! (My DH is from well as some of my family.) Beautiful winter scene photo!!


Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans said...

This curriculum sounds wonderful! Of course, it is that time of year when I'm looking around at everything, generally dissatisfied with what we're using and wanting something different...but this really looks great. I downloaded their "try before you buy" file and we're going to do this for a few weeks. Thanks for sharing!

Alex said...

I want another one!!!!