Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Science fun - high school

I have spent even longer trying to decide what to do with my older group of kids, kids 15 to 17 years old. These kids are unschoolers for the most part.

I looked at Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments by Robert Bruce Thompson and I cannot say how much I love this book. My own digital balance arrived yesterday and I am ready to do some science. But I don't think this will work with my lab group, most of whom will not be doing any other science than what we do in lab. The vocabulary and concepts will be difficult to teach them in the small amount of time we have together.

Rather I think I will use a series of the TOPS units, analysis, oxidation, solutions, and others. I don't consider this a compromise in quality but rather a different presentation and focus. I like that the TOPS modules often have you create your own lab equipment. The teens will be able to work through the task cards at their own pace and then we will discuss what we learned at the end of the time. To add a bit of flash, I will add in a lab from the Thompson book occasionally.

I really hope that all of these kids will take a lab science at the community college before they graduate from high school. We have required this of our teens. I have discussed their lab science experiences with several local public school kids and I think I have offered comparable exposure to my kids, particularly in biology. I want chemistry to be as instructive and fun. Chemistry should smell even worse, and occasionally, produce a "pop".

Shoshie will likely be using Singapore Chemistry this year, as well as doing the group lab. We will be doing some of the Thompson's labs at home. The second and third chapters of the Singapore book are about experimental techniques and separation and purification of substances. While she can read this, I think it will be helpful to do some of these at home if we haven't done them in the lab by that time. Thompson's first set of labs are separations of mixtures.

So, now that's settled. On to deciding about history, math, etc PRM

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