Friday, August 24, 2012

Chemistry in the Kitchen

This semester Emily and James are studying chemistry.  James has a keen interest in the subject and Emily hasn't run across it yet so it made sense.  I managed to never take Chemistry is high school or college (except for a very watered-down version at St. Leo) so Dennis is the natural choice to facilitate the subject.  Everyday the kids read a few pages of the book and then Dennis goes over the material with them.  This is usually followed by a YouTube video, white board drawing, and sometimes TV lecture. Then the kids go back and re-read the material with hopefully a new and more complete understanding.  So far it's going well.  James has the Period Table memorized and Emily has the first 20 elements under her belt. 

This week Dennis and the kids conducted their first experiment in the kitchen.  They used ice and salt to create a "super cooling" environment for a glass of water.  After some time the water remained unfrozen until it was removed from the bowl of ice.  Then, right before our eyes, the water started freezing inside the glass.  "Ooos and Ahhhs" could be heard from everyone.  "Wow, that's so cool!" the kids agreed. 

I'm so glad the experiment worked as advertised and although the kids were impressed, I have a feeling that next time they'll want to do something with fire.  I better put a fire extinguisher on my next shopping list!

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