Do you wonder if elementary age kids can really learn chemistry? Are you afraid to teach your children chemistry because you weren’t so good at it? My answers to both of these questions were “yes” before starting our chemistry curriculum this year. You see, I had one bad experience with chemistry in middle school and I thought I would never be able to do it. I avoided it in high school and college and got through life just fine. That is, until recently when I wanted to know more about natural ways to support our family’s health and I ran right into, you guessed it, chemistry. So I decided this school year, we would learn chemistry as our science curriculum in our homeschool. Kids learn, mom learns and everyone becomes more knowledgeable! But, I knew we were going to need an actual curriculum if we were going to pull this off. In the past, I had just pulled science lessons together based upon what the boys were interested in. We spent all of last year learning about biomes and animals and plants and prior to that we studied insects and physics and light and sound. We also watched lots of Magic School Bus videos. But there was no way I was comfortable with piecing together chemistry lessons.
So I asked in a homeschool group on facebook what the favorite science curricula were and the R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey kept popping up. Moms know best and it was relatively inexpensive compared to some other science curricula out there so we went for it. And we are happy we did! The lessons are short and fun, yet teach deep enough for the 2nd-5th grade group. There are lots of fun, hands on experiments, which the boys love, although they are slightly disappointed they have not gotten to blow anything up, yet! Knowing that my guys benefit from as many hands-on activities as possible and need some pre-teaching and/or review of concepts taught, I decided to create two sets of printables to accompany our curriculum.
Vocabulary Concept of the Day Cards
The first printable is Vocabulary Concept of the Day Cards aka calendar cards, which we used all last year for teaching and reviewing biome vocabulary. My youngest loves to learn a new card each day and was kind of upset that we did not have calendar cards this summer. I explained that mama needs a break, right? So I knew that I needed to get some calendar cards going once our school year was back in session. They are actually great to teach vocabulary before it is encountered in the lessons or experiments and/or to review concepts once they are taught. They also serve as a great reference (or cheat sheet as the boys like to call it) when they need to remind themselves what a word means. Big Fish pulled a whole bunch of them out today while he worked through a chemistry crossword!
So, I went ahead and started a set of chemistry calendar cards that are meant to accompany any chemistry curriculum that you may use. Each card contains one concept or vocabulary word such as “chemist”, “nucleus”, or “electric charge”. The first month focuses on basic concepts and the second month focuses on better known elements and their chemical families. I have made both months of chemistry calendar cards available here. There are a total of 30 cards for each month. This is a growing bundle and future months will include molecules, states of matter and chemical reactions.
Parts of An Atom for Hands On Building
This leads me to the second printable, which is a FREEBIE and can be downloaded here. It is also included in the Vocabulary Concept of the Day Cards. This printable contains 3 energy levels as well as protons, neutrons, and electrons to cut out and then use each day to build the element of the day that is introduced on the calendar card. Instructions and manipulatives to build the first 18 elements are included. (Note: After these first 18, the placement of the electrons into energy levels gets tricky so we stopped here to keep it at an elementary age level.) This has allowed us to review the concepts of protons, neutrons, electrons, and energy levels, including how many electrons can fit in a given energy level, over and over again so that the boys will fully understand these concepts by the time they are done. They enjoy it because they are “building” something and we have been able to work a lot of math facts into the activity as well!
I am so glad we all decided to learn chemistry together this year and am looking forward to all of our future lessons. If you subscribe to our monthly freebies, you will get updates as to when I add additional months to our Vocabulary Concept of the Day cards. But keep in in mind, the price goes up each time a month is added so grab them now to get in on the lowest price!!