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Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Elementary Chemistry (grades 1-4}

Week 1: Observing Matter


  1. Provide the student with a mystery object. Have your student develop observation skills by having him make at least 10 statements about the object's physical attributes. Observations can be quantitative, by using measurement tools, or qualitative, obtained through the senses.
  2. Teach the student how to draw and label a model. Provide a variety of fruits and vegetables (apple, squash, cucumber, potato, banana, star fruit, strawberry, kiwi, and the like.) Have him draw as many detailed cross-sections of them as he desires to. Refrigerate the fruits for the next lesson.
  3. Using the fruits and vegetables from yesterday, ask the student to predict what will happen to each one if heat is added. Cook half of a couple of the fruits or vegetables (the ones he sketched before), separately, and observe the physical properties. Discuss the changes. Freeze the other half and observe the physical changes. Discuss the fact that, even though they changed, they are still the same item: for example, even though it is cooked, the apple is still an apple.
  4. Teach the importance of using specific descriptive language for physical attributes. Words such as small and pretty do not tell much about the object. Have your student write a description of a familiar object or another of the fruits and vegetables using descriptive language. Encourage him to use senses other than sight.
Week 2: Matter
  1. Matter can be in the form of a solid, liquid or gas. Review this and help your student write in his science journal a working definition for each state of matter.
  2. Have the student name in his science journal the ways that each state of matter can be measured. (Can a solid be measured with a ruler? Can a gas be measured with a ruler?...)
  3. Explore a substance that could be considered a solid or a liquid. Have your student write about it in his science journal. Which state does he think it is most like and why?
Weeks 3 and 4: Density
  1. Density is the amount of matter in a given space. Compare the density of water an maple syrup. Allow the student to pour a half-cup of each into two identical glass or clear plastic containers and place the containers on a balance scale. Discuss with the student that more particles of matter are packed into the denser liquid, making it heavier. 
  2. Pour the syrup into the water. Have your student observe, describe and explain the interaction in his science journal.
  3. Solids are usually more dense than liquids and liquids are usually more dense than gases. Have your student draw in his science journal pictures to illustrate how the particles of matter in each are spread apart or tightly packed together. 
  4. Is ice more or less dense than liquid water?
  5. Different liquids have different densities. Work together to pour a variety of liquids in a clear glass cylinder, then float objects in the various layers. Have the student record with sketches and written explanation where each object settles in the cylinder.
  6. Add kosher salt to tap water to make the water more dense. Have the student find objects that float in the salt water that do not float in the tap water. Try an egg. Relate this to floating in the ocean compared to a pool or lake.
  7. Can your student think of a magic trick using the two densities of water to amaze his friends?
Weeks 5 and 6: Separating Mixtures
  1. Sometimes a scientist needs to determine the elements of a substance. In order to identify the parts that make up the whole, the scientist needs to be able to separate a mixture and identify matter by the measurable and observable attributes, states of matter and density. Teach the student different methods for separating mixtures.
  2. Provide the student with a substance that is difficult to separate, such as rice and flour. Challenge your student to find different ways to separate the mixture.
  3. Provide the student with a mixture of sugar and sand. Challenge him to find different ways to separate the mixture (such as dissolving or heating.)
  4. Read about Robert Boyle. He was a founder of modern chemistry. He worked with gasses and explored the makeup of basic elements. Have your student write in his science journal what he has learned about Robert Boyle, including an explanation telling why his work is important.
Week 7: Testing
  1. Assess the student's use of observational skills to determine the identity of some mysterious white powders.
Week 8
Disappearing Eggshell


Week 9
Starch Testing

Week 10
Dry Ice Investigations


Week 11
Parts of the Atom


Week 12
Building Molecules


Weeks 13 and 14
Chemical Reactions


Weeks 15-20
Salt Lapbook
Water turns into a solid at 32 degrees F. This is called the freezing point. Does all water freeze at 32 degrees F? Fill two small paper cups with water. Mix 4 teaspoons of salt in one of the cups. Mark it salt. Put both cups in the freezer. Check on them every hour for four hours. When the temperature of water gets very cold, the particles of water hook together to make ice crystals. Salt gets in the way of this process and an ever lower temperature is needed before ice crystals will form.


Weeks 21 and 22
Acids vs Bases



Week 23
Different Size Molecules




Weeks 24 and 25
Polymers, Slime


Week 26
Copper Plating


Week 27
Making Butter

Erupting Lava Bottle
Week 28: Erupting Lava Bottle

Week 29: Density
Buoyancy is how capable an object is of floating. We have experimented with varying amounts of water in a plastic bottle floating in a large bowl of water and how its buoyancy is affected.

1 comment:

  1. I'm saving this for next year as we cover Chemistry.

    ReplyDelete

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