Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: In Which I Learn Chemistry along with my Students

Homeschool:  By doubling up on the chapters we read on a few days, we were able to finish The Cat of Bubastes this week. In Social Studies, we discussed the geography and a little of the history of southern and interior Africa. In Science, we looked at the groups of elements on the Periodic Table, learning how scientists differentiate between metals and non-metals, the practical uses of the stable noble gases, and why some elements are so much more reactive than others. It’s all about the electrons. (I’m pretty sure I was in Grade 10 before any of my science classes spent any time teaching these basics of chemistry. We did a lot of biology, weather, and geology, but chemistry was considered a “high school subject” for some reason)

We did a couple of experiments to demonstrate the concepts we talked about. We collected some carbon by holding a ceramic plate above a candle flame and then examined it. Landon was a little surprised that it felt greasy to the touch rather than powdery, like ash.

The ‘carbon cycle’ drawings the kids did were especially entertaining -

Kennady drew a hippo that copied one her dad drew when he was about 5 years old. LOL (have you heard of a carbon cycle before? I hadn'’t. Water cycle - very familiar with that one, but carbon cycle - cue crickets… never heard of it. So I am learning too!)

 We also learned about hydrogen, and examined some of the foods in our kitchen to compare vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and hydrogenated vegetable oil.  Although familiar with these ingredient terms, I didn't really know what 'hydrogenated' really meant - now I'm a little clearer on that.

Another experiment we did will hopefully have practical applications in our family’s personal hygiene habits - we soaked an egg (well, half of it) in fluoride toothpaste for a few days, then submerged it in vinegar. The fluoride reacts or bonds with the calcium carbonate in the eggshell (like the calcium in our teeth) to strengthen it. Vinegar is an acid and reacts with the calcium to break it down, releasing carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide bubbles started immediately when we poured the vinegar on the egg, and it was obvious which side of the shell had fluoride protection! After several hours in the vinegar bath, the untreated side of the eggshell was soft and visibly weak and damaged. I hope by seeing this, the kids have been convinced of the importance of brushing well and regularly, because no one wants soft yucky teeth!!


In Other News:  I was excited to get in touch with Purple Heart this week and arrange for them to pick up the large collection of clothing I’ve put together to donate. I have one week to finish preparing my home for houseguests, as my parents will be arriving next Saturday.

The week started out very warm - it got up to 102*F on Sunday! - but became a little more ‘seasonal’ as the days went by. We got lots of rain and wind yesterday from the storm systems headed up the east coast, and there were flash flood warnings for most of the area, but no real damage as far as I know.  This morning Harrison mentioned a possibility that his classes would be cancelled due to flooding, but they didn't follow through on that and he was at school as usual.

We are still working on finalizing the financing for Harrison’s tuition and living expenses, but made great progress this week, so hopefully everything will be sorted out soon so I can check that off my list!

On the Bookshelf:

  • The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead (I've temporarily set this aside because I was more focused on the Darcy mysteries!)

  • The Prince by Francine Rivers

  • I read North by Northanger by Carrie Bebris in its entirety this week - over the last two days, actually.  They are hard to put down. 8-)

Some brief thoughts on the two I finished most recently, The Warrior and Suspense and Sensibility are on my book blog.  I will be starting on our next book club pick, The Fire by Katherine Neville, this weekend.

Visit Canadagirl and/or Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for other Weekly Wrap-Ups

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Giggly Girls said...

You always do such cool stuff! Lucky kids.

Margaret said...

I also learn a lot in the process of homeschooling my kids!

Annie Kate said...

Way to go with the chemistry! That's what I love about homeschooling: you can learn with the kids, and you don't have to wait until highschool to learn the neat stuff. Isn't it fun?

We've been learning about salsa and harvesting and compost piles.... Not very formal, but actually a fair bit of fun, even though it is all work.

Annie Kate

Canadagirl said...

It looks like you all had a great time in science this week. *grin* I love hearing what you all are up to. I am hoping in a week or two to get a bit more detailed with my whats going on in school section. We are getting ready for the Canadian Thanksgiving. Do you all celebrate that too ? I can't remember.

Blessings and ((HUGS))
In Him<

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