Elements Introduction to Chemistry Curriculum

Elements Introduction to Chemistry Curriculum

# 022079

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Item #: 022079
ISBN: 9780982537718
Grades: 3-7

Product Description:

Every once in a while, you come across a product that you wish you could have had when you were growing up, and those were exactly my feelings when I reviewed Ellen Johnston McHenry's introductory chemistry course. Geared for the upper elementary to junior-high age students, it introduces chemistry gently, comparing the elements, the ingredients of our world to common kitchen ingredients we use everyday to make many very different baked goods. The analogy kicks off the first chapter, where they learn about the more common elements such as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, analogous to flour, sugar, and salt, which are used in nearly everything we bake. More uncommon elements such as berylium, gallium, and selenium are compared to fruit, spices, and other add-ins that you might only use in special recipes. The periodic table is then introduced, in the more simplified (and less intimidating) format of the "Kitchen Cupboard of the Universe). The basic concepts of chemistry are introduced in each chapter, in a very simple, understandable format, and avoids bogging them down with details that will be covered (much more exhaustively!) in high school or college. The approach appears to work well, with protons, neutrons, electrons, the electron cloud model, orbitals, bonding, spin, and more covered in just the very first few chapters. Fun and interactive activities are featured at the end of each chapter, to review and reinforce what was covered in the chapter, before moving further on. The activities are a good mix of hands-on experiments, and model-making, puzzles, fill-in-the-blanks, and of course short answer to write electron configurations, Lewis diagrams, chemical compounds and more. The hands-on activities have been well-chosen and illustrate well the concepts that have been learned. Constructing balloon electron cloud models and edible chemical compounds, creating carbon dioxide bubbles, and electolysis are several examples. Several songs are included, for those who are more auditorily oriented. Several more involved activities include making periodic-table pillowcases to play a game on, creating your own "collect-'em-all" chemical elements card deck, and performing several short skits on the discovery of several of the more common elements of the periodic table. Students are also challenged by the author to memorize as much of the periodic table as they can, to help make life easier when they revisit the subject (as well as impress their relatives at get-togethers). At only 78 pages of lessons, this is a fairly brief, but effective introduction to chemistry that could be easily worked into the academic year with any style of curriculum being used. Patterns, outlines, activity sheets, experiments, games, skits and more are included in the Teacher's Section in back half of the book activity packet. And, to make things easier on Mom, most of the materials are easily found, either around the home, or at your local Wal-Mart. (No poring over science supply catalogs trying to decide how many moles of a chemical to order!) A CD is no longer included with the book - instruction is given in the text to stream the songs from the publisher's website and prescreened youtube videos are referenced for additional information.

All in all, this is a very well-done introduction to the basics of chemistry, and whatever your students take with them from this course will be well applied to more advanced chemistry, making their journey into more advanced chemistry all the more manageable. Plus, I think students will definitely be impressed with themselves for being able to complete some college-level chemistry by Chapter 3 of the book! Personally, my first real experience with chemistry was my senior year of high school, followed by the four semesters of chemistry required by my major, and I think both high school chemistry as well as introductory college chemistry would have been much easier to understand had I had some experience with these concepts at an earlier age. - Jess

Publisher Description:

Target age group: 8-14

Description: A basic introduction to the fundamental concepts of chemistry (see "Topics covered" below) but with the interest level of the text and activities geared to students who still like to play while they learn. The student text combines very "meaty" content with whimsical humor, and the teacher's section has lots of activities, games, songs, crafts, etc. All of these activities provide high-quality learning they are not "fluff." The overall theme of the curriculum is cooking and recipes, using cooking to explain chemistry concepts. The curriculum is intended to prepare students for high school chemistry.

Topics covered: The definition of an element, the structure of an atom, the invention of the Periodic Table by Mendeleyev, chemical formulas, electron orbitals and shells, the octet rule, arrangement of elements on the Periodic Table, atomic bonding (covalent, ionic and metallic), plus an up-close look at the families on the table: alkali metals, alkali earth metals, transition metals, true metals, non-metals, halogens, noble gases, and lanthanides and actinides.

Activities included: "Symbol Jar" game, "Elements Fishing" game, "Make Five" game, "Quick Six" game, "Chemical Compounds Song", "The Bonding Song", Periodic Table jump rope rhyme, Periodic Table pillowcase craft project, skits about the discoveries of some of the elements, lab experiments, building models of atoms, Element trading cards art project, and links to sites on the Internet where you can play games about the elements or see dangerous experiments that you could not do at home. NOTE: Some of these activities, such as the Periodic Table game, are available for free download on this site, so you can do further previewing by checking out the chemistry section of the free downloads page.

Student text booklet: 70 pages divided into 8 chapters. The text is kid-friendly without being patronizing. (They'll love the Atomic Chef!) It contains all the information they need to know, so there is no extra teaching required by the adult administering the program. The parent/teacher can learn along with the student. No previous knowledge of chemistry is required! This booklet also has pencil and paper activities such as word puzzles, as well as suggestions for activities the student can do at home, including a YouTube playlist created [by me] for this curriculum, and also safe websites they can visit.

Time requirement: This curriculum takes 6-9 weeks depending on how many hours a week you put in, how many times you play the games, how much time you spend on the crafts and skits, and how many of the "extras" you decide to do. When my homeschool co-op runs this class, we have 7 class periods (once a week for 7 weeks) that last 3 hours each time. We expect the students to do all the reading and pencil and paper activities and some of the online activities at home. We do all the games and group activities in class. Some of the kids don't get to spend as much time on activities (such as trading cards) as they would like, but we encourage them to keep working at home. If we don't have time to perform the skits, we just read them out loud as "reader's theater." Since we have Internet access and a video projector at our rented facility, we show some of the video clips in class for the benefit of the kids who don't have Internet access. The teachers prepare all the games ahead of time so no assembly has to be done in class. If you are doing this curriculum just at your home, you can set your own pace and take as long as you like.

Category Description for Chemistry Instructional:
Category Description for CHEMISTRY:

Homeschool Chemistry Curriculum, Workbooks, Lab Materials, Kits, Games, and Chemistry Lab Supplies

Primary Subject
Grade Start
Grade End
Softcover Book
Brand Name
Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop
1.05 (lbs.)
11.0" x 8.5" x 0.38"
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Why did you choose this?
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Fun introduction to chemistry for a third grader. Reinforcement through games and songs.
Kim T on Feb 11, 2021
We love baking and my 12 year old loves chemistry. This just might work!
Victoria H on Sep 9, 2019
Fun introduction to chemistry for a third grader. Reinforcement through games and songs.
Kim T on Feb 11, 2021
I home school my 8 year old grandson and he loves science. His interest in science tends to lean toward chemistry and physics. After reading the description and reviews on this chemistry curriculum, it sounded like something he would really enjoy. He really wants to do science experiments. So from what I understand, most of the materials I will need for these science experiments in this book will likely be things I already have around the house which is a big plus for me.
Jill V on Jul 13, 2020
We love baking and my 12 year old loves chemistry. This just might work!
Victoria H on Sep 9, 2019
My fifth grader wanted to learn about chemistry. I liked the playful way this text introduced a complex subject.
User on Aug 5, 2019
Great review at Amazon.
WeiHsin F on Mar 24, 2019
From what I can see in the description and photos, I like the teaching approach, the use of recipes to explain the periodic table. I believe my children will really enjoy this textbook.
Anne Marie on Dec 20, 2018
better understanding
martina s on Apr 1, 2018
I chose this product because it made chemistry sound interesting. My class in high school was mostly math based and very boring. I wanted something my daughter would enjoy.
MARY K on May 18, 2017
We've heard great things about using this in a intensive co-op situation and will be giving it a try.
Sheri V on Apr 16, 2017
We enjoyed the Organic Chemistry CD from the same author and decided to purchase this book too.
James C on Mar 19, 2017
Seems like a good bridge between a basic study of elements and high school science courses.
carina m on May 31, 2016
It was recommended by someone as a good introduction to elements.
Elena G on May 12, 2016
This looks very cool and I have very science oriented kids
Karen H on Apr 24, 2016
Looks like fun activities to supplement program
Nancy Y on Apr 7, 2016
I home school my 8 year old grandson and he loves science. His interest in science tends to lean toward chemistry and physics. After reading the description and reviews on this chemistry curriculum, it sounded like something he would really enjoy. He really wants to do science experiments. So from what I understand, most of the materials I will need for these science experiments in this book will likely be things I already have around the house which is a big plus for me.
Jill V on Jul 13, 2020
My fifth grader wanted to learn about chemistry. I liked the playful way this text introduced a complex subject.
User on Aug 5, 2019
answer key? where is it?
A shopper on Feb 21, 2019
BEST ANSWER: It is in the middle of the book, page 81 or if you are paying attention to the readings, the answers are straight from the text.
Does the need to what done chemistry 1 to use this book? Can we skip chemistry 1 and move right into chemistry 2?
Navine on Jan 9, 2019
BEST ANSWER: This amazing book is solely an introduction to the elements of the Periodic Table. It is not a full chemistry course. We used it for a science co-op with mostly middle school students and it was fun and right at their level.
How many lessons / chapters in this book? Could someone provide a table of contents?
A shopper on May 27, 2017
BEST ANSWER: There are eight chapters, each of which has multiple activities including worksheets, songs, links to videos and an end-of-chapter comic strip:

1. What is an Element?
2. The Periodic Table
3. Atoms
4. More About Atoms
5. Meet the Alkali and Halogen Families
6. The Noble Gases and Non-Metals
7. Metals: Semi-, Pure and Transition
8. The Lanthanides and Actinides

There is a large section at the back for various games, crafts, experiments, even skits. We did all the activities and spent about a week on each chapter.
does this book come with a cd?
A shopper on Feb 8, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Yes, this book does come with a cd. The cd contains the entire book, as well as songs. We really like using this book -- it is full of activities that are engaging & help make chemistry enjoyable. I use the actual hardcopy of the book during lesson time. The cd is helpful because the book contains lots of activities you can copy (we pick & choose which ones we do), and it's much easier to print the activities from the cd. Some examples of activities are memory games, a board game, trading cards, and skits. Do plan on making/printing copies (& doing some cutting), as these activities are really what makes this book great. Along with this book, we use Theodore Gray's "The Elements" and Basher Science "The Periodic Table" to learn more about each element (especially helpful when making the trading cards).
Periodic Table: Elements with Style! Basher S
Periodic Table: Elements with Style! Basher S
Elements: Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
Elements: Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
5.0 / 5.0
10 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
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1 Star
Rated 5 out of 5
Age-appropriate and easy to use
I have used this with my 3rd grader who requested learning chemistry when we started homeschooling. It is easy to implement (low prep) and he was able to understand the content. There are plenty of activities to keep students interested - not only written activities but active, crafty and edible activities as well. Some of the games are better suited to groups, but this wasn't a serious drawback. (We have a high-schooler taking 'real' chemistry too, so he stepped in to participate...) Everything you need to print is provided on CD, which is convenient. My only complaint is that some of the weblinks suggested for information/videos no longer work.
August 22, 2016
over 5 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
The first chemistry book that we have used and I love the fact that the text is not "dry" in any sense - learning a lot and being entertained at the same time.
May 24, 2016
over 5 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
This book is Awesome! It makes the elements easy to understand fun and even entertaining My 5th grader loved it and we look forward to using more books by the same author
March 23, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5
On my quick preview I liked how things are presented and the kids really like the cartoons inside I think this is a reasonable introduction to chemistry for kids[Editor's note: 10-21-10 The activity described below was modified in 2010 and the following information is no longer accurate] However I noted a few things that I thought needed correction Chapter 1 activity #4 Either just drop it or change all the units (liters pounds etc) to number of atoms or even thousands of atoms Quick explanation: 1 volume measure depends on the state of the matter (ie H2O liquid or gas have different volumes) 2 using weight you must factor in the atomic weight of the atom (ie there's a group of moms each holding a baby in her arms--guess they are bonded If the weight of all the moms is 3000 pounds we do not have 3000 pounds worth of children)
April 7, 2009
Rated 5 out of 5
Of all the science we have ever done at any level this is the most fun! We were looking for an elementary to middle school level chemistry curriculum as an introduction to chemistry for our children so that their first exposure to chemistry was before high school We wanted them to be at least acquainted with this wonderful subject This curriculum far exceeded our expectations It is simple to use a just "open and start" curriculum The supplies you need for experiments are actually found around the house even our house I am always frustrated with science experiments calling for household items that "everyone" has in their home yet we never seem to have in ours The text is intriguing to read even for little ones Information is presented in an exciting story format containing wonderful information for children of all ages even older children She explains scientific concepts in such an easy to understand way that even the least scientific among us will understand and enjoy this curriculum She really brings chemistry to life through stories games drawings experiments activities songs crafts and more If my children had gotten their wish we would have done this exclusively until it was done I'm not sure we've ever looked so forward to science! This same author has other curricula that we can't wait to use We plan to use "The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe" with a small group of young children this fall Our children are excited to do it all over again While they love to learn I'm not sure how many things they would be excited to turn around and repeat immediately after completion so that says something about this program The price is great for the product: money we feel was very well spent This encompasses all learning styles being a comprehensive multi-sensory developmentally appropriate introduction to chemistry I would highly recommend this in the years preceding higher level science There is simply no other product that compares Many people we talked with when looking for something like this said that chemistry is a higher level science This program proves how wonderful and appropriate chemistry can be for younger children Our children have learned so much from this not only in knowledge but in application This curriculum definitely rates in the top ten of everything we've used over the past ten years of homeschooling
August 28, 2008
Rated 5 out of 5
Elements could make chemistry your children's favorite subject; it is everything in the product description--elementary school children really can understand the organization of the periodic chart (families of elements) atomic structure and simple chemical bonds It could be completed quickly (1 month) and simply by just reading the seven chaptersor get into the games songs review activities internet sites lab experiments and plays for a good semester course The author hits the right balance to make this curriculum adaptable for an age range 5 yo to adult with stories simple experiments and games for the little ones and clear technical information and projects for the older student (would make a great co-op course) A winner with my 5 yo 10 yo & 12 yo and an extremely solid foundation for their future science courses
June 20, 2008
Rated 5 out of 5
BUY THIS CURRICULUM!! I absolutely loved it I used it with my 4th and 5th grade daughters and it was amazingly easy to use to learn all about Chemistry I highly recommend it
January 3, 2007
Rated 5 out of 5
This program is fantastic! I used it at home with my five and seven year olds When I took them out for fast food my five year old looks at the drink cup where it says RB (for root beer) and he says "Is it safe to drink Rubidium?" Unbelievable!! I then used this in a co-op with 5-8 year olds and I had them so excited about doing electron configurations their moms thought I was a scientist Ha! Ha! I know NOTHING about Chemistry Absolutly wonderful program!
October 9, 2006
Rated 5 out of 5
This chemistry curriculum was outstanding It is well written easy to understand and alot of fun I used this with my 3rd 4th and 7th grade students My three year old actually memorized a large portion of the elements by listening to the CD This has been my favorite science curriculum in all my years of homeschooling
May 10, 2006
Rated 5 out of 5
Did your children (students) learn from it what you thought they would? Absolutely My children enjoyed using the materials and demonstrated very good comprehension and retention They transitioned from this to high school level chemistry with surprising ease (and that wasn't even a goal) Did you find it easy to use? Yes!Was the teacher's manual (where applicable) helpful and/or necessary? N/AHow much teacher preparation is necessary? Very littleHow successful were you in using it with multiple age students? VeryHow does it work for various learning styles? GreatIs there any additional information that would have been helpful to have prior to ordering/using it? NoHow does it compare to another similar product? I haven't found anything similar but I wish I could!Is the product a good value (ie was it worth the expense)? Definitely! This is one of the best instructional purchases we've ever made
August 16, 2005

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