By Amy Pass, MHA Board Secretary

Are you in search of a quality beginning chemistry curriculum? Afraid to tackle chemistry with your kids? Worried about the cost of chemistry curriculum? Then this post is for you!

The week that we finished Middle School Chemistry from middleschoolchemistry.com at our house, I wrote the following review:

 

I cannot say enough good things about this curriculum. It’s totally FREE, but that it’s nearly the best part. Middle School Chemistry was written by chemists, who clearly know the science, love it, and know how to teach it. Texts, labs, and animations are all available on the website in a clear sequence. Lessons reinforce and build one after another. My daughter remembers things from the very beginning of the year because the concepts continue to be reinforced throughout the curriculum. Concepts that eluded me in college suddenly made sense to me as we went through the material. The text does not talk down to kids. It isn’t silly or dumbed-down, yet it grabs the attention. The lessons all end with take-it-further labs and questions that relate the text and labs to real life situations.

 

The book is available for free download. Lessons include activity sheets, simple animation videos, labs and assessments. The lessons are lab-based, meaning that students learn by doing. Every Single Experiment we have tried from this curriculum has been successful, which is not something I’ve been able to say for other science lessons I’ve found online.

 

And it wasn’t hard. I’m serious. Chemistry is often considered the most difficult and esoteric of the sciences. Middle School Chemistry laid it all out in such a simple and straightforward way that it was almost impossible NOT to understand. It teaches all the correct vocabulary and concepts (checked with my chemistry teacher husband on this one) using language and explanations that you don’t have to be a scientist to understand. After learning chemistry this way, though, a person could easily move on to become a scientist, having been taught the appropriate language in an understandable way!

 

Here’s a sampling from our very first week:

We made thermometers and learned about molecules in motion…

 

We made rain and frost…in lessons about evaporation, condensation, sublimation, deposition…

 

We watched alcohol, water, and oil separate out into three layers in our lessons about density…

 

And here’s our set-up for “solving for an unknown substance” several lessons later…

Lab set-up to solve for an “unknown” substance

Can you tell what the unknown substance is?

Hats off to the American Chemical Society for a fabulous curriculum!