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H2 + 1/2 O2 —–> H2O

Filed at 10:04 pm under by dcobranchi

The American Chemical Society has a really good piece on home education in the latest edition of C&E News.

More parents are also deciding to homeschool their children beyond middle school, and as they do so, they are discovering that the availability of already prepared chemistry curricula is quite limited. The situation is especially challenging for secular homeschoolers, who say there are virtually no secular high school chemistry curricula out there for the homeschooling community.

The market is slowly responding to these trends, and several high school chemistry curricula that cater to a diverse audience of homeschoolers now are in development. In addition to helping families teach the fundamental concepts of chemistry, these curricula address an important practical question: How do you carry out lab experiments that are challenging and informative yet safe to be carried out in the home?

The piece then goes on to talk about the Christian chemistry curricula including BJU’s (which I haven’t seen) and Jay Wile’s (which I really don’t like). And then they move back to the secular:

Several educators indeed are working on chemistry curricula that could be used by homeschoolers regardless of their beliefs. During the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago last month, symposium organizer and homeschooling mom Frankie K. Wood-Black, who is director of compliance decree coordination at ConocoPhillips, in Houston, described a homeschool chemistry text that she is developing with her brother-in-law. The text takes an inquiry-based approach, where each section begins with a lab experiment followed by an explanation of the scientific concepts. “It’s a whole different approach to teaching the subject,” she says. She envisions the final product as looking more like a lab manual than a traditional chemistry textbook.

Wood-Black’s labs will be based on green chemistry, an approach that reduces or eliminates the use and generation of hazardous substances. With its nontoxic chemicals, green chemistry is becoming an increasingly popular approach to doing chemistry experiments safely in the home.

Sally Henrie, a chemistry professor at Union University, a Southern Baptist school in Jackson, Tenn., is another educator working to integrate green chemistry into homeschool chemistry curricula. Several years ago, she and two of her undergraduate students developed a green chemistry lab manual for high school students. Some faculty members at Union who homeschool their kids learned about Henrie’s manual and asked her to adapt it for homeschoolers. She agreed and is now looking for a business partner to help her bring the product to market.

Her lab manual includes experiments such as determining the percentage of hydrogen peroxide in a solution using carrot juice and the ideal gas law. The manual also includes a lab on calculating the calories in a variety of junk foods. She envisions that her lab kits would come in a box and include all the necessary chemicals and equipment, which could be supplemented with materials found around the house.

I’m available for beta testing.

H/T: D

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Most people never even think to homeschool their children which is surprising knowing how beneficial homeschooling is. You can find great homeschooling resources online that make homeschooling your children much easier.

7 Responses to “H2 + 1/2 O2 —–> H2O”


Comment by
Meg
April 27th, 2007
at 12:09 am

You know, we did chemistry last year using Prentice Hall’s text by Wilbraham et al. We used their micro-lab manual and got the supplies through Home Science Tools. Worked pretty darn well for me. I’d have to check, but we did about 2 dozen or plus labs. It seemed to cover the basics.


Comment by
Jill
April 27th, 2007
at 7:48 am

Oh I am SO there!! Please, please let me be among the first to try this out! My kid is only 8, but I have been looking for a great secular science curriculum for years (guess what I do for a living? LOL)

I get C&E magazine too, I must have overlooked or not read this edition yet.

Thanks!


Comment by
Audrey
April 27th, 2007
at 7:38 pm

Daryl, I would be very interested to get your review of Wile’s curriculum.


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
April 27th, 2007
at 8:05 pm

I taught a co-op chemistry class for a Christian umbrella school several years ago. They wanted to use Wile’s book. I looked it over and found it riddled with errors in some of the most basic concepts.

I refused to teach the class if I had to use that book. It was that bad.


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
April 27th, 2007
at 8:07 pm

BTW, I got an email today from Frankie Wood-Black. Her text should be ready by this Fall. I’ll try to cadge a review copy.


Comment by
Lillian
April 28th, 2007
at 9:57 am

Or maybe five or six review copies? The more beta testers the better!

Alex is most likely going to do his lab science at the county college, because it’s just so much easier than trying to pull it all together myself.


Comment by
Carole in DE
May 1st, 2007
at 3:33 pm

I’d love to beta test it!

My oldest will be doing chemistry this coming year; 10th grade; love to have a review copy too. I’ve been searching for a secular text and figured he’d have to go the cc route.