Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Science for High School- Chemistry *Review

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I have two students in high school this year, 9th and 11th grade. They are getting a little tired of the curriculum we currently have, which is cd rom based, and quite frankly rather boring. 
Science for High School looked like a great place to start for my 11th graders High School Chemistry in Your Home class. 

This chemistry class is a 25 week program, including a lab for each week. We organized to work through the book on Monday through Wednesday, leaving Thursday for the lab and Friday for a test. It worked out wonderfully by doing it this way. You can also schedule it for say a Monday, Wednesday, Friday structure just with more to do each day. 

The pages work best in a 3 ring binder and include a notebook for taking additional notes while researching questions. 

This is not a 'spoon fed' chemistry type of class. Typical science books I have run across have a chapter worth of information that you read through and then maybe answer a few questions and take a quiz. This book is proactive in the student searching out the information. They are given a list of questions and suggestions for websites to find the answers. They are in a sense teaching themselves rather than reading it in a dry book form. Having to take the time to research and find the information gives them additional skills in finding out and learning how to use the internet for finding the answers as well. 

My son wasn't so sure about this concept as he is used to reading the information and then answering the questions. He felt it wasn't really a teaching book as he was doing 'all of the work himself'. The questions however are leading ones that would take a science teacher to ask in the first place, so it is teaching, just in a different style of learning. It works wonderfully for the self led student, with very little need for the teacher. He started to get in the swing of things and would often holler from the computer room to share with me some information he found. He has always liked the sciences and I so want to keep it that way by providing exciting curriculum for him to use. 

The labs do take some planning. We actually chose to purchase the lab kit along with an alcohol burner because we didn't have anything at all chemistry related and knew it would be much easier for us to simply choose the correct bag labeled for the lab. Down side is that not everything is included in the lab kit so there was still some things we had to gather. The lab kit did tell us what we needed to get other than what the kit provided, and they were all easy to find, just took some pre-planning. I found the lab kit to be helpful in some of those harder to find things like the chemicals that are being used. If you have already done a chemistry program with another book you may have some of those on hand already.

 There are some great skills taught in the labs, beginning with safety and observations. Here my son is wafting the smell of the ammonia, not to directly smell the chemicals. Also heating with the alcohol burner with the tet tube pointed away from you, as it will tend to boil out.

I didn't find any of the labs to be too hard for my son, nor too explosive or 'scarey'! They were fun and quite a variety of things to work with. When we used the CD program we tended to skip over some of the labs because we didn't have the ingredients and we were bored with the information. With Science for High School, the labs are a great highlight at the end of the week after all of the information is gathered. It felt like he was definitely learning more this way.

The Chemistry book sells for $79.99 and includes a Teacher and Student manual. The teacher manual gives all of the answer to the questions. I needed that for sure as chemistry isn't my strong suit! It is recommended for 11th or 12 grade because of some of the math principles. If your student is strong in math however you can use this for 9th or 10th as well.

Science for High School also has Physcial Science and Biology manuals. I am seriously considering using the Physical Science for my 9th grader, to get him on the path to loving science and having the opportunity to 'dig in' more.

See what some of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of all three science programs by clicking the banner below.


1 comment:

  1. Chemistry was always my toughest subject so when the time comes for my kids to enter into chemistry great to have material that can help them.