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Teaching Chemistry at Home

July 01, 2015 4 min read

Teaching Chemistry at Home | Tips from Elemental Science

Last month I shared about how to teach my least favorite area of science – physics. This month, I get to share about my favorite scientific discipline – chemistry!!

I had several teachers along the way who really instilled a passion for chemistry deep into my heart. And my goal has been to do the same for my children.

Chemistry is the area of science that brings out the mad scientist in us all. It is super fun and slightly dangerous, which typically makes it an early favorite in high school. The problem is that many students get frustrated with trying to nail down the concepts while learning how to balance equations and deciphering the math behind chemistry. 

As I said last month, I believe that teaching subjects like chemistry BEFORE high school is critical to our students’ success with the subjects when they get there. This foundation allows them to focus on learning the challenging material, rather than wrestling with the basics.

This month, I wanted to share a brief picture of how you can teach the principles of chemistry to your students before they reach the high school years. You can use these ideas to help you create or choose a homeschool science curriculum.

Teaching Chemistry at Home

Check out these tips for teaching chemistry at home!

Chemistry with Preschoolers

Chemistry in preschool – is that really possible? Yes, it is!

You won’t be balancing any equations or tackling any formulas, but you can introduce basic principles through hands-on demonstrations. You can teach a simple chemistry unit that covers topics like:

  • Crystals
  • Solids and Liquids
  • Density
  • Solutions

You can use simple activities, like adding water to juice and tasting the difference, to show these concepts in action. You can also have the students memorize a simple sentence that explains the concept in a language they can relate to.

Chemistry with a preschooler will be short, sweet, and loads of science fun!

Chemistry with Elementary Students

Chemistry during the elementary years will be very hands-on with a bit of age-appropriate reading to help flesh out the simpler concepts.

You can explore the principles of chemistry through hands-on demonstrations that display the concepts in action. You can also read more about these principles in age-appropriate encyclopedias or living books.

You can spend three to four weeks cover topics like:

  • States of Matter
  • Atoms and Elements
  • Molecules and Compounds
  • Solutions and Mixtures
  • The Periodic Table
  • Density

You and your student can make ice cream as you explore the principles of solutions and changes in state. They will learn a ton as the see the concepts of chemistry on display in front of them.

Chemistry with an elementary student will explore the principles in a practical hands-on way.

Chemistry with Middle School Students

Middle school students can dig deeper into the principles of chemistry they saw during the elementary years and add on a few more. They can also begin to use some of the basics of balancing formulas and naming compounds.

You can teach your student to play with the principles of chemistry through inquiry-based experiments. You can also have them read and write about what they have learned.

In your students, you can cover concepts like:

  • Elements, Atoms, and Ions
  • The Periodic Table (Groups and Relationships)
  • Molecules and Compounds
  • Solutions and Mixtures
  • Separating Mixtures
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Changes in State
  • Acids and Bases
  • Alcohols
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Polymers
  • Density

For example, the students could learn more about mixtures and how to separate them through a chromatography experiment.

Chemistry with a middle school student will reinforce the principles through inquiry-based methods.

Chemistry with High School Students

If you have taught chemistry at home throughout the elementary and middle school years, your students will have a good grasp of the fundamental principles.

Now, they can pick up that textbook and tackle the more abstract principles, learn how to balance the harder redox reactions, and use those challenging formulas without getting bogged down by the basics.

If you teach chemistry from the beginning, your student will be prepared and maybe even a little bit excited to learn about chemistry when they reach high school!

This article was written by our author, Paige Hudson. You can also find her mixing up solutions for homeschool science at Elemental Blogging. If you want to receive more articles just like this, plus our monthly discounts, sign up for our newsletter in the box below or click here.

Need Some Ideas for Teaching Chemistry at Home?

Check out our Chemistry Pinterest Board for ideas for activities:

Follow Elemental Science 's board Chemistry Science Projects on Pinterest. 

Or check out the following Elemental Science programs with easy-to-use plans for teaching chemistry:

Don't miss the other posts in this series:

Over the last year, we have been sharing tips and ideas for teaching the various disciplines of science at home. Here's a look at the complete series:

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