Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Candle & Some Chemistry


I had not planned on studying chemistry this year but late in summer one of our homeschool moms opened up a Chemistry Club co-op.  My oldest was just perfect for this mostly middle school group.  The group has met about once a month and are working through the Thames and Cosmos Chem 500 kit.  The group could also choose to read a few suggested titles; among them was Michael Farraday's The Chemical History of a Candle.  I chose to save this small six lecture volume for our Advent/Winter focus time.  The title and theme just seemed so fitting; and, honestly, I didn't want to overwhelm my sixth grader with physics and chemistry at the same time.

The language might just be a bit challenging at first but I do think an advanced sixth grader or mom reading the book can handle it.  I started helping her in the beginning but before I knew it she asked me not to.  She just occasionally will ask about a term or word.  She just finished lecture one today and already I feel she has picked up a lot about chemical reactions and terminology.  Today she was thrilled to light up a candle and observe the beginning of a wick burning.  The best part was putting combustible vapor theory to practice.  That's when you blow the fire on a candle and the smoke you see carries enough vapor to cause a combustion with a nearby flame that will turn the candle back on.  It really works!   The boys had us repeat this several times ; )


We might just get through one more lecture before we start our next official term.  I'll let her decide if she wants to add another science to our Secrets of the Universe.  I have a feeling she will ; )  I can assure you she doesn't look at our traditional lighting of the Advent candles in the same way.

3 comments:

Melissa said...

What a neat time to do a short series of lessons like that...

Jennifer Gregory Miller said...

Neat, Jenny! I see that this is free for Kindle, too, so I can preview it for my sons! Thanks!

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Jennifer, I thought of you while I was downloading classics on my daughters kindle over the weekend. It's fun to find OOP books you can get reasonably priced and even free!!