While chemistry is not a favorite subject with everyone, a capable teacher can at least make it interesting for students. All the while she will discern which of her students will be more keenly aware of the possibilities for fun in experimenting with chemistry. Chemistry is all around us and we need look no further than in kitchens, in gardens, and in homes for an abundance of ideas on science projects. Teachers and parents know this and before the eight years of elementary school is finished, all children will have been introduced to a host of chemicals they use every day that keeps them healthy, that keeps them clean, that keeps them learning.
To give structure and credibility to this article I searched the internet for directions. I looked first for those projects that would be fun and would be relatively easy to incorporate into classrooms. It is one thing to do an experiment on a table in your own home basement and quite another to do an experiment with twenty children in a classroom.
Of the two online sites dealing with children and science class room subjects used for this article, the one standing out as the most helpful with ideas needed to shape this article into a constructive elementary classroom paper on an introduction to chemistry, was Greening Schools. They have several listings for schools from kindergarten all the way through high school. Of the samplings listed for the elementary grades were the following:
Acid (and base) rainbows are classroom lesson plans offered to teachers that teach the children about soil types. It uses ph paper and red cabbage juice to show the acidity or lack of it. This is a standard lesson plan from the state of Colorado. A similar experiment is one that test for Soil Chemicals. These are individual kits that show the different kinds of soil by sight, by touch and by chemically testing.
'Chemistry Keeps us Clean' is another classroom experiment that teaches all about soap, soap bubbles, and other soap related activities. It is available on a 12 page pdf file. This is a separate plan from 'Release the Grease', a classroom teaching plan that teaches about the properties of soap. A similar plan 'If Mixing is Urgent, Try Detergent', shows how to get water and grease or oil to mix.
The little girls will love this one: It's called 'Lipstick'. They learn how to make lipstick from crayons. Truthfully, I don't think is so original. I remember rubbing my lips with crayons many, many, years ago and telling myself it was lipstick. My aunt insisted that all I was doing was bruising my lips and making them appear redder. Possibly girls now have more knowledge at their disposal and they can add or take away something that will indeed prove to be a first cosmetic.
'World water Monitoring Day' is a lesson plan that goes along with a set day in October that sets out to check on the world's water. Teachers request to take part in these lesson plans and they are sent instructions. At least this was for 2004 world water monitoring day.
Other lesson plans are for battery testing, another is 'Chemicals: What's in, What's Out'. This is in a publication that has experiments and checklists about chemicals in use today. 'Chemistry of Everyday Life' is a classroom fact sheet and glossary with power point displays and videos.
For fourth and fifth graders, 'Now You See It, Now You Don't' is a classroom lesson plan that teaches about classifying what's organic and what's inorganic. Also, safety guides are available for school lab safety and much, much more.
CLASSROOM GAMES AND ACTIVITIES:
'A Biosphere in a Bottle' seems a delightful classroom project. The directions are given by this site for creating this living art work. 'Critter Chemistry' is a website for classrooms. It teaches about the animal kingdom and shows how animals and chemistry mix to bring about some amazing feats of specific animals.
There's much more to be found online. One that sounds too good to be true is 'MIT's Chemistry Show'. The students put on a magic show but it's a local production and while very popular with the elementary students, it is only rarely available. Still, it's an idea for the taking and could very easily turn youngsters on to the world of chemistry.
However, a word of caution: Chemistry is nothing to play around with. Safety is one of the first lessons that should be taught. Some chemicals do not mix well. Burns and poisoning and all kind of disasters can happen if wrong ingredients are mixed; or are carelessly used.
Source: http://www.greening.org/resources http://www.mit.edu/chemistry/www/outreach/elementary