Just over a month ago Fiona received her favourite Festivus gift. I bought her a set of four TOPS Chemistry units, complete with the equipment and supplies kits that made them completely self-contained and drop-dead simple to implement in the kitchen. While I’m by nature a scrounger and a make-do-er, I’ve recognized that the little details involved in, say, finding a little household iodine solution are often time-consuming and sometimes delay the implementation of whatever activity someone wants to do. The learning momentum can easily collapse when there are multiple delays.
So we splurged and got the little kits containing ziplocs of common chemicals, test tubes and pipettes. We had some of that stuff, but the package deal was so simple.
We’re both really impressed with the task-oriented teaching in the units. Fiona has just about finished the first of the four units, the one on chemical analysis. It’s described as being suitable for Grades 5-10, and though it’s perfect for Fiona, I think it would be a pretty light-weight program for a high schooler. Still, it’s far more in-depth and sensibly, workably hands-on than similar programs I’ve seen.
Pictured above is her red-cabbage-water indicator at various pHs. From left to right: pH=3 (with vinegar), pH=6 (with a single drop of vinegar) pH=6.5 (straight cabbage water), pH=9 (with kitchen cleanser) and pH=13 (with lye).
TOPScience can be ordered here.