Chemistry for Kids course
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why Chemistry? Chemistry is the central science. Whether you are a geologist studying a volcano, a doctor working to cure a disease, or an engineer designing a stronger building, to understand what’s really happening, you have to get down to the molecules and bonds. You have to understand the chemistry.
Unfortunately, chemistry is rarely offered at the elementary or middle school level and a fear or intimidation of the topic prevents many people from pursuing science. But students can meet and explore the main concepts of chemistry long before high school and college. We’ve created a fun class to empower elementary-aged students with knowledge and prepare them to dive deeper into every branch of science. (And we hope that our approach will help parents and teachers overcome concerns that they don’t “know enough” to introduce their students to science.)
Is there a textbook? Each lesson has doodle notes where students can fill in information as they listen. Click here to preview the syllabus, supply list, and notes for the first three weeks.
Which NGSS standards are you covering?
- 4-PS3-2: Energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
- 4-PS3-4: Design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
- 4-PS4-3: Compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information.
- 4-LS1-1: Plants and animals have internal structures that support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
- 4-ESS1-1: Patterns in rock formations and fossils support changes in a landscape over time.
- 4-ESS3-1: Energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
- 4-ESS3-2: Compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
- 5-PS1-1: Matter is made of particles too small to be seen.
- 5-PS1-2: Conservation of matter.
- 5-PS1-3: Use observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.
- 5-PS1-4: Chemical reactions.
- 5-PS3-1: Photosynthesis: Energy in animals’ food was once energy from the sun.
- 5-LS1-1: Photosynthesis: Plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
- 5-LS2-1: Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
The description says these lessons are interactive. What exactly does this mean? Are these Zoom meetings? The lessons are taught live with a chat. There is no face-to-face interaction (no Zoom meeting) but moderators are available in real time to answer questions in the chat. Science Mom and Math Dad do a live Q&A segment during each show. There are also polls during the livestream where the participants answer questions.
What supplies are needed? You can see a full supply list in our notes. There are 8 recommended hands-on activities throughout the course. You can see a quick visual of the supplies for each of these activities below. Supplies are not included in the price of registration, and it's not required that you do each of the at-home activities. If there are some supplies that you are unable to find, we provide ideas for substitutions. It's also perfectly okay to watch us demo the activity and then save it for another time when it fits your schedule better.
What if fewer than 500 people register? The class will run privately and only be available to registered participants.
What if more than 500 people register? Does that mean that I paid for the class but other people get it for free? Yes! Because of your support, the Tuesday/Thursday lessons will be available for families who are struggling with unemployment or don’t have the ability to invest $150 in their child’s education. The Friday demos and gameshow reviews will only be accessible for registered participants and scholarship winners.
Would this work for my 2nd grader / 7th grader? Our target audience is 4th and 5th graders and their teachers. We’re going out of our way (sometimes creatively) to include 4th and 5th-grade NGSS standards and running our lessons by a few 10-year-olds we know to get their feedback. Having said that, we’re presenting things in a fun and dynamic way that will appeal to science enthusiasts of many ages. If your child enjoyed our QuaranTIME lessons, chances are good that they’ll enjoy this course. Since we are going deeper than the science material typically covered in 4th 5th grade (most curricula don’t introduce chemistry until high school), the course would be a good fit for many middle school students as well.
When is it, and how long is it? 10 a.m. Pacific (1 pm Eastern) each Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The length is 45 minutes. The class runs Sept 1-Dec 4, 2020.
What if I can’t watch it live? We record each lesson! You can watch it any time after the fact.
Who are you and what are your qualifications? Science Mom (Jenny Ballif) has a bachelor’s degree in crop science with a minor in Chemistry and a master’s degree in plant science with an emphasis in molecular biology. Math Dad (Serge Ballif) has a PhD in mathematics and is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Nevada State College. Science Mom and Math Dad have extensive experience teaching. Science Mom has presented engaging in-person science lessons to more than a thousand elementary school classrooms.
How is the class structured? The general format for each Tuesday Thursday lesson is as follows:
- 0 - 5 minutes: Question of the day to introduce the topic, followed by a welcome and quick orientation.
- 5 - 15 minutes: a story-based lecture that answers the question and lays the framework for the demonstration.
- 15 - 25 minutes: interactive poll with several questions where those who are watching live can vote. Math Dad will likely interject some jokes or a song in this area - although it won’t be the song we all know the words to. ;) He’s working on some chemistry-themed jingles.
- 25 - 35 minutes: engaging science demonstration.
- 35 - 45 minutes: element riddle and Q&A (Questions would be a combination of ones that were submitted in advance and ones moderators selected from the chat.) Quick review of notes and prompt for at-home activity (if applicable).
Note: Every few weeks we will have a "chemistry in real life" lesson that will focus on how chemistry plays a role in some specific applicable topic. During these segments we will have a "spot the fallacy" activity instead of the fact or fiction style poll questions. It will feature a combination of legitimate advice mixed with quackery-style claims or short “hacks” like putting soda pop into a burnt pan and seeing it wipe away clean afterwards - is that real or fake? If real, what’s the chemistry going on? These sections will help kids learn critical thinking and the ability to recognize a snake oil salesman or digital trickery when they see it, particularly if some of the basic claims run completely counter to basic science.