Ruth is doing IGCSE Chemistry – aiming to sit it next January. She prefers working with some others so we have teamed up with Sam and Albie to work through it and some others are joining in as well.
We’re approaching it in a different way to other exams – Maths was weekly tutorials and Environmental Management was broad understanding followed by 6 weeks of mega revision with loads and loads of exam papers. This time we have been inspired by Grits and her blog assignments for her children. So Sam and I are writing weekly blog posts – based on the IGCSE chemistry book and various websites. The aim is a chapter a week, working through the questions and viewing the material in interactive ways on-line. We are then getting together every so often to do some practical experiments.
Today was the first day of practical activities.
Firstly we needed to set up the “lab”. Partly in the kitchen, with a hotch-potch of chemistry equipment borrowed and some everyday items,
and partly in the garden (failing to have a fume cupboard and needing instead a “well ventilated room”).
We do have a real bunsen burner and a borrowed tripod, even a proper beaker and test-tube, but no clamp-stand – a handy microphone stand did the job nicely!
The kids arrived and this being home-ed they ranged in age from 10 to 15 and some of them are planning to do the exam, some are just following along for fun and some are the brothers of the people doing the course. We did some demonstrations togtether then in groups did some more while the others did some card-sort activities, demonstration on the relative size on an atom etc.etc. If you want to see the experiments we did you can have a look at the blog post.
Some of the things we did were:
mixtures and compounds – using sulphur and iron filings
Our first effort at showing diffusion in a liquid using some rather illicit Lead Nitrate and Potassium Iodide
The second effort worked much better and gave some spectacularly sparkly results
We used a mix of kitchen equipment and lab stuff, so this was speed of diffusion of a drop of food colouring in water of different temperatures.
We had a go at making elephant toothpaste but ours wasn’t anywhere near as spectacular as the ones you can find on you-tube – I will have to have more attempts to see if I can do better – anyway it illustrated what a catalyst was.
And here are some shots of the theory – should the LA ever need to see a bit of evidence that we do actually do something!
And then when most people had gone home Martin went and smashed the bouncing egg at the bottom of the garden.