I was wondering how I could incorporate chemistry into my early elementary classes and what some good resources are to use. — G., Montana
Chemistry activities for young children are some of the coolest and most engaging for students. Putting on goggles, using measuring utensils, and mixing substances are what most students think of when they hear the word “scientist.”
Elaborate equipment isn’t required to teach chemistry. Stick with easy, inexpensive “bucket” or “kitchen” chemistry activities. Before you try any activity, practice it and follow all safety precautions. Insist students wear goggles—just like you!
Demonstrations like elephant toothpaste are always a hit with students in all grades, but make sure to incorporate a lesson in the chemistry of what is happening. Ask students to observe carefully, attempt to explain what they see and ask questions.
While demos are exciting nothing beats hands-on activities. Slime or crystals are great. You can find many recipes that your students can experiment with. There are inquiry activities like, “What dissolves and what doesn’t?” in which you can really give students a chance to follow their own paths – making observations all the way.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) has developed several free, online and hands-on activities for elementary classrooms including Adventures in Chemistry (https://bit.ly/2eoKxcI) and
Science Activities for the Classroom (https://bit.ly/2HPY8HM).
And I particularly like the Janice VanCleave books for the multitudes of experiments! NSTA Recommends includes reviews of several of her books at www.nsta.org/recommends.
Hope this helps!
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