Science Friday

Styrofoam cups plus acetone equals neat sticky gel


For the past few months, my older son and two friends have met most Fridays to do science, often chemistry.  My son’s interest in chemistry began last summer as a preoccupation with the composition of fireworks.   The more he discovered about the  loud, flashy chemical reactions, the greater his interest in the science behind other reactions.  Christmas brought him a chemistry set, and the mail brings him chemical catalogues.  Finding a new friend who is taking a chemistry class at the local high school fueled his passion for all things stinky, loud, and flammable, which may be about as good as it gets for a 12.5 year-old boy. 

Dangereous? You bet. Well labeled? Yup. Ours? Nope. These goodies belong to our chem buddy.


They’ve smelted brass, reacted lithium with hydrochloric acid, created black powder, and much more.  They’re weighing compounds and calculating molarity.  They’re diluting solutions and titrating acids and bases.  They are using pipettes and burettes and filtering mixtures.  They appreciate the need to neutralize before disposing of a strong acid or base and consider how to handle potentially hazardous materials  They’re intimately familiar with the periodic table, acquiring knowledge of the groups of elements and their characteristics.  Like I mentioned, they’re learning real chemistry. 

It’s a bit messy on Fridays, and it’s not 100% safe.  But life is a messy experience, and risk surrounds us.  So let’s live and learn with enthusiasm and a bit of flash.  But do wear your goggles and shoes. 



5 thoughts on “Science Friday

  1. This is awesome, Sarah! The joy of learning is apparent here; it’s the spark we all hope our kids get at points throughout their education.

  2. Hey Sarah,

    That is way cool way to do science. Sounds totally awesome! How lucky to have a like minded science buddy to share the love of science with….

    And I love the MCT reviews. Thanks for taking the time and effort to do it…I don’t think there is such a detailed review anywhere out there. I have been away from MCT after Online G3 came along…Jaime does all the hard work:) I think it is wayyyy too structured to my taste:)

    We are looking forward to Reno and travels this summer. Will we be meeting by any chance???


    • It’s an awesome (although occasionally nerve-wracking) way to do science! I’m glad these guys have each other, and I’m relieved to have their moms as friends. It works all the way around.

      Thanks for the praise on the MCT reviews. They were a delight to write and hit the classical homeschooling board associated with Well-Trained Mind (I love being able to track where my hits come from!). Anyway, the review made the rounds, spreading the word about a fantastic writing curriculum. Online 3G looks great, but I’m not willing to farm out my MCT time with my kids at this point. As for the academic writing class MCT himself teaches, I’m thinking of signing up my older for that this fall.

      I wish we were heading to Reno, but it’s just not in the cards (or the budget) this summer. If you ever find your way to Michigan, let me know. I’d love to meet you and yours.

  3. Pingback: A Spring Break of Sorts « Quarks and Quirks

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