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Christian Kids Explore Chemistry Review

11/03/2009
I love science. In fact, it is my favorite subject. So I was thrilled to be able to review another product by Bright Ideas Press: Christian Kids Explore Chemistry. In CKEC you will find:
  • 30 Lessons in five units
  • Hands-On Activities: including making model atoms, breaking covalent bonds, and making gas expand
  • Chemistry Terms, Notations, and Rules
  • Unit Reviews
  • Supplemental Book List
  • Coloring pages
CKEC is geared towards grades 4 – 8, is 384 pages and is priced at $29.95. The questions from the book are also available for download for $12.95. When I first skimmed through this book, I liked what I saw and was excited to get started. Here is a peek at what to expect with this book:
  1. Introduction to Chemistry, Chemistry Tools, Matter, Elements, Mixtures and Compounds
  2. Atoms, Atomic Number, Atomic Mass, Periodic Table, Molecules
  3. Chemical Bonds, More Chemical Bonds, Formulas, Naming Compounds, Reactions, Acids, Bases, Salts
  4. Solids and Liquids, Gases, Gas Laws, State Change, Solutions
  5. Hydrocarbons, Alkanes, Alkenes, Alkynes, AlcOHols, Esters, Biochemistry
From our first few lessons:
Completing a "Hands On" assignment from lesson 2.
Lesson 3 was especially cool, because it tied in nicely with our study of Creation (God created matter and energy on day 1). We learned that everything in this physical world can be placed into two categories: matter or energy.
We talked about states of matter (solid, liquid and gas) and properties of matter (such as color, odor, taste, etc.) and did an experiment to figure out a way to separate salt that was mixed with sand (ours happened to be blue). We added water to the salt/sand mixture to dissolve the salt and then poured the mixture into a filter lined funnel to filter out the sand.
Mixing the salt and sand in water.
Separating salt from sand.
My Thoughts:
The lessons are enjoyable, quick and easily done in one day. My kids enjoyed the reading and answering the questions. However, I did not like that the questions from the book are not easy to photocopy. They are spread over two pages with text from the lesson. BIP does offer a download with just the questions, but I felt that they should be included in the price of the book. Other science curriculums offer free notebooking pages and I was not willing to spend the additional money. So, I just typed up the questions from the book for our own personal use. However, I felt like this took a lot of time just for our use. So, I thought to make my own notebooking pages and questions to go along with this study, so that I could share them. But as I started reviewing the information to write my questions, it seemed confusing to me. For example, in lesson 3, it introduces matter and mentions atoms, but not elements (although elements is in the definition of atom). But, then the Hands On is about compounds (which have not been introduced yet at all). I found the information to be a bit confusing and out of place.
There is a yahoo group for the Christian Kid's Explore Series (there is a Physics, Earth and Space and Biology book in this series). While the group has 541 members, it was not very active at all. I am on another science group and there is a lot of enthusiasm and support and it is very evident that the people there love that series. That group is very active and very helpful. I just didn't find this at the Christian Kid's Explore group.
If I didn't have to make my own pages, I probably would have liked this more. It takes me at least an hour to make them (including pre-reading the lesson). I like it enough to keep using it, but I would look around a little more if I had to buy it.
See other crew member reviews of Bright Idea Press products, or click on the banner below to visit the Crew Blog.
I received this product for free in exchange for my review. I offer my honest opinion. See my disclosure policy for more information.

2 comments:

Kathy said...

I just finished a prep session for our science and then happened upon your review. We have done no chemistry to date, so I found your review helpful and interesting. Blessings!

Andi said...

I see where making notebook pages would be a time "taker"....we have a couple of curricula from BIP - haven't used them yet, but this review will help keep my eyes open. :)Thanks

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