AJ’s favorite subject has always been science. She loves to figure things out, complete experiments, and just learn all about the world. Currently her goal is to become a veterinarian, so we know that she will need to take as many science and math courses as possible in high school. The only problem we have is that she is not a kid who learns by reading out of a book. She needs to see things and do things to understand a concept.
AJ will be starting high school next year, so we have been looking for a good science course for her. I had not found a course that I really loved. Then we were given the opportunity to review Chemistry 101 from The 101 Series. It was exactly what we were looking for!
What is Chemistry 101
Chemistry 101 is a high school level chemistry course that is Christian based. Each lesson is taught in video form by Wes Olson. The videos are interesting to watch and packed full of information. There are 19 different video segments that range from 20 to 45 minutes long. There are almost 11 hours of video.
The Road to the Periodic Table
This section has eight video lessons that take you from the very beginning of chemistry to the basics of the periodic table. He goes into a lot of history and explains how some scientific terms got their names. This is the longest section of the course. I expected AJ to find some of the background information boring, but she didn’t. The way that Wes explains a topic is perfect. It is easy to see that he is very knowledgeable and that he enjoys science.
This section has five videos. It goes into the main parts of chemistry; neutrons, isotopes, ions, compounds, molecules, and balancing equations. Going in to this review, this section was the one I was worried about. AJ has not gotten this far in the course, but I went through and watched a few of these lessons. I was impressed! Each topic is explained completely. It takes the some what confusing parts about chemistry and makes them easy to understand.
This isn’t a math heavy course. The way he explains how to balance chemical equations is simple but can be applied to more difficult equations in the future.
Meet the Elements
This section has four videos. In these videos you learn more about the elements on the periodic table. This section continues to review concepts from the previous lessons while diving deeper into the qualities that pertain to different groups of elements on the periodic table.
This section has two videos. In them you will learn about how science has been used for the good and bad and what scientists are currently working on. It is amazing to think that these little atoms can do so much harm or good in the world.
The great part about this program is that it can be used in a few different ways. Your student can simply watch the videos to gain a great deal of information on the topics. They can use the videos as review or to prepare for an advanced Chemistry course, or it can be taken further. Included with the DVD is a 122 page PDF Guidebook. This is optional, but it really takes the course a step further. The Guidebook has additional information about each video. It includes quizzes, discussion questions, and other useful information. There is also a a 23 page Accreditation Booklet. The Accreditation Booklet has additional activities that the student can do to make this a full high school Chemistry course. It includes reports, experiments, field trip ideas, and more.
One thing I appreciated about this course is that you don’t need any crazy materials to complete the course. I know a lot of programs say that they use everyday household products, but this one really does. For the entire course the only things I will need to get are some copper wire and some dry ice. Every other experiment requires things I either have or can very easily pick up at the grocery store.
How We Used Chemistry 101
We decided to complete the program using the Accreditation Booklet. Each video section should take about two weeks to watch the video and complete the other work. It is taking AJ a little bit longer to do each section because she is not use to researching and writing so many reports. Writing is her weakest subject, and it takes her a little longer to do. For the first section she had to write two 200 word reports and complete two experiments along with starting her Chemistry notebook.
Here is her report on Distillation.
All About Distillation
Distillation was started by Greek alchemists in the first century ad. Distilled water has been around since at least the year 200 ad.
Distillation is a process where liquid is separated from other substances. It is done by heating the liquid to a point where it evaporates. When it evaporates the liquid turns into a gas. Then the gas is cooled down and condenses back into a liquid. The substances end up separated.
Distillation is not a natural occurring process. It takes place in a laboratory.
In the process of distillation the part of the mixture that is more volatile, or the part that is easier to turn to vapor, is separated from the other substances. The liquid with a lower boiling point will evaporate first.
Distillation can be used to separate salt water into water and salt. It can be used to take germs and other things out of drinking water. It can turn harmful water into safe drinking water, lowering the chances of diseases and plagues. Another use of distillation is taking fuels like gasoline and separating them from crude oil. When you think about it, distillation is really useful and helpful.
AJ is enjoying this course. Often she will space out when watching videos if she finds them boring, but that hasn’t been the case with this program. After each lesson she is able to easily answer all of the questions on the quiz. She is learning a lot and enjoying the process.
I think that I will end up adding a few additional experiments on the weeks when there aren’t any scheduled. I will also probably have her balance more equations than the course provides in order to give her more practice. Other than that we will use this course as written. I plan to purchase the Biology 101 and Physics 101 programs in the future.
If you have a student who learns better by watching and doing than by reading a book, this might be exactly what you are looking for. Chick on the graphic below to see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought.