Wednesday, December 5, 2018

CK-12 Biology Chapter 2: The Chemistry of Life

The kids and I are using CK-12's 9th/10th grade Biology textbook as the spine for this year's biology curriculum--for Will, this will be recorded as Honors Biology on her transcript.

In addition to that textbook, we're using The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments as our lab manual, and of course we've got a plethora of other reading/viewing/listening resources and hands-on activities to enrich our study.

The kids read chapter 2 in sections, completing the questions at the end of each section. At the end of the chapter, they took the test (from the CK-12 Biology Quizzes and Tests book) with an open book. 

We had the most fun with Section 2.1: Matter and Organic Compounds--there's a lot of good, meaty, hands-on stuff in this section!

Along with the textbook, we used the following resources:

We have a few hands-on activities already kicking around the house that we used: a PTOE puzzle that was a Christmas gift several years ago, and that we assembled as part of our family time for a few evenings in a row, and this DIY PTOE game, "Quick Six," that the kids and I constructed some other time when we were studying chemistry. Whenever it was, the kids did really fine work on it, with all the illustrations neatly colored in, and I'm glad that we kept it on our games shelf all this time.

For memory work and reference, I printed a one-page Periodic Table for the kids to color and put in their science notebooks, and I printed a giant, multi-page, full-color Periodic Table that I taped together and put on the wall of the playroom.

We covered the section's study of organic compounds by building molecules using our Zometools set, and testing for organic compounds in food:

This was a crazy, elaborate, challenging experiment that they're probably not doing in a lot of other sixth grade classrooms, but the kids loved it, and I think we'll repeat it again when we get to our biology's chapters on human biology.

For Section 2.2, Biochemical Reactions, I set up this process-oriented experimentation with exothermic reactions, loosely based on this experiment, for the kids:

We've done lots of exothermic reactions before, including with lye, potassium nitrate and sugar, and the ubiquitous hydrogen peroxide with potassium iodide as a catalyst, so the kids were familiar enough with this activity that I really could set it up as a process-oriented exploration. If your kids, unlike mine, haven't gone through several stages of obsession with homemade exothermic reactions, you could mediate this as a more guided experience.

Section 2.3: Water, Acids, and Bases, was also a review--we've done pH chemistry over and over and over again since the kids were preschoolers. I gave the kids some of our collection of pH test strips (you can also use this red cabbage pH indicator), and set them to work testing and recording the pH of a dozen or so substances each:

Good times.

This felt like a big chapter, with what felt like four big concepts to cover. As always, I do a lot more research than I do assigning, so here are suitable activities that we could have--but didn't--complete for this chapter:

And now, on to cells!

No comments: