Books dealing with science as with history, say, should be of a literary character, and we should probably be more scientific as a people if we scrapped all the text-books which swell publishers’ lists and nearly all the chalk expended so freely on our blackboards.Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Eduction (Vol. 6) p. 218
In our Charlotte Mason co-op, Truth, Beauty, Goodness, our 8th through 11th graders enjoyed a Chemistry course, taught by Heidi Jahnke. Here are the books we used, the experiments we did, and a few science narration journal examples. Perhaps this might help someone who is thinking of putting together their own Chemistry class. Of course, they kept nature notebooks, too!
This class was a delight for the students (and the moms). Some of them clearly fell in love with chemistry and will be pursuing it in higher education. Some of them have no intention of entering into STEM studies in college (like my daughter), yet took part of the ideas and banquet spread before them and were inspired to go beyond to understand things like Lewis dot notations and balancing chemical equations. The periodic table of elements became something that opened new doors of understanding and now all the students can comfortably work with it. The bulk of the class was reading the books, narrating (mostly oral, some written), and working on their science narration journals.
Our co-op meets for 2 semesters, every other week, 6 meetings with a 7th meeting for exams.
The Joy of Chemistry by Cobb and Fetterolf (two-thirds of the book)
Chemistry (Homework Helpers) by Curran (selections)
The Disappearing Spoon (student edition) by Kean (entire text)
The World of Chemistry by Tiner (entire text)
The Elements by Gray (selections)
Martyn Poliakoff’s Periodic Table of Videos on YouTube
BBC Chemistry – A Volatile History (3 episodes on YouTube) – these were optional
EXPERIMENTS (all from The Joy of Chemistry)
Water Witch pg. 43
Coppers And Robbers pg. 53
Stop-and-Go Chemistry pg. 73
Purple Cabbage Indicator pg. 83
Blue Blob pg. 95
Bond. Chemical Bond. pg. 107
Conservation Of Mass (from ideas online)
Layer Upon Layer pg. 131
Concentrating On Color, Salty Dog pg.143
Soda Bottle Crunch pg.151
It’s In The Air pg. 161
How Does Your Garden Grow pg. 175
Hot Packs And Cold Packs pg. 189
Zoned-Out Ice (Read only) pg.201
Boiling Syringe (from ideas online)
All Things Being Equal pg. 219
Antifreeze and Antiboil pg. 233
Kick It Up A Notch pg. 245
This was my 3rd time through Chemistry using Charlotte Mason’s principles. Our classes have been inspired by Kelli’s Science with Living Books.
This post at Charlotte Mason poetry reflects my experiences and rationale with CM science over the past 25 years.
Here is Heidi’s framework for the class.
More posts on our science narration journals can be found here.
I hope this might inspire you in your high school science classes using the Charlotte Mason philosophy!
This scientific attitude of mind should fit us to behave ourselves quietly, think justly, and walk humbly with our God. But we may not confound a glib knowledge of scientific text-books with the patient investigation carried on by ourselves of some one order of natural objects; and it is this sort of investigation, in one direction or another, that is due from each of us. We can only cover a mere inch of the field of Science, it is true; but the attitude of mind we get in our own little bit of work helps us to the understanding of what is being done elsewhere, and we no longer conduct ourselves in this world of wonders like a gaping rustic at a fair.-Charlotte Mason, Ourselves (Vol. 4) p. 101
This is so helpful – thank you so much for sharing it! Is there any possibility of a similar post for Biology or other sciences? Your insights are greatly appreciated!
I am so glad you find it helpful, Cheri! We used something very much like Kelli’s courses and this course on Chemistry each year in TBG. But since we changed things to suit our group, we weren’t thinking about sharing what we did! We used living books for Physics, Biology, Nutrition, Anatomy, Geology, etc. However, we didn’t keep detailed lesson plans that could be shared. We should have. The most I could share is the living books we used in each of these subjects. Perhaps I will get a blog post together of those…
Thank you so much for your speedy reply! I understand! I am currently trying to figure out Biology and hope to work on Physics next. I would love to see anything that you could share in a blog post if that could happen! Also, any additional pictures from high school science notebooks would be great to help give a better idea. We don’t have a local CM community to participate in and we’re so grateful for guidance and ideas found here!
Hi Nancy! Is there any way I can see the lesson plans you used for this course? I’ve had such a difficult time trying to come up with a good high school science course for my son (last year biology, which we struggled through, and now I’m looking for a. chemistry for him). Your books and post sound wonderful! It would be so helpful to see how you split up the readings, videos, labs (and which selections you read in the Chem Homework Helper group), rather than starting from scratch and coming up with everything myself. I wish we had a CM co-op like yours where we live!!!
Hi, Kara! Thanks for your question. I tried to post the framework, but Google was not letting me post it for others to access. Please send an email request to Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send it to you.
Just ran across this & LOVE it! Is there any way I can get the lesson plan for this?
You can find the outline of lesson plans above in the Nota Bene section! (Where it says, “Here is Heidi’s framework for the class.”)
Thank you for sharing, this is inspiring and helpful. I’m just curious, about drawing the periodic table. What kind of guide did you use for that? I’ve tried googling and came across several videos, but NONE of them gave measurements or anything, just showed someone drawing it. I was hoping for some guide with steps (first, draw a box this many inches by this many inches; next, separate into boxes so many inches tall/wide . . . .). Do you have any resource to share? Thanks. 🙂
Thanks for your question! Most of the students simply made a grid that had enough squares, based off of their favorite diagram of the periodic table, adding details as they learned about each element.
Thank you so much for sharing this!
I’ve found Kelly’s site some time ago I found it pretty heavy for my son. You’ve helped me to figure what to used a lot better! 😉
I’d love to know your thoughts about her biology course or how have you planned for that area.
Thank you so much for sharing this. The notebooks look lovely! What a joy it would be for the students to come back to them in a couple of years!
I wonder how do you come up with a plan for the subject? Do you have each mom responsible for different subjects or you all work on it? Who chooses the books?
Thanks for commenting, Faith! Each mom is responsible for the different subjects, but we all work on it in that we share our plans in our planning meetings and others can chime in with suggestions, etc. Often the moms will run the titles by me that they are thinking about using. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Thanks for sharing! I have a few questions about how your students did things. I looked over the schedule and am wondering if some of the readings were only covered in class, or if the students had all those books and did all the readings on their own before coming to class.
Also, when they created their own periodic tables in their notebooks, did they make the table at the beginning of the year and then add elements to it when they learned about them?
Thanks for your question, Julie!
Yes, the readings were done at home and they were read before coming to class. They started the periodic table at the beginning of the year and added them as they read about them. At the end, there were many that were not read about and so had to be added in. Class time was spent sharing some drawing narrations, commmonplace entries, practicing some of the math and working with the periodic table, discussing, and doing experiments.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful information, Nancy. Our little Heron Pond Cottage School is going to be so blessed!
DESIREE BELTRAN says
I love Chemistry, so excited to be able to take a living approach to teaching it – thank you for sharing this inspiration!
This sounds so lovely! The narration journal is dreamy. I’m just curious what the class time looks like. What does the teacher actually do?
Well, when we meet together for TBG, the students might share their science narration journals, their commonplace entries from their readings, or some of their written narrations. This semester, we did some work with the periodic table, Lewis dot notations, and balancing equations with the group. About half the experiments were done at co-op and half at home. It was clarifying and enjoyable to work with others on some of the more difficult aspects of chemistry. We also had an emphasis on writing lab reports, which was so helpful.
Please let me know if you have any other questions!
So as to your question of what does the teacher actually do, she facilitates all of this in an orderly manner. She makes sure everything is ready for all the experiments. She encourages and guides.
She assigns the work. She reviews the work and gently instructs when there is inaccurate information or misunderstandings.
(Which brings me to the amazing blessing of our TBG Community as there is no way I could prepare each subject to the degree each of us does in such an excellent way for our high schoolers!)