Sunday, February 2, 2014


Another fun activity we currently are wading into is upper elementary Chemistry work.  We used the card materials from ETC Montessori's lower and upper elementary curriculum bundles.  These are resources that Maria really did not develop as a manipulative or lesson, however the developers at this  company have done well at keeping to her over all method and philosophy of learning and I am impressed with their scope and sequencing.
We started with Physical Science materials earlier this year and learn some basics concepts on light and sound.  We have since moved on to learning about elements of the Periodic Table and their properties and how they combine to become molecules.

This is the atom board by ETC Montessori. It is Bohr Model Method and the ETC web sight will have more information, if you are are interested.  The cards that came with the board are the final level of the lesson at the end cognitive level.  No pictures just the information, beyond 3 or 5 part cards for a more mature learner.  This company is branching into middle school material and I am curious to see what they will come up. We had our own marbles for electrons. You can all use something to show protons and neutrons.  Since the nucleus area here on the board is flat I suggest a flat glass drops in two colors.

We love this activity and use an ipad app to help us visualize the concept too.  The app my son likes is the Atomics HD shown below.  This App allows for, in building the atom, some math skills of finding how many neutrons and electrons and protons are needed in a kind of game format.  The child quickly deciphers that formula from cues in the game on the apps.  I love the creative and intuitive open learning that happens when kids play games.  Here is the screen shot of the build an atom part of the app.

We haven't gotten into Ion's and Isotope yet but it is there work for him when he is ready.

 The project below is a Molecule kit I purchased before Christmas on clearance at our local craft store. It came with everything but the paint.  We got a bunch of  plain white Styrofoam balls and we got busy organizing them to size following simple instructions to paint them certain colors.  Here is my son prepping up each ball with a colored marker to let us know what color it was to be.  I did take a little too much artistic license with carbon and instead of black, went with brown,  so that my son says it is "all wrong" but it look delicious, just like chocolate.  My son painted the big orange magnesium model by hand but most of the others we just dunked into zip locks filled with acrylic paint and made a day of painting and drying out the elements. We decided to use tooth pick to pull them out of the zip lock baggies of paint, sticking them on a cereal box to dry.   It was a big messy project.  We sprinkled glitter on a few of them while wet to make them sparkle.  After they were dry I took them outside and put a clear finishing coat of spray paint on them.  They look great.  My son then created his own cards of them with some old poster board material we cut into 5 x 5 inchs and colored markers.  He use the information on the ETC Montessori Chemistry cards for research.
Color coordinating the styrofoam balls
The organizing of the elements and marking them by color took us a while but Conor did it all.  I helped with the reading.

painting Magnesium orange

Clear coating the hydrogen, nitrogen, sodium and magnesium models

the Box it all came in

Proud creator of the Molecules work

Learning in Progress

Something about making your own maniulatives gives the learner pride
I just love how he took over on this project and made the cards.  We will keep going with this work and as we get to more complicated molecules he can draw the on the cards and the manipulative will be less of a desire to work with.
H2O and the final card in close up

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