Secular Science Resources for Homeschoolers


November 2016

Honors Chemistry 14 – Boyle’s Law

Today’s lab came out of the HomeScientist’s chemistry manual CK01A, VIII-1:Observe the Pressure-Volume Relationship of Gases (Boyle’s Law).  I’ve tried to do this lab before with the  Boyle’s Law apparatus from Home Science Tools and have never gotten very good results (and it actually broke today) so I decided to give this other version a try.  I’m pretty sure the one from Home Science Tools just needed more oil on the syringe plunger.  Anyway, the Home Scientist’s version of this experiment uses a much smaller syringe (10mL) and you just have to lightly hold a 2L soda bottle upside down on the plunger to exert the pressure on the gas.  The syringes come with caps so you can contain the gas in the syringe.  Using the soda bottle lets you easily increase its mass by 200 gram increments just by adding 200 ml of water (density of water is 1 g/ml).

img_6384The actual experiment is relatively easy, lubricate syringe plunger (very important to do a good job on this step), find mass of empty bottle and syringe plunger, add water to bottle to get a total of 200 grams to put pressure on the gas volume in syringe, record volume of gas off syringe.  Then add 200 ml of water to bottle, find volume of gas and repeat until soda bottle is full.

The complicated part of this lab is the data analysis.  We’re recording the mass exerting a force on the gas not the pressure, so we have to calculate the pressure and add the atmospheric pressure  because its also pushing down on the syringe plunger.    I helped the younger kids in the class with these calculations and showed the older kids how to set up a spread sheet to make it easier. Then the students plotted their data,  volume as a function of pressure and found their data was pretty close to a straight line, as expected, showing that as pressure on a gas increases (at constant temperature) the volume will decrease.

I recommended the students watch the following videos before class:

Intro Chem 012 – Covalent bonds & Isotopes

Today we got through three different lessons.  I started by reviewing atoms and how they are made of protons, neutrons and electrons.  I drew a few atoms on the white board showing how the electrons go in shells and how the atoms prefer to have 8 in the second shell.  If there is only one electron in that shell the atom would prefer to get rid of it, or if it has 7 electrons in that shell it would really like to have one more.  I drew a bunch of different atoms showing how they could share electrons and then both atoms shells would be full and you would have a molecule – covalent bonding.  Then I showed them how to draw lewis dot diagrams to show the outer or valenece electrons so we don’t have to draw an atom with the shells each time.  The students created a few lift the flap pages in their notebooks using the lewis dot diagrams from Chemistry: Compounds, Bonding & RXNs by Stephanie Elkowitz and we used pages on covalent bonds from Covalent Bonding for Interactive Notebooks by Bond with James – both of which can be bought on


The second thing we did was an electrolysis demonstration, shown above.  This is a set up that was purchased from by a fellow homeschooler.  You fill the test tubes with water and invert them on to the black stand so that there is no air in the test tubes.  When you hook up the wires to a 9V battery the electric current flows and breaks up the water molecules producing hydrogen and oxygen gas.  In the photo we used salt water which made for a much more exciting demonstration and you can see the test tube on the right has created quite a bit of gas, almost filling a third of the test tube and this happened in maybe a minute or two.

img_6362Lastly, I explained to the students that isotopes were atoms of the same element (same number of protons) but with different numbers of neutrons and therefore slightly different masses.  The students then played Atoms & Isotopes that I had downloaded from Elemental Science for free.  I had to print out a bunch of playing cards and dig out some pony beads but it seemed to go over well with the kids.  The way to win the game is to build all the isotopes on your card.  There’s only two different cards, Hydrogen with 3 isotopes for a quick game or Nitrogen with 2 isotopes but a lot more protons, neutrons and electrons to collect before you finish.  The kids played a couple rounds in the last 30 minutes of class.

screen480x480NOVA has a great FREE app, Elements,  for iPads where you can build atoms just like in this game. You drag protons, neutrons and electrons. This feature is hidden a bit, from the main menu go to the interactive periodic table and click on the element you want to build. a window pops up with info on the that element and in the top right corner is a green button with Build on it. Click on build and then drag the particles from the bottom of the screen into the center to build the atom.  The app keeps a running tab for you on the left side of the screen.




Honors Highschool Chemistry Class

2016-2017 Complete.

Honors Chemistry 01 -Separating Mixtures

Honors Chemisty 02 – Recrystalization

Honors Chemistry 03 – Chromatography

Honors Chemistry 04- How many molecules?

Honors Chemistry 05 – Conservation of Mass

Honors Chemistry 06 – Flame test

Honors Chemistry 07 – Periodic Table

Honors Chemistry 08 – Ionic vs Covalent

Honors Chemistry 09 – Percent Composition

Honors Chemistry 10 -Types of Reactions

Honors Chemistry 11 -More Chemical Reactions

Honors Chemistry 12 – Stoichiometry

Honors Chemistry 13 – Phase Changes

Honors Chemistry 14 – Boyle’s Law

Honors Chemistry 15 – Charles’ Law

Honors Chemistry 16 – Molarity & Solutions

Honors Chemistry 17 – Solubility vs Temperature

Honors Chemistry 18 – What’s up with bottled water?

Honors Chemistry 19 – Conductance of Solutions

Honors Chemistry 20 – Solubility

Honors Chemistry 21 – Acids & bases

Honors Chemistry 22 – Titration

Honors Chemistry 23 – Calorimetery

Honors Chemistry 24 – Heat of Solution

Honors Chemistry 25 – Energy Diagrams

Honors Chemistry 26 – Boron detection

Honors Chemistry 27 – Equilibrium

Honors Chemistry 28 – Redox Reactions 

Honors Chemistry 29 – Electrochemistry

Honors Chemistry 30 – Review lab

Honors Chemistry 31 – Nuclear Chemistry

Honors Chemistry 32 – Specific Heat 

Intro Chemistry Class- middleschool

Complete 2016-2017.  Students in this class were  10-13 years old.img_5672

Intro Chem 01 – Mass & Density
Intro Chem 02 – Temperature
Intro Chem 03 -Thermal Conductivity
Intro Chem 04 – Combustion
Intro Chem 05 -Water & Ice
Intro Chem 06 – Atoms & Fire
Intro Chem 07 – Elements
Intro Chem 08 – Periodic Table
Intro Chem 09 -Periodic Table Part II
Intro Chem 10 – Chemical Reactions
Intro Chem 11 – Presentations
Intro Chem 12 – Covalent bonds & Isotopes
Intro Chem 13 – Water
Intro Chem 14 – Dissolving Stuff in Water
Intro Chem 15 – Dissolving Sugar
Intro Chem 16 –  Dissolving liquids
Intro Chem 17 – Exothermic & Endothermic
Intro Chem 18 – Chemical Reactions
Intro Chem 19 – Acids & Bases

Intro Chem 20 – Controlling the Products

Intro Chem 21 – Precipitate

Intro Chem 22 – Reaction rates

Intro Chem 23  – Catalysts

Intro Chem 24 – Game Day!

Intro Chem 25 – Identifying unknowns & Elements 4D

Intro Chem 26 – Acid Concentration, Color & pH


Physics highschool class

Light and matter coverThis honors highschool physics class was taught 2015-2016

Homeschool Physics 001

Homeschool Physics 002 – metric units and measurements

Homeschool Physics 003 – Velocity

Homeschool Physics 004 – Constant Acceleration

Homeschool Physics 005 – Newton’s 2nd Law

Homeschool Physics 006 – Friction

Homeschool Physics 007 – Projectiles

Homeschool Physics 008 – Static Equilibrium

Physics 009 – Uniform Circular Motion and Black Holes.

Physics 010 – Gravity & Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

Physics 011 – Conservation of Energy

Physics 012 – Hooke’s Law

Physics 013 – Conservation of Momentum

Physics 014- Rotational Motion

Physics 015 – Ideal Gas Law

Physics 016 -Vibrations

Physics 017 – Sound Waves

Physics 018 – Waves

Physics 019- Electricity

Physics 020 -Playing with Fields

Physics 021 – Relativity

Physics 022 – Electromagnetism

Physics 023 – Atoms

Physics 024 – Nuclear Physics & Spectra

Physics 025 – General Relativity

Physics 026 – Ray Optics

Physics 027 – Lens

Physics 028 – Why the sky is blue

Physics 029 – Diffraction

Physics 030 – Polarization

Physics 031 – Probability

Physics 032 – Light is a particle?

Physics 033 -Particles are Waves?

Physics 034 – Bohr Atom

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