My son has asked for a Chemistry kit for his 9th birthday. Does anyone have any recommendations? I imagine that I could put one together for less that the commercial kits, but he would like the looks of the kit more.
I've never found a decent book on chemistry for this age group. I think Chemistry, taught too early, can fast become about rote learning. Chemistry doesn't have too many fundamentals in some ways and those there are I think are best learnt experimentally rather than through books, for kids. Atomic chemistry I guess is accessible in exactly the way astronomy is.
If anyone knows of any good ones, please let me know.
I have had good luck with the stuff from home science tools. They carry a bit of everything, but their customer reviews have been spot on for me. Here is a link to a kit I have thought of ordering for my daughter. http://www.hometrainingtools.com/chem-c500-kit/p/KT-CHEM500/
We are using Thames and Kosmos Chem C3000. It is our "fun" science, and my 12 yo especially loves it.
As for books or texts...things like Steve Spangler's "Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes" are what get us through. Yes, textbooks are useful, but real books, really meant to be read and ACTED UPON by kids, work much better for overall education.
I am a chem/bio/trig junkie, and it's hard for me to find a way to teach my kids that isn't by rote learning...I want them to experienced the joy in science, the "Eureka" moments. So we put up with a lot of smoke bombs and buy baking soda and vinegar in bulk. ;)
IMHO, though, Thames and Kosmos put together good kits...but their instruction and explanation is lacking. This is why I mention also books like the one by Spangler.
Science should be dynamic. Whatever helps your child visualise the process is what is right.
I spent some extra time today with my 12 yo, asking him questions about the experiments he has done so far, and how the book is working out, and was VERY happy with his answers. I went over the book a bit when we first opened the set, then let him have at it, but it looks to be very well written, with explanations on how scientific words are put together, what reactions are happening and why, definitions of all terms...it's pretty neatly tied up.
Every experiment so far has employed the use of an alcohol burner, so there is that aspect. And there are quite a few ventilation issues with some of the experiments, as well as disposal of certain chemicals that can't go down the drain. I am comfortable with my son's safety level, so i don't fuss too much about that, but it might be a big stopping point for many parents.
If you do buy it, enjoy!
thank you so much, and please say thank you to your son also! I've been eyeing up the kit in the London Science Museum for some time and am deeply tempted!
The alcohol burner-that is actually pretty helpful that it has one as it means we can be outside. FWIW I actually normally use a primus (camping) stove with an old school supply tripod, ditto old fashioned metal tongs, just for a bit more power and control. It sounds like the quality of the glassware etc has been ok too? Sounds silly but when you lose, say, 1 test tube in 10, it gets annoying!
I am very tempted indeed, its only the steep price that's holding me back :-). I've costed up putting together the same kit myself, now fair enough I might get slightly better quality in the glassware, the accessories etc, but I couldn't do it for much cheaper, I reckon.