Saturday, September 28, 2013

Our first "real" Chemistry Lab

 Last week, Luke did his first chemistry lab.  It wasn't anything particularly exciting -- or dangerous.  He had to submerge a glass into water and try to trap the air inside the glass and keep the paper towel stuffed in the glass dry.  An important concept to learn, but not really what one thinks of with chemistry.  As Jude said, "Can I do chemistry? I wanna blow stuff up!"

chemistry science jude apologia

Um. Well...

I found out the Review Crew was reviewing Apologia's new Exploring Creation Chemistry and Physics for grades K-6.  I begged to be on this review, prayed we would get it (I don't pray for many reviews, other than to be blessed with what we need and can use well, but this one -- my sanity was on the line!) and we were chosen for it!  So look for a review of that coming up soon! 

In the meantime, Luke has settled into his Apologia chemistry, and started his first "lab with an element of danger."  He was discovering how long it takes for heat to melt ice and heat water.  Ok, maybe not "blowing stuff up" caliber, but it did involve an alcohol burner, so the potential was there.

chemistry heat transfer

The purpose of Luke's lab was to explore heat transfer -- melt a beaker of ice, and then hopefully bring it to a boil, to see how quickly (or slowly) the water heated.  Well, it was pretty slowly.  One thing we learned -- water condensation will put out alcohol burners.  Often.  It probably threw our numbers, but it taught us two things.  1) If water is supposed to be heating and hangs out at the same temperature more than two minutes, check your burner is still lit.  2) Sometimes, things don't go according to plan.

Luke is perfectly happy to be his own lab partner.  Until he needs another set of hands.  He couldn't stir and write at the same time.  We had an extra set of goggles so I put them on (safety first!) and helped out.

lab partners

 20 years since even my college science classes, and I still look horrible in those goggles.  
I will say those vents are better than the little pinholes on the goggles of yore.

Back to work...

 Luke went over to write a note, and I stepped in to help hold the thermometer in place. Jude nudged his way in...his exact words were:

 "Whatcha blowin' up?  DNA?"

As Tatae, my Romanian brother-in-law's father, would say, "Help God us."

Luke did the heavy work on this one.  He did the set up, the lab report, and the critical thinking.  Jude and I just held the thermometer.

Jude wanted a turn reading the thermometer, but couldn't see the lines very well.  I carefully slid the paper towel roll behind so we'd have a better contrast.

I was very proud he knew that it said "Forty degrees."

He even took a turn writing while Luke went back to stirring.

helping with lab data

I wish I had photos of the two of them working together. However, I was more concerned about neither one lighting the house on fire with the alcohol burner.

Which was kind of for naught.  About every 8-10 minutes, we'd notice the burner needed re-lighting. The condensation from the beaker dripped down and the water extinguished the flame.  AARGH.  Well, it's just another variable, right?  A piece of foil on the grate helped, but didn't eliminate the problem entirely.

In the end, it took about 50 min for a beaker of ice water to melt and come up to 45° with the puny flame we had. I think we're going to have to look into a better burner. We had to abandon the experiment when we ran out of time - after almost an hour it still wasn't approaching boiling, and Luke had to get online for his Spanish lesson.  We did discover that his thermometer is well calibrated and 0°C on the thermometer is, in fact, 0° in the lab.

But Jude still wants to see something explode.

©2012- 2013 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.


  1. I have a scientist who wants to see things explode too!lol!

  2. haha! Looks like lots of fun, but I'd be a little nervous, too.

  3. Explosions are fun. You wear the safety goggles well. I wonder if I could get some in red?

  4. We just finished te experiments for the first two modules, but are doing them with another family so I am not solely responsible for any epic fails! ;) Not looking forward to when they get more complicated! Excited to do the new review as well!

  5. Looking forward to the review. I'm tempted to use this book with our home education group so am very interested in the reviews.

  6. Meg @ Adventures with JudeNovember 21, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Hi Sarah - here it is! We love it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover