I have two sons doing high school chemistry this year. This year I have a son in 9th grade and one in 11th so one of them is using Integrated Physics and Chemistry and one of them is using Jay Wile’s Discovering Design with Chemistry.
So when Timberdoodle offered me a copy of Chemistry 101 in exchange for a review I jumped at the chance. I knew that having a teacher that’s passionate about the subject matter would make Chemistry come alive for them.
We started watching the lessons in the evening as a family. I immediately noticed that Chemistry 101 was to the video world what Theodore Gray’s The Elements is to the book world (except Chemistry 101 gets more in depth and technical and just has a lot more to it). Chemistry 101‘s host Wes Olson takes us through an exciting and visually rich exploration of the chemical world. I learned so much from the first lesson I was eager to watch the rest.
The DVD’s are split up into four main parts.
- The Road to the Periodic Table
- Chemistry Essentials
- Meet the Elements
- The Future
Each of these parts is broken up into 20-45 minute long lessons making a total of nineteen lessons and over eleven total hours of listening time.
I really enjoyed the first section which was on the history of chemistry. I was fascinated at the lengths to which these pioneer scientists went to discover the secrets of what the world around us is made of. You might find that this historical view on chemistry captivates your non-science minded kids.
If you’re a word lover, you’ll love the fascinating tidbits of word origins that are scattered throughout. Did you know that the word quintessential comes from the concept of the fifth element that the Greeks thought bound all the other elements together? Or that the word atom comes from the Latin words meaning uncuttable? (Okay, that last example might really have been Chemistry 101)
The lectures also introduced many exciting rabbit trails to research later. Like how exactly did Henry Cavendish weigh the world? Or why is the Grand K so important to measurement?
That sounds great, but is Chemistry 101 really high school level science?
The videos do get more technical as Wes Olson explains the periodic table and its layout, balancing chemical equations, chemical bonding, acid and bases, and even touches on quantum mechanics.
As the lectures get more advanced, they don’t, however, lose their appeal.
Even my eight-year-old son begged to watch yet another one. And as my sixteen-year-old put it,
Watching someone explain something sticks better than just reading about it.
What about labs?
There are also simple experiments throughout the lectures that just beg to be done. In fact, my boys have tried several to see if they’d actually work like in the video. The following experiment they did again, and again, and again. I love little sister’s reaction to this one!
Is Chemistry 101 credit worthy?
So by know, you might be wondering if Chemistry 101 is credit worthy. By itself, it’s just a neat supplement, but included with the DVDs is a one-year high school course booklet outline that allows you to use the Chemistry 101 DVDs as the main component of your chemistry program. This course book includes a schedule and additional labs and research assignments. There is also a PDF that includes quizzes and the material covered in the Chemistry 101 DVDs. There are also extra facts not covered in the videos included in the PDF.
Timberdoodle’s website includes extensive samples of the printable guidebook, quizzes, and Course Accreditation Program.
Chemistry 101 is part of Timberdoodle’s Tenth Grade Curriculum Kit. You also might want to check out the Biology 101 and Physics 101 DVDs that are available.
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