Atomidoodle, A Periodic Table Game

*Disclosure: I received this app for free and have been compensated for my time on writing this review. All opinions are my own. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

First, I am always on the lookout for fun and different ways to encourage math skills at my house. Second, science is a subject that I often leave at the bottom of my school list.

Allowing my boys to unlock levels on the Atomidoodle app reinforced math skills while helping them learn new facts about the periodic table.

Atomidoodle by Hero Factor uses the periodic table and teaches math skills of addition and division by teaching fission and fusion.

Periodic Table

The fusion widget combines any two elements together and sends out the new element. Then if it is the correct element needed you can send it to the examinator. The fission widget will divide one element into 2 elements. The fission tries to divide as evenly as possible, but for odd numbers the smallest number will come out first.

My 10 year old struggles with math. I needed to briefly explain to him how the fission widget worked. Once you add the two elements together, try to think of what is half of the number. This helped when it was an even number. Sometimes he could figure it out and sometimes he would yell for help for the answer. I did not mind answering, I support all moments of using math without crying.

Before I was carried away in writing lesson plans to include this app in our lessons; I handed the iPad over to my 13 year old son. I wanted to see if he could figure out how to play and if he could play independently from my instruction.

He was able to follow the tutorial and play for a few rounds of the game independently. I made it a point to not mention how he was using math to reach new levels. After playing about about 40 minutes he had already unlocked 18 elements.

This is a fast pace game that does require some problem solving skills. My boys love the fun facts that are displayed before and after playing a level. [Read more…]

Science in Summer, Creating Margin

Science in Summer

Do you have one subject that always seems to fall to the wayside? A subject you would like to spend more time on but you just cannot seem to add another thing to the school schedule?

At my house it is science. I love science, but I like to do hands on projects and that is where I run out of time and energy.

I taught science in summer and into the fall, but when my science co-op ended, so did my science teaching. I really enjoyed teaching one subject over the summer.

Now I have science guilt. Really I should not be beating myself up. Today, I am letting it go! Hopefully getting some much need margin in the school schedule.

I have decided instead of trying to get science in for the last semester of school, I have moved the science to the summer! [Read more…]

My Pumpkin Book, Exploring Science, Math and Creation

My Pumpkin Book

My Pumpkin Book, printable pages to explore science and math concepts.

I am often torn between following our curriculum and taking a break to base our studies on seasonal activities. Then my friend starts forwarding me great blog posts like Science with Pumpkin Decomposition. Oh the choices of homeschooling!

Then my dear friend finally made a connection between our curriculum and the season. We are just completing unit 2 of  Christian Kids Explore Creation Science. We have spent the last 5 weeks studying the first 5 days of creation. I have a blog series on the Bright Ideas Press Blog on how we are using the creation science book in a co-op.  [Read more…]

7 Days of Creation Project, Lego style

7 Days of Creation Project

Since our history and science curriculmns overlap often, completing a 7 Days of Creation project was a great combination to both subjects. (Affiliate Links) We are using the Mystery of History and Christian Kids Explore Creation Science.

I found the Lego green and blue boards to be great foundations for building the 7 days of creation project. Since days 1, 2, and 4 don’t really require building our Lego building focus was on plants, land animals, and sea creatures.

I broke this project down into a few different days. One day the boys built plants and tress, the next day sea creatures, and then land animals. Once they had a stock pile of living items they were ready to photograph each day of creation. [Read more…]

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry with Christmas Presents

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry

Presents sitting under a Christmas tree drove me crazy every year. My mom would always say, “don’t shake it, you might break it.” With Christmas right around the corner and the kids’ anticipation building, this science experiment was a perfect fit.

A quick trip to the Dollar Store and I was able to purchase 6 boxes, a bag of bows, and 6 items to fit in each box. I chose items that my kids would think would be fun like dinosaur erasers, Nerds, a mini-flashlight, Band-Aids, and a Spiderman washcloth. In one box I put a dollar inside of it. I numbered the boxes on the bottom with a small sticker.

After my kids went to bed I set the boxes on the kitchen table, which lead to an excited breakfast conversation on what was in the boxes.

Observations are the basis for writing a hypothesis. I explained to my children how chemists use their senses to observe, then how these observations lead to guesses or hypotheses. Since we are studying the Periodic Table in  Christian Kids Explore Chemistry we talked about how early chemists observed different elements.

  • They wrote 1 to 6 on their sheet of paper.
  • I had them weigh each box and measure one of the boxes.
  • Then I had them write what they thought was in each box. I did give them one hint; I purchased all the gifts from the Dollar Store.
  • We discussed which box was the heaviest, lightest or weighed the same.

Then I had each child pick 2 boxes they would like to receive as a gift based on what they thought was in the box. We discussed what each child thought was in each box and then they opened them.
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry

Ivory Soap Mini Unit

Sometimes you need to look for an experiment that has dramatic changes. The Ivory Soap experiment does just that.  We have been enjoying our lessons with Christian Kids Explore Chemistry and today we added an extra experiment to our science plans.

History/Civil War
In 1837 Mr. Proctor and Mr. Gamble began making and selling soap and candles. During the Civil War government contracts to provide the Union Army with soap and candles kept the factory busy. In 1879 Mr. Gamble’s son developed Ivory Soap. Proctor and Gamble has a great PDF that outlines the history of their company.
•Fill up the bathtub with some warm water. Allow your Civil War soldiers to hand wash their shirts with Ivory Soap. Did they notice that the soap floats? If you have some other kinds of soap, see if they can float.

Soap is a form of matter because it takes up space. Describe its physical properties: size, shape, smell and color.
•Using a bar of Ivory Soap and another kind of soap, have your students fill out this lab sheet for the Ivory Soap experiment.

Half a bar of Ivory Soap

After two minutes in the microwave.


Steven Spangler shares information about Ivory Soap on his web site.

•Explain how when Ivory Soap was first made it didn’t float. About 3 years into the manufacturing the gentleman who was running the machine forgot to turn it off and went to lunch. This whipped a lot of air into the soap. He didn’t say anything to his employer but packaged the soap and sent it the stores. Later mail started coming in asking for more soap that floated.

Do you think the gentleman should have told his boss about his mistake?

  • What does the bible say about God turning bad things into good? Or confessing your mistakes?
  • Read Proverbs 21, verse 2 states: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.

Bonus Lesson: The boys learned some life skills and cleaned the inside of the microwave after heating up a bars of soap.

Chemical Reaction VS Physical Reaction Science Experiments

Smoke Bomb Collage
A chemical reaction is when one or more substances become one or more different substances.

A physical reaction is when you change the appearance of a substance and can return it to its original state.

Now to do some experiments that demonstrates these two reactions. I choose to use a rusty piece of metal, Diet Coke and Mentos, and smoke bombs.

First I placed the rusty metal on the ground and then set up the Mentos to drop into the Diet Coke. Even through my kids have seen the Mentos reaction before, they did not mind doing it again.

Which one is a physical reaction? Which one is the chemical reaction? My main question was, “which one is going to give me a new substance?” (Now I am trying to trick them some by using a physical reaction that looks like a chemical reaction)
Since I cannot make the rust return to being a metal, I have a chemical reaction. If I could catch the CO2, I could return it to the soda, and only a physical reaction has happened.

Now since my chemical reaction is a little boring, watching metal rust, I decided to make smoke bombs. You need stump removal and sugar to make the smoke bomb. Stump removal can be found in the lawn and garden section near the pesticides.

Taking 1 1/2 cups of stump remover to 1 cup of sugar and in a pan over low heat you want to caramelize the sugar. Once you have the dark brown liquid pour it into a blob on aluminum foil to cool. Once it cools, it will harden and then can be removed from the foil.

We placed ours on a stepping-stone and made sure no flammable items (leaves/grass) were near the smoke bomb. We lit it with a lighter and watched the reaction. It was awesome! I got to be the cool mom for the day.

Now you have a good reason to make smoke in Chemistry!  (Here is a little youtube clip of a bigger one we made )


How to Design a Lab Coat

How to Design a Lab Coat

My boys convinced me that they “needed” lab coats for chemistry class. My first stop was thrift store to find two large, white, button-up shirts. Woo Hoo, five minutes in the store and I had two white shirts that would work.

Next stop was the craft store for some iron-on letters, fabric paint and heat bond.

While looking for the heat bond, I found some great oversized, primary colored buttons. Why not have the boys practice their button sewing skills.

Since one of the shirts was long sleeved, I cut off the sleeves and taught my son to hem the new length. Since I was using the heat bond for the hem, my son thought this was the easiest thing to do.

Now if you can handle some simple stitch sewing, use some of the left over sleeve material to make a second pocket. Then we ironed on their names and used the fabric paint for some decorations.



Unplanned Chemistry Labs

Chemistry Labs
Grab the chemistry supplies and safety glasses and let the kids have an unplanned chemistry lab. This week’s chemistry lesson with Christian Kids Explore Chemistry involved learning the names of the apparatuses used in a chemistry lab.

Now I say unplanned, really I mean just let the kids play with the lab equipment, sometimes I can get caught up on doing all the proper learning I forget to let them play.

Chemistry Lab: Learning the Names of the Equipment

  • I introduced the name of each apparatus and placed in on the table.
  • Remember to wear you goggles in the Chemistry lab.
  • Then I allowed them to measure water in the graduated cylinder.
  • Move water back and forth with a pipette.
  • How much liquid can your erlenmeyer flask hold?
  • What are you going to put in your beaker?
  • Keep your test tubes in the stand so they do not roll off the table.
  • I heated a class of water in the microwave to measure the temperature.

Every few moments I would ask them the name of the apparatus they were using. Then I would leave them alone to pretend what experiment they were performing. Since I have boys there was a lot of explosive reactions happening.

My boys are begging to do this again, so I think tomorrow afternoon I will add food color to some of the water, throw a few spices on the table, and let them pretend our kitchen table is the best chemistry lab on the planet. Besides I am sure the teacher in me will ask a few times, “What is the name of that piece of equipment you are using?”

Sometimes you don’t need a fancy science experiment to have fun. But having the fancy equipment can be very exciting when pretending to be a mad scientist.

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry Planning Session

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry Planning Session

This week I am laying out our Christian Kids Explore Chemistry notebooks. I am pretty excited to be teaching chemistry this year! Although I love the experiments in the book, I am planning on adding two or three more to our class each week.

I chose to keep the notebook divided by the units outlined in the book. Thankfully the CD that came with the book helped to print out the student pages for each lesson.

I did make a section for vocabulary. My boys are already doing a lot of writing in their other subjects, so I typed up the vocabulary on address labels. Then I created a page with outlined boxes in two columns. Since the labels are white, I chose to print the blank boxes on yellow paper.

My oldest does have an extra section for the elements. I found an extra book A guide to the Elements that gives a brief history about each element. Choosing 3 a week, he will do a notebook page on each element. My youngest will do the element cards as outlined in Lesson 4 of the book Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.

If you would like a cover page for your chemistry notebook here is the one I made for my boys, chemistry-notebook-page

Since I was on a roll with planning, your students might enjoy a little hangman with their chemistry vocabulary. This was a hit for our first class! hangman-chem

If you are looking for more information,  The Homeschool Scientist did a product review of Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.