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Create your own Chemistry Set

by Beverley Paine

There are quite a few different 'off the shelf' chemistry sets you can buy for children interested in tinkering with chemistry experiments and they're fun and can spark a life long interest. With the incredible access to amazing 'how to' videos and pages on the internet it is possible to put together an exciting learning program focusing on chemistry using materials and resources usually found in the home.

If you need something specific, for example, test tubes (and you haven't bought a chemistry set with some supplied), have a look on ebay or similar. My husband says if you can't find something on ebay it is probably not available! However, there are sciences suppliers around, eg Selbies (Adelaide). Modern Teaching Aids and other school suppliers often have clearance sales that are worth watching, although they are mostly geared towards selling classroom kits (great for homeschool groups and co-ops).

Put together your own chemistry science box or tray. Fill it with some of the materials and substances from the list below. Look for simple experiments online, print out or develop into activity cards which you can keep with your chemistry 'learning centre'. One family created a science kit as a present for her 8 year old - using a laundry caddie filled bicarb, vinegar, salt, washing up liquid, cornflour, food colouring and various spoons, jugs, funnels and droppers and safety googles and a child's lab coat. What budding chemist wouldn't enjoy this super gift!

Remember, as with any household chemicals, remember to store the chemicals safely, away from young children and pets and label containers appropriately.

Materials List:

ph test strips
universal indicator solution (try garden or pool supply shops)
face masks
test tubes
petrie dishes
gloves
pipettes
paper towels
plasticine (holding things in place)
blutac (patch holes to make things air tight)
balloons
instant heat pack (calcium chloride)
pipe cleaners
glow sticks
clear plastic cups
index cards (or similar)
plastic bottle
scales that measure in grams
droppers
magnifier
pop sticks
toothpicks
thermometer
sticky tape
wax paper
metal spoon
measuring spoons
permanent marker
small glass jars
matches
paper clips
small buckets
measuring jugs
aluminium foil
scissors
tea light candles

distilled water
mentos and cola
food colouring
denture tablets
yeast sachets
seeds (from dry foods section in supermarket)
play doh
gelatin
oil
sugar, salt (growing crystals)
borax
corn starch
white glue
vinegar
Epsom salts
vodka (used as ethanol)
flour
alum
lye (sodium hydroxide - drain cleaner)
glyercine
metamucil
milk of magnesia (magnesium sulphate)
baking powder
baking soda
citric acid
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
detergent
isopropyl alchohol
copper wire
steel wool
galvanized nails
baby oil (mineral oil)
antacid tablets (Alka Seltzer)
gelatin
tincture of iodine
hydrogen peroxide
coins

Some websites to check out for ideas, lesson plans, etc:

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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Welcome to the World of Home Education
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

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