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Author Topic: How to teach chemistry to kids  (Read 218 times)
Zanthius
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How to teach chemistry to kids
« on: May 19, 2017, 03:18:13 pm »



Here is a list of some medicinal molecules, vaguely arranged in different levels according to how complicated they will be to make with a molecular building kit. I am going to start to draw them now, and maybe write a little bit about what they do. Also, I will include some basic, but non-medicinal molecules, like water, CO2, and so on.

level 1
metaformin, nitroglycerin, alendronate,

level 2
aspirn, ibuprofen, allopuyrinol, atenolol, enalapril, amloipine, clopidogrel bisulfate, FTY720, isoniazid, acyclovir, ribavirin, oseltamivir, zidovudine, zalcitabine, carboplatin,  cyclophosphamide, lidocaine, acetaminophen, gabapentin, levodopa, tranylcypromine, selegiline

level 3
naproxen, celecoxib, salmeterol, montelukast sodium, loratadine, glipizide, pioglitazone, sitagliptin, ezetimibe, slidenafil, latanoprost, ranitidine, omeprazole, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, amoxicillin, cefaclor, doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim, linezolid, nevirapine, efavirenz, fluconazole, terbinafine, chloroquine, atovaquone, miltefosine, nitazoxanide, capecitabine, tamoxifen, morphine, fentanyl, sodium thiopental, diazepam, sumatriptan, zolpidem, ramelteon, varenicline, donepezil, chlorpromazine, imipramine, nortriptyline, fluoxetine, escitalopram, cloapine

level 4
prednisone, methotrexate, fluticasone propionate, tiotropium bromide, atorvastatin, candesartan cilexetil, aliskiren, digoxin, testosterone, mifepristone, calcitriol, raloxifene, tacrolimus, azithromycin ,amikacin, lopinavir, UK-427857, artemether, ivermectin, irinotecan, imatinib, sunitinib, bortezomib

level 5
oxytocin, cyclosporin, vancomycin, caspofungin, vinblastine, paclitaxel, bleomycin
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 05:13:21 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 10:18:15 pm »

I don't know how useful this would actually be.
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Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 10:22:02 pm »

I don't know how useful this would actually be.

You don't think it is useful to know the structures of medicinal molecules? If you are going to study medicine, pharmacology or chemistry later, it will be useful. And people in general know way too little chemistry. These molecules have done a lot to improve human health, and we (as species) would be able to accomplish much more with more medicinal chemistry. The secret to a world without diseases might lie in medicinal chemistry. The secret to eternal life might lie in medicinal chemistry. The secret to making people more intelligent might lie in medicinal chemistry. And so on.

Chemistry is just as important as the other natural sciences. All the natural sciences are important, and  kids love to build stuff like this. It will be fun.

This will of course also just be some of the curriculum for the "chemistry room". I will start working with the curriculum for the other rooms later.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 12:02:32 am by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 12:15:07 am »

Nope, it's not really necessary.
Chemistry is far more than knowing the molecules.
It is how these molecules are made (processes using catlytics, energy usage, when does it run haywire, what the theoretical energy  need will be, how tomstop a rampaging process,, what the molecule does in a human body, testing,...)
äAnd this building set gives a nice touchable result, but gives the wrong impression of how a molecule is actually built.
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Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2017, 12:26:01 am »

Chemistry is far more than knowing the molecules.

Of course, but you cannot teach that to a 4-5 year old. You can however teach this to a 4-5 year old, and if somebody learns these structures when they are 4-5 years old, organic chemistry is going to be a lot easier. They also learn that carbon can bind to 4, nitrogen can bind to 3, oxygen can bind to 2, halogens can bind to 1, from these molecular building kits. Many bachelor students have problems with this, and reaction mechanisms also become easier if you have a good understanding of how many molecular bonds the different elements form.

what the molecule does in a human body

Lots about how a molecule interacts with your body, is actually related to the molecular structure. And this course would be super good at teaching people what structural motifs interact with your body, because ALL these structures are bioactive. And if the kids are able to see similarities in these structures, they might even understand something about what part of the molecules are bioactive.

And this building set gives a nice touchable result, but gives the wrong impression of how a molecule is actually built.

Many of the most famous organic chemists in the world actually use molecular building kits, to visualize how molecules look 3-dimensionally. Look for example what Phil Baran is holding in his hands here:


https://www.sciencenews.org/article/phil-baran-chemist-sn-10-scientists-watch?mode=topic&context=45

Also. Molecules can be built in several different ways. There are for example 9 different synthetic pathways to Taxol (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paclitaxel_total_synthesis). The point is that it is important to know chemical structures in itself. Not just one synthetic pathway to make a molecule. They can learn "chemical structures" first, and "synthetic pathways" or "retrosynthesis" or "reaction mechanisms" much later, when they have a sufficiently developed brain to learn those things. The whole point of much of my education scheme, is to educate people at the right age. If you can learn new languages in kindergarten, it is stupid to learn them in high school. Better to use high school to learn something else, which you can't learn in kindergarten.

However, in addition to working with molecular building kits, maybe the teacher could show some experiments with acids/bases and oxidizing/reducing agents. And they should probably start with a course about the periodic table already when they are 8 years old, where they learn such basic things like the difference between halogens and alkali metals.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 02:22:00 am by Zanthius » Logged
Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2017, 05:52:46 pm »

I have drawn some basic compounds, that the children should start with before they start with the medicinal compounds. I am thinking also vitamins and amino acids, in addition to medicinal compounds.


« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 08:11:18 pm by Zanthius » Logged
Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2017, 02:05:26 am »

Finally finished with first draft of Medicinal Molecules Level 1:

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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 04:46:07 am »

Hmm. I guess some of this could be useful for kids. The common solvents, acids, and bases, say - but the medicinal molecules bit just seems complicated and unenlightening. Why do any of those molecules do that? Over 99% of that explanation lies in the biological system it's interacting with, not the molecule itself.
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Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 09:48:19 am »

Hmm. I guess some of this could be useful for kids. The common solvents, acids, and bases, say - but the medicinal molecules bit just seems complicated and unenlightening. Why do any of those molecules do that? Over 99% of that explanation lies in the biological system it's interacting with, not the molecule itself.

You are overthinking this. Sure, some of these medicinal molecules might be obsolete when the children get older, and it is a bit human-centric to focus upon molecules that interact with biological systems in an advantageous way for human beings.

But, the "common solvents", "common acids", and "common bases" are far too simple for a child's curiosity. After a while, they will feel a greater level of accomplishment by building larger and more complex structures. Most of the large complex molecules that are synthesized today, are medicinal (they usually don't get funding to make large complex non-medicinal compounds). Later, when they are older, then can also learn about how these complex medicinal molecules were synthesized, and remember back to when they made the structures with molecular building kits earlier in life.

Think of these molecules as LEGO spaceships. As a kid gets more accustomed to building simple LEGO constructions, they want to construct more complex structures. In the same way, they will have a desire to build larger more complex molecules after a while. I have started working on Medicinal Molecules Level 2.



And if they think spaceships are cool, while medicines are boring. Just tell them to imagine that a pet, relative, or friend they care about gets sick. And maybe they could save them with that medicine.

EDIT: Maybe best to not tell such cruel things to a kid. Maybe the child has used a pain killer while it had tooth pain, and you explain which molecules can take away the tooth pain.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 07:57:04 am by Zanthius » Logged
Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 01:53:11 am »

When the kids are about 8-9 years old, they should start to learn a little about basic chemistry theory. I would start with something like this.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 11:07:58 am by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2017, 07:20:10 am »

"wants" should not have an apostrophe.

In the second section heading, "noble", not "nobel".

Also, the bit about acid strength needs some caveats - this is specifically about the hydrogen halides, not acids in general.

Also, Astatine is often considered a halogen.
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Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 11:10:26 am »

"wants" should not have an apostrophe.

In the second section heading, "noble", not "nobel".

Also, the bit about acid strength needs some caveats - this is specifically about the hydrogen halides, not acids in general.

Also, Astatine is often considered a halogen.

Thanks for the feedback. I have made it a little better now. Astatine is unstable/radioactive. I also don't have Lithium, because I wanted it to be symmetrical on both sides of the noble gases.  Based on some feedback I have gotten from another source, I should introduce Big Bang nucleosynthesis, Stellar nucleosynthesis, and Supernova nucleosynthesis, before this. I should maybe also introduce basic electronics before this, so they know what a charge is.  I am thinking that the kids should make galvanic cells as an experiment when they are like 7-8 years old, and other electronics experiments.



I have made a PDF (http://archania.org/the_chemistry_of_halogens_and_alkali_metals.pdf) and HTML (http://archania.org/the_chemistry_of_halogens_and_alkali_metals.html) file for this now.

And for the "making models of medicinal molecules".  PDF: http://archania.org/making_models_of_medicinal_molecules.pdf HTML: http://archania.org/making_models_of_medicinal_molecules.html
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 07:17:33 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2017, 12:46:58 am »

I got tired of drawing tons of simple molecules, so I started with the most complex molecules. I think I am going to have less of the simple molecules, and a steeper gradient to the most complex molecules.



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Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2017, 11:14:39 pm »

More or less finished with drawing molecules. I have made one page for "common solvents, acids and bases", one for "simple medicinal molecules", one for "common medicinal molecules", and one for "complex medicinal molecules". I might add another page for "other complex molecules" later. I have put links to all of the pages here: http://www.archania.org/making_models_of_medicinal_molecules.html
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