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Author Topic: How to teach chemistry to kids  (Read 455 times)
Scalare
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2017, 12:53:24 am »

Looks like you're taking away all the fun in learning chemistry. Where's the cool experiments? Smiley
Also, that skeletal notation you're using is more confusing than the standard full notation.
And why the focus on medicine and not on clean energy and plastics for example? Smiley
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Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2017, 06:35:35 pm »

Also, that skeletal notation you're using is more confusing than the standard full notation.

The way I have drawn the molecules is the most standardized way, and also the way that gives you the best overview of a molecule. All organic chemists draw molecules like that.

But!!!! It isn't the most EDUCATIONAL way to draw molecules. That is the Lewis structure (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_structure).

Of course! Kids shouldn't just make models of all the medicinal molecules. They should also draw the Lewis structures. What a great idea!

Here is the Lewis structure of Aspirin:



And why the focus on medicine and not on clean energy and plastics for example? Smiley

Plastics are polymers, which are repeating structures, much like a carpet pattern. Here is the structure of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC):



Compare that to Vinchristine, a medicinal molecule used against cancer:



I think it will be much more fun (and difficult) to make Vinchristine, and it will give kids a greater sense of accomplishment.

But nevertheless, I might make a page about polymers, since they are very common.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 06:39:37 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2017, 07:14:38 pm »

I still use chemistry in my daily life, but never the complex medicinal molecules Wink.
But you intend on teaching kids just the complex stuff not the things that could save them from household disasters?
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Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2017, 07:58:41 pm »

Looks like you're taking away all the fun in learning chemistry. Where's the cool experiments? Smiley

I made it with hearts now. More fun?



http://www.archania.org/the_chemistry_of_halogens_and_alkali_metals.html
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 12:10:49 am by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2017, 08:36:07 pm »

They should make explosions in the classroom themselves. Instead of watching heartshaped representations of experiments Wink.
Or atleast learn why soap works or why you can't mix certain cleaning products, or how to prevent yourself from dying of carbon monoxide poisoning, or why cola cleans rust, or how co2 leakage can kill you, or how a battery works etc etc etc.
Those are all useful chemistry applications.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 04:39:28 am by Scalare » Logged
Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2017, 12:30:16 pm »

I agree completely with you that we need to focus mostly on experiments, especially when kids are very young. However, as they grow older, they should also learn a bit of theory.
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2017, 03:03:38 pm »

In chemistry, without a decent amount of theory, the experiments are just confusing.
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2017, 04:55:39 pm »

In chemistry, without a decent amount of theory, the experiments are just confusing.

I don't think so. Even the cleaning lady knows she shouldn't mix certain cleaning products, and she also knows that not burning gas completely can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, but I doubt that she has ever had a chemistry class in school in which it is explained why that happens.
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2017, 03:14:49 am »

That's training, not education. You train for a uniform response to a predictable situation (e.g. encountering incompatible cleaners). You are educated to have an informed intelligent response to unpredictable situations. The latter is far harder.
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Zanthius
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2017, 12:20:51 pm »

I have now added instructions to draw the Lewis structures of the different molecules:



http://archania.org/learning_motivated_by_curiosity_and_a_sense_of_accomplishment.html
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 12:30:51 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2017, 12:57:20 pm »

That's training, not education. You train for a uniform response to a predictable situation (e.g. encountering incompatible cleaners). You are educated to have an informed intelligent response to unpredictable situations. The latter is far harder.

Yes. Or to learn the general rules behind the particulars, instead of memorizing all the particulars. Unfortunately, lots of modern education is training. For example, when a student learns to use a flash chromatography column, they learn to do it in the same way as the teacher and everybody before. Unfortunately, this is not the optimal way to do it.

A friend of mine that has no university education, is interested in isolating CBD and THC from marijuana plants. I showed him how to construct a flash column that will be much better than the ones they use at universities. He understood the general rules immediately, and since he is a practical person, he knows how to build it more or less by himself.

The funny thing is that he might be able to mass produce these modular and expandable flash columns and sell them to universities, even though he has no university education himself.

I think it is extremely important to let students figure out solutions to problems themselves, with a bit of guidance. Otherwise they will just copy their teachers, without getting an in-depth understanding.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 02:33:29 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: How to teach chemistry to kids
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2017, 07:55:24 pm »

That's training, not education. You train for a uniform response to a predictable situation (e.g. encountering incompatible cleaners). You are educated to have an informed intelligent response to unpredictable situations. The latter is far harder.

You're right, that's my non-native English brain getting in the way of properly understanding you and explaining myself.
I know having an informed intelligent response to unpredictable situations is far harder, I think the best example would be if we were all to be on a spaceship together, who would be the savior of the ship when things go awry, the student with a PhD in rocket science, or the veteran engineer who has worked on spaceships all his life?

It is my philosophy to see all people as equally able to contribute something to society, and I think people tend to underestimate the awesome power of the human brain greatly. Regardless of what education you have, you have a wonderful statistical machine inside of you with a lifetime of data giving you a 'gut feeling' that can make you do the right thing in a few seconds without even having to actively think about it. That is the reason why humans evolved to be so successul. And with education added to it, we can stand upon the shoulders of our peers and ancestors, getting better and better at solving daily life's problems.

Still, intelligence and a great memory will get you a long way, but what I find lacking in even the most intelligent people is curiosity. They live perfectly well in a world where they are told what to learn, and learn it perfectly. Then they think they get a sticker or something. But when these people don't have the curiosity to look beyond what they have learned, they will likely be less succesful than less intelligent people with more curiosity, who dare to think outside of the box.
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