The Montessori method is known for introducing children to advanced topics at an early age, and that includes providing opportunities to study chemistry for kids!
You may have already started exploring chemistry with your kids at home or in the classroom without even knowing it. In Montessori, we start with some of the most basic principles of chemistry in the primary or pre-school years when we get to see the mixing of colors, or the way soap helps us clean our dishes after lunchtime.
Chemistry in the Elementary Years
As we grow into the elementary years, we dive deeper and deeper into how those interactions (or reactions!) take place. This starts by exploring what happens when different things interact.
Do they mix or stay separate? Do they react? What if they explode? (Be careful here! Combining random household items sounds like a fun way to explore chemistry for kids, but it might not turn out as smoothly as you think … always do your research before trying a new experiment).
While we mix things, we start to notice the different characteristics of the things we mix. In other words, we start to notice more and more about the different properties of matter. There are physical properties like the states of matter, viscosity, and density, and there are chemical properties like reactivity or the ability to burn.
The more and more we learn about all of these different interactions and different substances, the deeper we can get into why they take place, and what makes the substances behave the way they do. We go from things that seem really tiny like sand particles or iron filings, to things that are reeeeaaallllyyyyyy tiny like atoms and elements. They are so tiny, we cannot even see them with a microscope.
FREE Chemistry Nomenclature
When chemistry concepts become so tiny that you can’t see them with a microscope, you’ll need some help with visualization. This is where the free chemistry nomenclature cards from Montessori Laboratory come into play. With in-depth illustrations on the inner workings of an atom and beautiful pictures that connect the abstract elements to their real-world uses, you can start advancing your child’s knowledge of chemistry. The world only becomes more vast and amazing from there.
How to Use Chemistry Nomenclature to Explore Even Further
If you enjoy working with the Parts of an Atom, or the 10 Most Abundant Elements in the Universe cards, we have a few suggestions to keep the excitement going around chemistry for kids:
- Make a flyer advertising one of the 10 elements you find the most interesting. You can even choose a different one from the 118 elements on the periodic table.
- Try making your own “periodic table of _____.” The periodic table is a special way that the elements are organized based on patterns. Could there be a periodic table of fruits? What about a periodic table of reptiles?
- Create your own model of an atom with paints, toothpicks, clay, puffy pompoms, or anything you can think of. If you want an extra challenge, try making a model with moving electrons.
Chemistry is all about the elements that make up the world around us – how things interact with each other, how they change, and how their energy moves around through the Universe. Although baking soda and vinegar can be a fun part of learning about chemistry for kids, it doesn’t stop there! If atoms and elements are calling to your child, we encourage you to keep exploring. And if you’re not so sure about the more abstract side of chemistry yet, a Montessori Laboratory membership can help guide you through.