Saturday, 25 May 2013

I never knew what I was doing and thank goodness it's over

I know this resembles a bad reenactment of the evil overlords in Dr Who planning their final invasion of earth, but trust me, it is the last session of our 8-part chemistry co-op using Ellen McHenry's excellent introduction to The Elements.

Here the happy class of six is filling in the periodic table from memory, discussing whether the best way is via Sweden.

Next, all the kids lined up to do Chocolate Challenge. Basically this is, 'You recite the entire periodic table, row by row, and I give you a bar of chocolate'. Everyone did fantastically well, so you can make of that learning experience what you will. (But rest assured it will come in handy if the EWO, LEA, PCSO and all the PTB come a-knocking at the door.)

Obviously, now we have reached the end of our fortnightly fun, we have inquired about the services of a local Chemistry tutor to take this enthusiastic mini-class through to GCSE.

Well, that didn't get us anywhere; he wanted about five thousand pounds spread over fortnightly payments, preferably in used fivers tucked into a brown envelope.

I don't know what the going rate is for private tutors, but I am left with the distinct feeling that we need to find other ways to skin this cat, preferably ways which allow me to not remortgage the house. We might, for example, stay within our community.

Either that, or blunder on, an approach that I personally am unhappy about. Chemistry is definitely that subject to which I can apply the little knowledge/dangerous thing equation. As evidenced by the following example which, I am sad to say, has been an all too-routine occurrence in these chaotic chemistry co-ops:

Student (Holding up godknowswot, probably a lump of soil in a plastic cup): What would happen if we set it on fire?
Grit: I don't know! Let's give it a try!


Big mamma frog said...

Yep, we opted for a tutored group to take ds1 to chemistry GCSE level. Even though I passed A level chemistry it is one of those subjects (like maths) that I prefered to learn by rote and spew up on an exam page than actually try to understand.

Ellen McHenry was a great precursor, though, and covered alot of the basics of GCSE. Her organic chemistry course is good, too, but sadly not as hands-on or group-friendly as The Elements.

Grit said...

excellent news, bmf! thank you for this, i need the reassurance badly right now. xx

suzywoozy said...

We managed it our selves with the text book and the help of the author's website. We missed out some of the more complicated calculations and despite not doing anything chemical beyond bicarb volcanoes before hand and it not being in DD general interest area she managed an A (much to our surprise). i did a blog to try and keep her and 2-3 friends on track. it was definitely the hardest one we have done!