Firecracker is a science oriented kid. He loves and can understand so much of it that it often surprises me. So, when we received the opportunity to do a review for Fascinating Education, I thought it would be a great opportunity for Firecracker to audit a more challenging level course. We received access to the Fascinating Chemistry course for him to try out.
About the Course
Fascinating Chemistry is an eighteen lesson introductory chemistry course that focuses on the four types of bonds that atoms can make between each other: ionic bonds, covalent bonds, polar covalent bonds, and metallic bonds. Once the student had studied all these methods of bonding, then they are able to see how those bonds affect the properties that the molecules have and the way substances interact in our world.
For example, in the lesson covalent bonds, one of my and Firecracker’s big takeaways was about fatty acid chains. The instructor explains at length how unsaturated fats differ from saturated fats and as all the lectures are accompanied by animations and still shots that play as the instructor talks, I can now visually see why saturated fats clog our arteries and unsaturated fats do not clog the arteries.
Each lesson can be divided into smaller pieces of lecture by the “catching our breath” segments and using just one segment as one class session. There are also multiple choice tests with each lesson, occasional problems worked into the material and many lessons that contain lab experiments to complete.
As Dr. Margulies speaks, your student is free to watch and take notes for later study before their test. Although this is a full size science course, it is packed to the brim with information and each lesson’s lecture is probably only 45 minutes to 1 hour. A motivated high schooler could easily complete the course in 40 hours or less.
How We Used This Course
We usually broke each lecture into two or three pieces. There are easily labeled slides called “catching our breath” where Dr. Margulies stops to review what he’s just covered on the previous slides. We would also test on a separate day and complete a lab (if any) in a separate day, meaning that each lesson would take us around 1 week, depending on how many days per week Firecracker used the program.
Using this schedule, as a middle schooler, could complete the course in a little over half a year if he continues at this pace.
Our Opinion on this Course
This course is jam-packed with information. Even at our slow pace, Firecracker had difficulty retaining all the information he needed to retain until test day. However, Firecracker is only ten years old, and most students would would be completing the high school chemistry in this course would be at least 3 to 4 years older than him, so I didn’t feel bad about his lack of retention.
However, despite his lack of retention, Firecracker enjoyed watching and listening to segments of the lectures. He was excited about the science that he was learning. He had his periodic table book pulled out and was more interested in the elements and other aspects of chemistry as he went through the course. He got the point of the experiments we did and he enjoyed completing them. He didn’t understand the whole lessons, but he had some great takeaways that he learned from each lesson.
As a parent, this isn’t the course for him at this point because some of it is over his head, but he wants to listen and learn and he is learning from the lessons and experiments. I’m just pleased at how watching the lessons has reignited a love for chemistry that had been dormant for a year or two, so I would highly recommend this course for your mature middle school or high school student.