The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 7

Notes and Lesson Plans

Not Working with a Chemistry Kit
updated January 13, 2023

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your seventh grade year. Enjoy!

Mission Statement - Consulting Services - Lending Library

Not Working with a Chemistry Kit
for Class 8

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Chemistry.

FREE eBooks at the Online Waldorf Library
Excellent resource! Published Waldorf curriculum books provided here in PDF format for you to download, keep, and read... for free!

Sample Lessons and Free Curriculum

Other Helpful Resources

The Essential Books to Buy

Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle:
With Guides to Lectures, Teaching Guides & Student Activities

by William S. Hammack

watch the five Faraday lectures at
*** you can also download this entire book for free as a PDF ***

The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry:
24 Experiments for Young Scientists

by Sean Connolly

The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements:
With Big Beautiful Photographs of All 118 Elements in the Periodic Table

by Theodore Gray

I know this is a deck of cards and not a book, but it's truly essential to this block!

I've been really intimidated by teaching "real" Chemistry (as opposed to the Organic Chemistry: Food & Nutrition block) for years and only attempted it with my third child going through 8th grade.

I don't know if it was the long supply lists full of chemicals or the idea of working with fire or what... but I was pretty freaked out!!

Finally, I bit the bullet and purchased a partially-used chemistry kit, the Thames & Kosmos CHEM C3000, from another Waldorf homeschooling family.

If you want a kit, this really is a great one.

I don't know why, but just knowing that I owned the kit made me feel better and so we very slowly waded our way into Chemistry. Turned out that we didn't even need that kit! I actually had plenty of stuff on hand already, and the more we tried out the activities, the more I began to love this block!

All of a sudden it felt like every interesting thing in our house was Chemistry (slime, soapmaking)... and we had permission to do it all!

Here are my notes about what Becca and I did together. We spread this topic out throughout the second half of the school year -- instead of condensing it into a single main lesson block -- as one strategy for helping me feel less stressed out. The idea of being organized and ready for a month of Chemistry was too overwhelming for me. As always, I hope my honesty is helpful to others!

I've rearranged the order, having now done the activities, to be the order I recommend for them. If you have other suggestions for homeschool Chemistry resources that feel doable, please share.

First - Introduction

Second - MudWatt Microbes Fuel Cell

Third - Faraday's Lectures & Follow-Up Experiments

  • Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle by Bill Hammack & Don DeCoste

    NOTE: You can buy this book at Amazon at the link above or download the complete book as a PDF for free on Bill Hammack's website

    • Prior to Lecture 1

      School as a Journey by Torin Finser (pages 176-177)
      Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle (pages 141-143)

    • Observations of a Candle activities
      from Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle
      "Questions & experiments" (pages 143-146)

      • What happens if you cover the lit candle with a glass?
      • Try this again, but before the flame goes out, lift the glass. What happens?
      • What happens if you put two lit candles under the glass? Do they both go out at the same time? Do they go out more quickly, less quickly, or in the same amount of time as one candle? Does it matter if one candle is taller than the other?
      • What happens if you cover the flame to put it out, relight, and then cover it with the same glass? Is it different if you use a fresh glass? Have the students cover a flame with a glass, let the flame go out, and then take off the glass and place it mouth side down on the table. Relight, and recover with the glass. See what happens to the time it takes to go out as you continue to do this.
      • Does the size of the glass affect how long it takes for a candle to go out?
    • read Burn: Michael Faraday's Candle by Darcy Pattison

    • Lecture 1 - A Candle: Sources of Its Flame
      YouTube video (11:47)
    • Follow-up to Lecture 1
      Capillary Action activities
      from Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle
      "Moving water from one beaker to another" (page 155)
      "Blooming flowers" (page 156)

      Becca had never done "Blooming flowers" before and totally loved it!

      For a more exciting / challenging version of "Moving water from one beaker to another," try Asia Citro's "What kind of paper makes a rainbow the fastest?"
      (The Curious Kid's Science Book, pages 74-75)

    • Lecture 2 - Brightness of the Flame
      have a piece of charcoal on hand
      YouTube video (13:44)

    • Lecture 3 - Products of Combustion
      YouTube video (15:43)
    • Follow-up to Lecture 3
      Physical Changes: Changes of State activities
      from Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle (pages 171-175)
      including "Water as liquid & vapor" and "Water as solid, liquid & vapor"

      Pyrex lab equipment: watch glass 150 mm diameter, stirring rod, 600 mL beaker

      glass thermometer in Celsius, -20 to 150°C

    • read "Introduction" and "Chapter 1: Hydrogen" from The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry by Sean Connolly, do "Experiment 1: Get to Know an Atom" on page 8
    • read "Chapter 2: Helium" from The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry by Sean Connolly, do "Experiment 2: Hey, Cool It!" on page 16
    • The Big Ideas of Chemistry: The Particulate Nature of Matter activities
      from Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle (pages 125-134)
      including "Helping students 'see' atoms in everyday life," "Relationship of motion to temperature," "Physical changes versus chemical changes," and "Cohesion & adhesion: Intermolecular attraction"
    • Molecules are "Sticky" activities
      from Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle (pages 161-169)
      including "How many drops of H2O can fit on a penny?," "Hanging drops of water," "Moving water," and "Water vs. alcohol: which is 'stickier'?" as well as the "Water down a string demo" from the Teacher's Guide

      Instead of taping wax paper to a piece of cardboard, Becca came up with the idea of opening up, flattening, and using the inside of a 1/2 gallon juice carton. Nice job!

    • do Solids and Liquids experiments from Awesome Physics Experiments for Kids by Erica l. Colón

      • "Mini Snack Bag: What happens when you heat an empty chip bag?" on page 39
      • "Sneaky Surface: How does water defy the laws of gravity when turned upside down in an open jar?" on page 42

        We used the Animals jar from the Waseca Biomes Parts of the Biome Jars.

      • "Egg-Streme Foam: How can you make instant foam from egg whites?" on page 44

    • Lecture 4 - The Nature of the Atmosphere
      YouTube video (19:59)
    • Follow-up to Lecture 4
      Convection Currents & Density activities
      from Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle
      "Convection currents" (page 147)
      "Convection currents in water" (pages 153-154)
    • do Heat experiments from Awesome Physics Experiments for Kids by Erica l. Colón

      • "Underwater Candle: How can you keep a candle burning under water?" on page 83
      • "Heat-Resistant Balloon: What can keep a balloon from popping when held in a flame?" on page 84

    • for more fun with Air Pressure, try

    • Lecture 5 - Respiration & its Analogy to the Burning of a Candle
      YouTube video (21:06)

Fourth - Climate Change

Fifth - Chemical vs. Physical Changes

Sixth - Balancing Equations

Seventh - Periodic Table of the Elements

  • build the first 20 elements using the ETC Montessori Atom Board (with beads) and the Montessori Research & Development First 20 Elements three part cards
  • read "Chapter 3: Boron" from The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry by Sean Connolly, do "Experiment 3: A Star is Boron" on page 26, read Chapter 1 of Secrets of Slime Recipe Book: 30 Projects for Stretchable, Squishy, Sensory Fun! by Jackie Houston and look at how and why she makes all of her recipes borax-powder free, choose a slime recipe to try

    Becca chose

      Toxic Waste Slime, page 21

      Jelly Cube Slime, page 29

      Gooey Water Bead Slime, page 39

      Chalkboard Slime, page 47

  • read "Chapter 4: Carbon" from The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry by Sean Connolly, look at The Carbon Cycle in the Waseca Biomes material, use Theodore Gray's The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements to lay out the entire periodic table (in a fun nod to page 37, leave out the element Germanium initially)

    use graphite to light up an LED

  • read "Chapter 5: Nitrogen" from The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry by Sean Connolly, look at The Nitrogen Cycle in the Waseca Biomes material, watch the TED talk A Simple Solution to the Coming Phosphorus Crisis by Mohamed Hijri (13:38)

    Note: I've also made the materials for this feltboard lesson on the Nitrogen cycle and it is fun to sew and so wonderfully hands-on!

    Montessori and the Nitrogen Cycle blog post
    featuring the 48 inch wide Backyard Biome tapestry which we wove in class

  • read "Chapter 6: Oxygen" from The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry by Sean Connolly, do "Experiment 6: Global Cooling" on page 60, do "Experiment 7: On the Trail of Cavendish" on page 64
  • read "Chapter 7: Fluorine"
    do "Experiment 8: Try the Fluorine Tooth Test" on page 74
  • read "Chapter 8: Neon"
    do "Experiment 9: Even Neon Gets Excited" on page 84
  • read "Chapter 9: Sodium"
    do "Experiment 10: Hot Ice" on page 94
  • read "Chapter 10: Magnesium"
    do "Experiment 11: Trick Birthday Candles" on page 106
    do "Experiment 12: Crackpot Crystals" on page 108

    use litmus paper to explore acids & bases (discussed on page 103)
    you can also make your own Red Cabbage Litmus Paper
    or even just use the cabbage juice to identify acids and bases

    for more fun with pH, consider making kombucha

  • read "Chapter 11: Aluminum"
    do "Experiment 13: Curses - Foiled Again!" on page 118
  • read "Chapter 12: Silicon"
    do "Experiment 14: Don't Sand So Close to Me" on page 128
    do "Experiment 15: Fast-Track Fossils" on page 132

    for more on Silicon as the possible basis of extraterrestrial life,
    view Stephen Hawking's Alien Constituents video (the entire series of Hawking's Into the Universe is well worth watching; "Alien Constituents" is part 7)

  • read "Chapter 13: Phosphorus"
    do "Experiment 16: Playing Cat Detective" on page 142

    in our mixed age homeschool co-op, we did the Phosphorus cycle when we did the Farming & Gardening block

    here is a Nutrients for Life Foundation video (pro Big Ag) on Phosphorus mining

    here is a TED talk on A simple solution to the coming Phosphorus crisis using fungi (fungi are not mentioned in the fertilizer video, nor are the facts that we are running out of Phosphorus and most Phosphorus put on the fields is wasted)

  • read "Chapter 14: Sulfur"
    do "Experiment 17: Save That Silver!" on page 150
    draw electrical circuits with special conductive silver ink
  • read "Chapter 15: Chlorine"
    do "Experiment 18: 'I'll Have an Egg Float'" on page 160
  • read "Chapter 16: Calcium"
    do "Experiment 19: Not Such a Softie" on page 170
    The Chemistry of the Limestone Cycle lesson from Live Education!

    field trip to visit a limestone cave
    (Cave-in-Rock State Park in IL, Mammoth Cave National Park in KY)

  • read "Chapter 17: Iron"
    do "Experiment 20: Burning Iron" on page 180
  • read "Chapter 18: Copper"
    view NOVA'S "Iceman Murder Mystery" documentary by PBS
    do "Experiment 21: May the Force be With You" on page 188
  • read "Chapter 19: Zinc"
    do "Experiment 22: Did You Wind the Potato Clock?" on page 198

      or "A Five-Cent Flashlight: How can you make a flashlight with pennies?" from Awesome Physics Experiments, page 49

      "Static Goo: What makes goo attracted to a balloon?" on page 53 is also good for an exploration of positive, negative, and neutral charges

      revisit MudWatt: Grow a Living Fuel Cell from the beginning of the block

  • read "Chapter 20: Tin"
    do "Experiment 23: Is That a Tin 'Tin Can'?" on page 206
    do "Experiment 24: Bonus Activity: Because You're Worth It" on page 208
  • read "The Dirty Dozen"
  • play games such as Elements Bingo and Periodic Table Battleship to round out the block

Blog posts from teaching this topic in Science Club in 2019:

More helpful posts:

Affiliate links through Amazon cover domain registration, web hosting, and website backup fees. This allows me to offer
my materials for free. Any extra revenue is used as our homeschool budget for the month. Thank you for your support!

Waldorf Curriculum Copyright ©2006-2024