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I thought those of you who helped me decide which way to go with our chem labs for this year might be interested to see the kit I assembled.


I spent $67 on equipment from Home Science Tools, scrounged a few left-overs from the last pass through chemistry and saved assorted small containers from household stuff. Otherwise, it's all from the dollar and grocery store. I actually spent $116, but the round number sounds better as a title.

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But no pressure, right?


No pressure :D


I spent soooooooooo many years of my life in academic chem labs (in school and then teaching) that I'm trying to envision a homeschool high school chem lab. I think I'd miss all the fancy equipment I used to use :tongue_smilie:


Seriously, I really am looking forward to reading about your year. I've been following your posts since I showed up here. :001_smile:

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I thought those of you who helped me decide which way to go with our chem labs for this year might be interested to see the kit I assembled.


So which way did you decide to go with the labs. I'm still undecided how to do the labs this year. Any hints? Help?


Also what chemicals did you end up buying?


What I really would like is for someone to send me a list of about 10 chemistry labs that they did at home that I could do,too! Save me from reinventing the wheel and going totally gray! Ha!



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So which way did you decide to go with the labs. I'm still undecided how to do the labs this year.


We're going with the lab series I pieced together from here and there.


I bought a copy of this book: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/teacher-friendly-chemistry-labs-and-activities-deanna-york/1012727951?ean=9781425930363 But I found that the majority of the suggestions were either impractical to do at home (assuming access to expensive equipment I don't have and can't buy, assuming groups of students, etc.) or so simple that I didn't think they were "enough" (cutting and pasting bits of paper).


So, I scrounged some ideas from that book, then adapted them to make them fit the supplies and equipment I either had or could afford to buy. I also spent a LOT of time online searching for ideas.


Once I had a good number of ideas, I compared the subject/goal of each one the text we're using and figured out how to more or less align them.


Finally, I cut, pasted, retyped each lab into my own document, formatting everything consistently and re-writing anything I thought could be better for us. For simple lab procedures that didn't have enough or interesting enough questions, I wrote some. When any procedure didn't have enough explanation or the way in which it related to that week's text readings wasn't obvious, I researched and wrote brief additions.


By the time I was done, I had a 92-page manual with 33 labs, some simple and others more complex.


I poked around online until I found a lab report template I thought was reasonable for our purposes, and most labs have instructions to write one and specific questions to answer.


Also what chemicals did you end up buying?


All of our chemicals came from grocery and dollar stores, which I'm sure will make some of the "real" science people sputter.


Here's what I decided: I think, for us, my goals for chem labs are for my son to learn the scientific method and science procedures (using equipment, documenting your work, designing an experiment, etc.), and some basic concepts and vocabulary (different kinds of reactions, balancing equations, chemical bonding, etc.). I would not expect a student in a first-year high school course who is not especially interested in hard science to memorize specific chemical properties.


So, I decided that it was not a priority for this year for us to invest heavily in buying obscure or expensive chemicals. I decided that I wanted to be able to devote the majority of our budget to buying equipment.


With that disclaimer, here's the list:


- acetone (nail polish remover)

- sodium carbonate (washing soda)

- acetic acid, dilute (white vinegar)

- calcium chloride (DampRid)

- sodium borate (borax)

- ammonium hydroxide (household ammonia)

- magnesium sulfate (epsom salt)

- isopropyl alcohol

- hydrogen peroxide


And, of course:

- sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)


I'm still looking for the sodium hydroxide (drain cleaner). I saw it at the local grocery store the day I went scouting to see if this plan was workable, but I can't find it now that I'm buying. I still have a couple of weeks before we need it, though. So, I'll find it before then.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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When you get a chance, would you mind listing what's in it, pretty please?


Can you give us a list of the items in your chem set ?


Sorry, ladies. Life got busy, and I hadn't had a chance to come back and answer this question.


I listed the chemicals above.


In terms of equipment, the set has:


Beaker, glass, 100 ml

Glass Beaker Set, 5 pieces

Grad. cylinder, poly, 10 ml

Grad. cylinder, poly, 50 ml

Grad. cylinder, poly, 100 ml

Filter paper, 11 cm diameter, 100 sheets

Flask, Erlenmeyer, 100 ml

Flask, Erlenmeyer, 250 ml

Wire gauze, ceramic center, 5"

Alcohol lamp & stand set

Pipet, disposable, 5 ml, 10 pack

Stirring rod, glass, 10" long

Rubber stopper, #0, 1-hole

Tongs, crucible

Test tube rack, 6 holes

Test tubes, large 16x150 mm 2/pack

Test tubes, small 13x100 mm 6/pack

Litmus paper, red, 100 strips

Alligator clip leads, 2/pack

Iron, metal electrode, 4"

Thermometers, 2



The largest graduated cylinder, one thermometer, the small Erlenmeyer and the goggles were left over from our previous run through chemistry. Everything else was ordered from HST for $67.19 including shipping.


My $116 total also includes all of the "common household items" you usually have to provide in addition to the kit:



Table salt

Kosher salt

Steel wool


Plastic baggies

Aluminum foil




9-volt batteries

Rubber bands

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