Fascinating Chemistry (Review)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It wasn't far into my schooling that I realised that Science was a subject area that fascinated me. When contemplating careers my only prerequisites was that it had to be something medical with a science base (which most medical careers are).  Consequently I chose a degree in the school of Physics.  Zai is much like I was at that age, and so when we were offered to review a course from Fascinating Education he eagerly agreed.  We were able to choose if he wished to study Physics, Biology or Chemistry.  We chose Fascinating Chemistry because it is recommended as the best one to provide a basis for further Science studies.

Fascinating Education Review
Fascinating Chemistry is an online Chemistry course for students in grades 10-12, although younger children will certainly benefit from them.  The Fascinating Chemistry course consists of 18 different lessons.  Each lesson is approximately 20 minutes long. Fascinating Chemistry is taught by Dr. Margulies, who is a retired neurologist.  He is a well qualified teacher, as he has taught thousands of medical students in his career.  The course assumes the student has no previous knowledge & therefore presents the content from a beginners perspective.
The lesson topics included in Fascinating Chemistry are:
Lesson One - Intramolecular Bonding
Lesson Two - The Ionic Bond
Lesson Three - The Covalent Bond
Lesson Four - The Polar Covalent Bond
Lesson Five - The Metallic Bond, Part 1
Lesson Six - The Metallic Bond, Part 2
Lesson Seven - Heat
Lesson Eight - Air Pressure
Lesson Nine - Properties of Water
Lesson Ten - The Mole
Lesson Eleven - Gases
Lesson Twelve - Solutions
Lesson Thirteen - Chemical Reactions
Lesson Fourteen - Orbitals
Lesson Fifteen - Molecular Geometry
Lesson Sixteen - Electrochemistry
Lesson Seventeen - Polymers
Lesson Eighteen - The Nucleus
Within each lesson are approximately eight subtopics.  These are ordered to make the concept understandable as the lesson builds on the previous topics studied.  
Fascinating Education Review
When the Fascinating Chemistry main page is opened, the student may choose lesson.  Each lesson has the option of the script being downloaded and printed for the student.  This allows the student to follow along while the lesson is being taught.  It also provides study material for the student.  The lesson is presented completely via podcast on the website.  Each lesson includes many colourful slides which aid the student in their understanding of the topic.  Subtopics of the lesson content are included down the side of the lesson.  This allows the student & teacher to monitor the progress of the lesson.  Some students may find they like to break each lesson into smaller sections, and these allow this to easily be done. There is also a glossary to aid the student in fully understanding new terms.  The technology used is very up to date & it allows modelling of the concepts to occur within the slides.  This makes each lesson very engaging for the student. There is also a lab section which includes simple laboratory exercises for the student to complete at home.  Each lesson also includes a test which may be completed online or printed off for the student.  The online version can be completed multiple times if necessary.
Fascinating Education Review
Dave and I originally watched the sample lesson of Fascinating Chemistry to see if we thought it would be suitable for Zai.  We were both quickly engaged into the lesson and watched the whole lesson.  We felt that as long as Zai took it slowly, he would be able to complete this course.  
While Zai is much younger than the recommended age (he is 13), he has been able to understand most of the concepts being taught. This is because the teaching is very cleverly conveyed, appealing to both visual & auditory learners.  Dr. Margulies sequentially builds upon the topic giving the student ample opportunity to understand it.
Zai has been able to complete the course very independently, with simple supervision required. While I know that Zai has understood the topics (he gives an oral review of his lesson to us), he has struggled a little with the tests. Occasionally he had to have multiple attempts before passing.  I know this course is stretching him, but I believe that if he wants to pursue his intended career, then he needs these kind of challenges.
Fascinating Chemistry costs $79 (US), which allows a full years access. Bundle options with other subject areas are also available.  
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Fascinating Education Review
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