Dr. Scott Beaver’s Easy Hard Science offers a few options for learning science. He offers one-on-one sessions; live online classes; and self-paced, online video classes.
Live course offerings include classes such as Organic Chemistry, Immersive Chemistry, Writing Science Lab Reports, and Immersive Introduction to Chemistry. The self-paced, recorded classes that allow students to take a class whenever they wish include several chemistry classes and others on topics such as human anatomy. Two or more of the chemistry courses can be combined to provide a full-year chemistry course for middle school or high school, but all of the other classes serve as supplements since they focus on narrow topics and are much briefer. Most classes are available through subscriptions, but there are six free classes and some other free resources available on the website.
The grade levels for the courses vary from kindergarten through high school. These are secular classes, aligned with some state standards. (Dr. Scott suggests checking your state’s specific standards to make sure they cover what you need.) Since each class might be used at more than one grade level, you will definitely need to check how well they meet the standards for particular grade levels if that is important to you.
The focus of this review is Dr. Scott’s free, self-paced Basic Immersive Chemistry. Dr. Scott suggests using it for students in grades six through eight. There are no prerequisites for this course, and it has no math.
In this chemistry course, the main topic is the periodic table. The course covers topics such as the elements, acids, and bases. There are 65 videos with an average run time of about five minutes—a total of six hours of video. In addition, there are 11 printable PDF worksheets plus answer keys and notes. There is enough content for about one month of science.
Dr. Scott uses simple vocabulary to teach concepts, and the lessons themselves are also very easy to understand. In the videos, Dr. Scott is in a small rectangle with the background changing only a few times during each lesson.
Each of the four sections of the course has a number of lessons. At the end of each section, there is a review with note pages. For the first section, the homework is a printout of the periodic table, and Dr. Scott suggests skimming through all the videos in that section (maybe playing them at a faster speed) while circling each element on the periodic table when it is mentioned in a lesson. Dr. Scott does a good job with the review sections, providing printouts of the notes and using slides.
This class includes a video lab demonstration on the pH of acids and bases. It also has experiments where students create their own pH indicator then use it to run tests.
This free chemistry class might be especially appealing to students who struggle with math. They won’t get turned off of science because of the math. Also, it might be a good fit for auditory learners who only need a small amount of visual lesson presentation.
(Review by Nikki Farmer and Cathy Duffy)