It’s the holiday season at the Old School, and this means it is finally cool enough for those chemistry projects we’ve been looking forward to all year long, including those best done over a nice fire in the wood stove. Our favorite book to guide these experiments is Caveman Chemistry, by Dr. Kevin Dunn. Dr. Dunn is a chemistry professor, and a lot of other material is available at his site, cavemanchemistry.com. You may have also seen him on The History Channel’s Modern Marvels program.
This book is chock full of fun and practical, hands-on experiments, and will teach quite a bit of formal chemistry along the way. You do not need to have a chemistry background to work through the book.
At his site linked above, you can also find additional information he uses in his courses, some of which repeats material in the book.
Future chemistry projects here at the school will refer often to material in that book as a foundation, and then build on that foundation with new material or alternate ways of doing things with different materials or equipment. We highly recommend getting that book, but we’ll try to fill in some of the important gaps if you don’t have access to it.