Wednesday, May 19, 2010

AP Exam Help: Chemistry

For those of you with ambitious and brainy students, homeschooled or not, check out the latest DVD’s from Cerebellum Corporation, the folks that produce Standard Deviants  DVD’s. As part of the TOS Crew, I was sent a copy of their Light Speed Chemistry AP Exam Prep DVD.
This DVD is not a chemistry course, but it is an efficient way for your student to hit the main points needed to study for the AP chemistry exam. The DVD features teenage actors/students that give a rapid fire approach to what can be expected in the exam. These are professional, non-cheesy actors, I might add (since I have a hard time getting past the corn-ball factor in low budget films). The entire DVD is professionally done and very engaging, even for someone like myself that hasn’t taken a day of chemistry...nor do I plan to have to personally teach it to my children (that’s what a co-op is for, right?).
But, l digress...

The Chemistry AP Exam Prep DVD features 25 minutes of testing taking tips, helping students know how to pace themselves, when to skip questions, and how to spot tricky wording etc. The instruction then goes over 30 of the main chemistry concepts in 30 minutes. Complete with graphics to help illustrate the explanations, this portion should likely be viewed several times in order to really grasp the points. Covering topics such as chemical bonding (sounds dangerous!), atomic theory and structure (yikes!), stoichiometry (huh?), and more! 
Along with the DVD, there is also an accompanying CD-rom that includes a digital workbook with lesson plans, worksheets and quizzes! This helpful set is just a teeny weeny investment of $14.95 (but is currently on sale on their website for just $11.24). They also carry AP Exam prep for History, English Language and Composition, and U.S. Government and politics. They also carry a ton of other videos for a plethora of subjects. Check it all out by clicking here!

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.