Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Year Five Astronomy

Year Five have just started learning about astronomy.  Next week, both classes are off to the Carter Observatory for a visit.
We have started our first sessions looking at the planets and trying to get some appreciation for how far away they are.  The boys have enjoyed looking at the distances between planets and writing their own mnemonics for learning the order of the planets.  We used our new Solar System Mapping tool and went outside to have a look at the order of the planets and the distances from the sun.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

NIWA Wellington Science and Technology Fair

On Thursday 28th August 25 boys from Year 7 and 8 went into Victoria University to have their entries judged in the regional science fair.
Throughout the morning various judges wandered around and discussed different aspects of the boys investigations.
It was a valuable experience for all of the boys and they represented Wellesley and themselves well.

A huge thank you to Mr Harris for stepping in and helping out on the morning and taking the above photos for me.  Thank you also to Mr McKenna who also stayed on at the University and all of the other parents who helped make my hectic morning so much easier!

The following day the results were announced on the Science Fair website.
Congratulations to the following boys;
Alex McKenna      
The Flexural Strength f Concrete
OPUS International Consultants Prize
Highly Commended

Rahul Vijayasenan
Can Certain Foods Truly Prevent Tooth Decay?
Wellington Medical Research Foundation

Kyle Foo
Two Eyes; One Image; 3D Vision
NZ Association of Optometrists - Wellington Branch

Bede Brown
What Effect Does a Marine Reserve have on the Paua Population?
NIWA Prize

Monday, 25 August 2014

Visit from Campbell Live

Today we got an unexpected visit from Dan and Billy from Campbell Live.  This week they are doing a series of interviews with kids from around Wellington who are entering the NIWA Wellington Science and Technology Fair.

Toby and Tim were interviewed about their  mousetrap catapult investigation.  The boys got to explain why they chose their topic and then got to fire their catapults across the room for the camera.  Nerves aside, it was fun and an interesting experience for them.

Dan also interviewed Bede who won our school competition.  He looked into the impact the Taputeranga Marine Reserve has had on the paua population and compared his results with the paua living outside of the reserve.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


 After the all of the science learning around the school last term, it’s been fun to get into some technology and lots of robotics.

In the junior syndicate, classes have been coming to the science room and we’ve been making periscopes.  The boys have found it quite challenging but they’ve been determined to do a good job and as a result, they’ve been really pleased with how their periscope has turned out.  They’ve had to measure, stick, cut, score and tape really carefully and accurately.  They seem to have really enjoyed this and it was great to tie it in with the anniversary of the start of World War 1.  We talked about how the soldiers used periscopes in the trenches and more recently, their use in submarines. 

Classes are enjoying their sessions with the robotics.  Some classes are just starting and others are having a second round of sessions.  7/8T have really made the most of the creative side of the robotics so after a series of challenges, they convinced me that a battle would be great.  Typical boy stuff!  So we planned a tournament where pairs of robots would challenge each other.  The students had to programme their robot to move continuously around the ‘battle field’ and they had to programme a touch sensor so that when their robot hit a wall, it would reverse back and then turn around and move off in a different direction.   Needless to say, it was a very noisy and very fun session.  I’m sure they could hear us from down on Williams Park! 

This term has also seen the start of the Science Club.  Just click on the link at the top right of this page to see more.  It would be really great to have more parents involved, either as a helper or someone to lead a session.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.  You might just like to come along to have a look before offering to help!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Our Science Fair Evening and Finalists

At the end of the term we had a fantastic afternoon and evening where everyone in the school had some science work on display.  Parents and family members came along to have a look and celebrate our science learning.
There were lots of displays in junior and middle syndicates classes and it was obvious the boys had lots of fun finding out about an area of science.

In the evening we had our science night.  We had a guest speaker, Megan, who is a scientist who works at Whittakers Chocolate Factory.  She has the great job of creating new flavours.  The boys found her very interesting and she made it obvious how science that is done at school does lead on to careers in science.

Megan also helped to present our senior school science finalists with their certificates and prizes.

Congratulations to Bede Brown who got 1st place, Andrew Sutcliffe 2nd place and Alex McKenna and Louis Stevens 3rd equal.  Congratulations to the other 23 students who will all go on to represent Wellesley at the Wellington Regional Science and Technology Fair.

Megan with our winners.

Bede's winning Science Fair investigation.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Launching the School Science Data Base and Science Club

Last night we celebrated science in our school.  We had a wonderful evening where the boys from Year 4 to 8 got to share their science with their parents and families.
The senior school got to celebrate their finalists and the winners were announced.
We had a wonderful night and more on this will follow in the next day or two.

I announced the launch of our school science and technology data base.

I'm looking for parents who may be able to help out in the following ways
*  They might have a science/technology occupation that they could come and talk to the students about to help support our classroom programmes.
*  They might work in a science/technology based area and might be able to have groups or classes come to visit.

* Come and take a lunchtime session with our science club.

You don't need to be a scientist - just someone who has an interest or passion about something to do with science or technology.  The sorts of things could range from teaching the boys the process for bread making, take us for a walk through the bush and teach us about the native trees, wander down to the beach and talk about the geological features around our harbour, a neat little experiment, how to make cool bubbles, teach us something that you know about such as static electricity, our planet, veges, forces, share a rock collection, - the possibilities are endless!
A teacher will always be present so all you need to do is share your passion with the keen kids who form our science club.  Our lunch times run from 12.30 to 1.20.  At this stage the club looks like it will be on a Wednesday but there is flexibility if you can't make that day!

Please don't hesitate to contact me:  jo@wellesley.school.nz
Let me know if you might be keen to
* come and speak to classes about what you do
* possibly have groups or classes visit your work place
* take a session with our science club

Friday, 30 May 2014

Science Investigations Continue

Everyone is well into conducting their own science investigations in the lead up to our Science Night at the end of the term.

Some of the classes conducted a fair test into what types of materials absorb oil the most.  We looked at the Rena and the impact it had on the local coastline.  It was a rather messy investigation but we found some surprising results!

We finished with a couple of experiments that I knew would appeal to boys - making film cannister rockets and finding out if expensive lollies taste nicer than cheaper ones!  It was lots of fun making the rockets, all you need is a little film cannister (the white ones work the best), baking soda and vinegar.  The boys were quite surprised at how high they went.

Surprisingly, and quite often the opposite to boys hypothesis, most classes found that Homebrand Jetplanes taste just as good as Pascall Jetplanes.   When we compared Pineapple Lumps, the results varied so we learnt that it's always good to try a  few different things as without repeat testing, we may not always get a true reflection of the results.

It's also been exciting to see students beginning to use our new 3D printer.  A couple of the senior boys designed a tower which will form part of their wind turbine that they are using in their science fair investigation.  Great to see it up and running!

Monday, 19 May 2014

National Science Week

Last week was National Science Week.  One of my favourite weeks.  I like to think of it as an opportunity to show as many kids as possible, how much fun science can be.
This year, I decided to have a focus on dry ice.  Normally dry ice isn't seen at a primary school, but after attending a session at Victoria University, and going over lesson ideas with the experts at BOC, I decided it would be worth having a go, and it would be lots of fun!

We talked lots about what dry ice is, how its made, how it freezes your warts! and where it comes from.

Because of the safety issue and the wide range of ages, I decided to lead the activities and rope in as many helpers as I could.  Dangers and safety ideas explained, we were ready to explore dry ice.  Each boy also got to wear a nifty little pair of $1 gloves - not amazing protection at all, but something to remind them about their hands and not touching the dry ice.  It certainly worked, not one boy picked up the ice.  Well done guys!

With a range of classes visiting throughout the day, we got to try all sorts of different experiments.  The boys also got to suggest trying different things so out came the bubble mix and the food colouring.

We made small bubbles filled with gas, we made big bubbles filled with gas, we made spoons sing, we froze leaves so they cracked and crumbled like chippies, we made our own little fire extinguisher which put out a candle and we experimented with water of different temperatures.  We had fun!

Where did the ideas come from?
Steve Spangler always has lots of fun with science and his website has lots of ideas and links to fun YouTube clips.  How to make a big bubble  and other cool experiments!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Fair Testing in the Middle School

The middle school have started to look at how to conduct a science investigation and what makes a fair test.
This is part of  the lead up to our Science Fair at the end of this term.

Years five and six have completed a fair testing looking into what is the best liquid to help prevent an apple from going brown.  They tested a variety of solutions, and in the end the results generally showed that lemon juice worked the best as the apple stayed white, without going brown at all.  I think part of the fun of the investigation was being allowed to eat their results at the end!

Year four have been investigating substances which make ice melt the fastest.  They conducted a fair test, sprinkling different substances onto ice and recording how fast the ice cubes melt.  It was really great to see them working just like scientists, making clear observations, working systematically and forming conclusions based on what their results showed them.  Well done year four!

Year fours second investigation looked into what material makes a good insulator.  We learnt lots of new vocabulary and each student got to use their own thermometer, a new skill for many of the boys.