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.

Light and Colour with Year Two

Science is all go at Wellesley this term.  Every class is participating in a range of science activities both in their own class and in the science room.
Year Two have started a few sessions looking at light and colour.  Their first challenge was to learn about mirrors and reflections.  Each boy was given a mirror and had to look into it and follow the line.  They soon realised that the mirror shows images in reverse!

Next session we're hoping for some sunshine so we can investigate shadows - otherwise it will be out with the torches!