Science Club

Fun Science website

The Childrens University of Manchester have created a wonderful website with a big science focus.  There's loads of information plus a very cool challenge called Passport to Learning.  Students have to use the website to find information and complete tasks.  The more tasks you do, the more stamps you collect which they email to you and then you can collect the stamps to fill your passport.
Why not check it out?

Exploding Mines and Team Building

A group of Year 5 and 6 boys spent their lunch time having fun on Williams Park with Kevin, a parent with a background in explosives.  He came along and created a scenario for the boys where each team had to disarm a mine without touching the ground and possibly setting off another one.

 Each team had fun trying to work out how to reach the mine without falling off the wooden beams. They also had great fun hassling the other teams when someone fell in!

Thanks very much Kevin for showing the boys that science is all around us.  We talked about forces, levers and the difference it makes when you move the fulcrum.  After exploring a few different ideas, the boys began to work together and use their science thinking to find a solution.  Well done!

Robotics and Coding with Henry

This lunch time we were very fortunate to have Henry from Victoria University come along and speak to any interested students about robotics and engineering.
Over 40 students between Years 4 and 8 turned up to hear what he had to say.  The boys had lots of questions for him and learnt all about engineering at Victoria University and all of the different jobs that work together to make and programme a robot.  He talked about how great he thought it was that we are all learning coding and using Scratch and he really encouraged the boys to continue this.

It was a really valuable experience for the students who came along.  They got to hear from a real expert, someone who has been to Wellington College and then onto university.  Far better to hear this sort of information from Henry than from me!  After this talk, he let the boys have a go at controlling the robot which they were all keen to do.

Thanks to Futureinech who linked Henry up with our school.  Hopefully next year we'll have a few more interesting scientists and engineers come out to school to share their experiences and expertise with us.

Looking Up Close

This week the Science Club got to have a good play and investigate all sorts of things using the microscopes and magnifying glasses.  

I had put out a few different slides for the boys to look at, but it didn't take long before they were coming up with their own things to look at; spit, jerseys, bugs and lots of things out of the storeroom including salt and icing sugar.  Boys were told they were welcome to leave at anytime but it was great to see that most of them stayed the whole time and they had lots of fun while being absolutely amazed at what they saw.  I think the most interesting thing they discovered was how hairy some insects legs are.

It was really great to see the boys being so curious and they even got me to have a go at taking a photo through the microscope, with their help we did a pretty good job!

And of course, we couldn't not have a bit of fun with the magnifying glasses could we?

Can we believe our eyes?

This week Michael came back to our science club and shared some really interesting ideas about how we see.  He shared a YouTube clip which got the boys wondering about what really happens when we see.  

We talked about what we think is light and then we got to investigate looking outside through two pairs of Polaroid glasses.  The boys were amazed to see that as you twisted one lens around to the opposite angle of the one they were wearing, everything went very dark.  Michael shared what was happening and explained about how polaroid glasses work.

Thanks very much Michael for coming in again!

An expert in our stream

This week’s science club were fortunate to get outside and get wet and dirty.

We had a visit from a water monitoring scientist who helps organise a group of scientists to work around the greater Wellington area, monitoring all our waterways and making sure our waters are safe to swim in and gather food from.
Lian works at the Greater Wellington Regional Council and she came out to school with lots of equipment to help test the quality of our stream.  We learnt all sorts of new techniques and got to try out some of her equipment.  We checked the waters pH level, it’s conductivity level, what the floor of the stream is like and we also tried to get some samples of the invertebrates that live in our stream.  Lian was rather surprised to discover that  there are very few bugs in our stream and it she told us that this tells her our stream isn’t as healthy as it looks.  Perhaps there is something going on further upstream that is affecting its quality.

I also learnt a lot from her and it was great to have a real expert and scientist come out and talk to us about how we can monitor our stream and help to look after its quality.  It was really great to have her for the lunch time club.  Thanks so much Lian for taking time out of your busy day to come and talk to us.

How do we see?

Last week we were really fortunate to have a parent, Michael, come along and take our first Science Club session for 2015.  He is quite an expert when it comes to mammals and knows all sorts of interesting things that he enjoys sharing.  Boys from Year 5 to 7 got to come along and work with a partner.  Each pair were given a cow's eyeball, a pair of scissors and a scalpel.  Michael carefully talked everyone through the parts of an eye and how we see.  He showed us how to carefully cut through and find the retina and the part at the back of the eye which reflects the light.  

The boys found it very interesting and surprising what was inside an eye.  They had all sorts of questions and of course the lunch time rushed by very quickly.  Michael told the boys he's happy to answer any more questions so you can email them to me ( and I will forward them onto him for you.
He ended the session with talking about and explaining the blind spot.  He showed the boys a simple little test to show them where their blind spot is - many of the boys were still hanging around after the bell wanting to have a go!
Thank you Michael for coming along and taking the time to make our session really fun, interesting and informative.   Judging by what the boys said afterwards about the session, we are hoping he will be back soon.

How to make a Paper Transformer

(Under construction!)

Wednesday 12th November

Today we had Hadley bring along a selection of drinks and a box of sugar cubes.  
The science club got to talk about and make guesses about how much sugar is in the food we eat and drink.  It was great to hear the boys are pretty aware of the amount of sugar we consume, but they were quite surprise at just how much is in our foods.

Our session started with Hadley asking the boys where sugar comes from.  She then gave them each a piece of sugar cane to chew on.  For many of them, it was the first time they had experienced sugar cane.
Hadley then  showed the boys that 4gms (on the label on the back) is about equivalent to 1 sugar cube (or one teaspoon).  She gave each group a food or a drink and then they had to show how much sugar was in that particular item. It was pretty scary to see how much sugar was in the Fresh Up juice - a surprise for the boys!

Thanks Hadley for coming in and sharing your passion with us.  It was great to hear all of your interesting information and I'm sure the boys were surprised at just how much sugar is in our foods.

Thursday 6th November

(To find out more about the science club, please scroll down to almost the bottom of the page)

This week we had another two parents come in and share their knowledge with us.  Amanda and Sonia took time out of their busy day and brought in a portable ultrasound and a pulse oximeter.  We only had a small group so it was perfect.  All the boys got lots of time to try out the ultrasound on their own hand and got to measure their pulse and oxygen levels before and after doing some physical exercise.
Amanda spoke to us about what a pulse oximeter is and why doctors sometimes put them on our fingers.  We learnt about our pulse and the levels of oxygen in our bodies.

Sonia borrowed the portable ultrasound from her work and the boys were really interested to learn about what they could see using the ultrasound.  She told them all about the sound waves and how the machine works.  The boys got to look at their tendons and bones.  She was also able to show them the blood flowing in their body, both coming from the heart, and going to the heart.

Thanks very much Amanda and Sonia for coming along and talking to use about our bodies.  The boys had lots of questions answered and really enjoyed having a go.

Wednesday 10th September

This week we were really lucky to have a parent come and share their expertise with us.  Sophie is a dentist and so we got to hear all sorts of interesting things about our teeth.  She bought along lots of pictures of different types of teeth.  We got to see some really rotten ones!  She also had two plastic molds which showed children's teeth and their adult teeth still up in their gums.  

She talked to us lots about looking after our teeth and how bacteria cause the holes.  The boys were able to ask lots of questions and they were very curious about everything she had to say.

One of the most interesting things was a real skull that she had borrowed from a friend.  Everyone got to have a really good look at and a hold of it.  She told the boys how braces work and showed them the inside of the roof of their mouths.  There were lots of questions about braces!

Thank you Sophie for coming along and sharing your knowledge about teeth and looking after them. The boys really enjoyed your visit.

Monday 24th August

(To find out more about the science club, please scroll down to almost the bottom of the page)

Cool Sand!

Today we were very lucky to have to Jolie and Jen from The Dowse Art Gallery. 

They brought with them something called Kinetic Sand.  The boys all got to have a great play and explore its unusual texture.  At first, it was tricky to work out what made it move and pour in such an unusual way.  It wasn’t long before lots of discussion started about its texture.  Cobwebs, dishwashing liquid, baking powder, oil were some of the quite clever ideas that the boys thought had been added to the sand.  Lots of kids were keen to make it so I think we’ll have to have a session at attempting to make something similar.

It was really great to have Jen and Jolie share their enthusiasm and encourage the boys to make guesses and predictions about the sand.  The boys enjoyed having them visit and bringing their Kinetic Sand along to share.

And if you are reading this and wondering just what Kinetic Sand is, this is a little clip that pretty much sums it up.


(To find out more about the science club, please scroll down to almost the bottom of the page)

Last week we had  our first session of the Middle School Science Club.
I decided to start the club off with looking at bones and skulls.  However, I got more than I bargained for when I picked up a few boxes of bones from Taylor Preston’s!  Boys were carefully chosen from Year 5 and 6 classes.  Unfortunately, our school fire alarm went off beforehand and by the time I got back to class boys were already waiting to go in – lunch had been well and truly forgotten!

We had a selection of beef and sheep bones including some skulls that still had some parts.  Boys found looking at their eyes particularly interesting and they were rather surprised at how heavy the cow’s head was.  There were quite a few questions so it was great having the extra help from those couple of teachers who popped in.   

We then decided to see if we could attract any of the eels that live in our stream.  We threw into the stream one of the bones but  I have a feeling the eel knew there were rather a large number of boys standing on the banks of the stream!  The day before I had tried this out and was surprised to hear the splashing sound further down the stream.  Suddenly an eel started making its way over rocks and logs and went directly to the bone.  It was amazing to watch, just disappointed the boys didn’t get to see that!

Looking forward to next week’s club!


Towards the end of Term Two, 2014 I launched the school Science Club. 

What is the Science Club?
One lunch time a week, boys from the middle school (Years 4, 5 and 6) come to the Science Room.  At this stage, it’s usually four or five boys from each class and each week it can be a different group.  Each class teacher chooses boys who are keen (and probably, who haven’t had a turn yet!).
At the moment it is myself and only two other parents who are running a session this term.  Boys come along and experience something science based, with one of the aims to be as hands on as possible!  Boys arrive at 12.40 and leave at 1.15 so it’s only for 35 minutes.  Usually it’s on Wednesday lunchtime but this can be easily changed to accommodate offers of help from parents.

How Can Parents Help?
I am hoping that it is going to become more of a parent community led session.  I want boys to see that anyone can be a scientist, that scientists are real and are our parents and family members.  You don’t need to be a scientist to take a session, just someone who is keen to share their passion and interest in something.  At the moment, I know that there are many kids who are keen to come along.  I would love to have them all but when there is only one adult in the room, equipment and lots of kids, things can get kind of tricky!  Ideally, I would love parents to come along and run a session and have other parents happy to help out on a session.    So I’m looking for parents to offer to run a session, parents who are happy to be an extra pair of hands on a session and hopefully even someone keen to help me co-ordinate all the logistics. 

I’d like to help but I don’t know what I could do?
Anything you are interested in!
Some possible ideas;
-           Bring in a lung from the butcher and show us how our lungs work.
-          Can you get some old X-Rays?  Bring them in and tell us about our organs or bones.
-          Are you a gardener?  Show us how to plant some seeds.
-          Make your own yoghurt?  Help us to make some.
-          Have you got chickens at home?  Bring one in and tell us about the life of a chicken.
-          Teach us how to make our own slime, play dough, wind spinner, stained glass window – there’s so many fun things on the internet that you could teach us!
-          Have you got an interesting job?  Come and tell us about it.
-          Have you been to somewhere interesting?  Come and share your experiences.
-          Got a rock collection?  Teach us about them?
-          Know about the local trees?  Take us for a bush walk with commentary!
-          Like playing with baking soda and vinegar?  So do the boys!
-          Doctors.  Bring in your stethoscope – most kids have never heard a heartbeat!
-          Engineers or Architects – lets make models to show strength and stability.
-          Into photography – I’ve got lots of big tins, come and make pinhole cameras with us.
-          Into Making or Tinkering – Come and make a car/rocket/paper plane with us.
-          We’ve got lots of multimeters, come and show us how to use them!
-          It’s low tide!  Lets go down to the rock pools!
-          It’s a cloudy day – what type of clouds are those?

-          You like fishing?  Great, bring in a fish so we can find out what’s inside it!
p     Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have.

Lots of information coming soon!
Check back here very soon!

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