Saturday, 13 May 2017

Our Welsh Project Day 3

Off we went to Wales for the third day of our project.
This week we explored colour.
We thought about what it would be like if we lived in a black, white and grey world and how strange that would be.

With year 3 we first learnt a new skill - how to use a pipette to carefully get just one drop at a time where we wanted it to go - not an easy skill.

Then we experimented mixing primary colours to see what other colours we could make. We made a recording sheet to help with remembering what we had done and then began to explore lots of other colour combinations.
After mixing colours we looked at splitting colours up using chromatography.

First we used washable pens on filter paper with water which showed us that lots of colours are mixtures and will split into different and surprising colours as they spread along the paper.
Then we thought about the topic for the term which is China and how China has 5 primary colours - red, yellow, green, white and black. Each colour means something different, represents a different part of China and has good luck, happiness or other fortune connected with it.

Finally we used Sharpie pens to create a design on a small square of material tightly stretched over a beaker. We couldn't use water to spread these colours because Sharpies are permanent  so we carefully used a few drops of alcohol which made incredible rainbows. Everyone used their new pipette skills to drop the alcohol onto the material. It evaporated very quickly so the material was dry almost straight away. Well done year 3 on some great pipette skills!

Year 4 started by exploring chromatography using washable felt pens and water before brushing up on how to use a pipette. They then drew some super designs onto white material stretched over a beaker and dropped alcohol onto the centre to make stunning patterns as the colour spread.

We then looked at how nature uses colour to attract a mate, as camouflage so it doesn't get eaten or as a predator to hide so it can catch lunch or to warn because it is poisonous.

We looked in a bit more detail at the 3 primary colours we use compared to the Chinese 5 and how colours have special significance to Chinese people.
We also were bamboozled by some amazing optical illusions.

Finally we gathered round to watch a demonstration of a homemade lava lamp which we lit up using a small torch. I think there will be quite a few lava lamps happening at home this week!

Next week we will be looking at how scientists use  colour to tell whether a liquid is acid or alkali.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Update on Day 2

Day 2 of our project at Ysgol Bryn Gwalia was all about polymers and we set a task for families to join in at home.
We sent home a small amount of clear hydrogel balls with the instruction to use a liquid to make them grow. Any liquid could be used - the more imaginative the better - and we would see what happened!
The smallest hydrogel balls only take a couple of days to grow so it is easy to take a series of photographs to show this happening.
Here is a set of pictures we took last year.

This week we were able to look at the results of the class homework.
We were very impressed with how many families joined in and how many different liquids were tried.
Some used water and got great results with the balls growing to full size - about 8mm diam - one or two added food colouring to their water - the clear balls took up the colour but in neat food colouring they didn't grow very big. In dilute food colouring they grew well.

Many had used drinks - coke, fanta, lemonade, Vimto - and got quite big balls and some had taken up the colour of the drink.

A couple has used cider vinegar which gave a gold colour but only medium growth.
Milk went off and was very smelly - not recommended!
Cocoa - very imaginative - was a bit smelly too.

We were very impressed with one young man who tried different strengths of food colouring and decided to display his results in clean water so we could all see. The balls in dilute blue grew best and gace a pale shadow of colour but neat colours didn't really grow at all.

We all decided that the balls grew best in pure water. Year 4 thought this could be because drinks have so many other ingredients in them that they stop the balls growing fully.

One total surprise - someone used washing up liquid - not neat because that was too thick - so she diluted it to make a runny liquid. Her balls grew to the same size if not a little bigger than the ones in water. She has sent us away thinking about why!!

( great montage taken by class teacher!)
 year 3 results  and you can see the one with different dilutions of colour on the bottom right

This is an example of a class write up - I love the narrative especially the comments about using vinegar! A great example of observation and thinking through changes - well done.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Our Welsh Project Day 2

The first of our four classroom sessions with Yr3 and 4 at Ysgol Bryn Gwalia Mold, Flintshire.

This session looked at Pretty Amazing Polymers with a nod to the fact that most of our plastics objects seem to come from the Far East - a tenuous link to the term theme of China.

We started by thinking about what life would be like without plastic - and highlighting that oil is a fossil fuel and therefore not limitless. We also thought about the environmental impact of plastic.

By looking at different materials  we saw how corn and other starches are being use in place of plastic from oil.

We then got up close and personal with some of our polymers.

Polycaprolactone - a thermo moulding plastic that transforms from opaque pellets into a soft transparent and amazingly tactile material but as it cools quickly changes back to being opaque and is very strong - you can't easily cut even a thin piece with scissors.

Super absorbent polymers - instant snow and hydrogel balls followed by an exploration of disposable nappies with much fun about AAAs - Astronaut Absorbency Apparel

Finally a hands on experiment to see just how much liquid a nappy can hold before it leaks!

This first session helped us all to get to know each other and how the Science2U team works in a classroom.
Next time - exploring colour - so chromatography and lava lamps!