Wednesday, 27 September 2017

FUN at BRYNTEG CP week 1

We have started another project with Reaching Wider Partnerships NW Wales and Communities First
This time we are in a small primary school just outside Wrexham - Brynteg CP.

After an initial visit last term to chat to the head and discuss arrangements we decided on a new format. This time our first visit was a full day with two shows on the morning and two workshops in the afternoon. We are trying to make the very best use of the finding available and this gives us a better cost on transport.

We arrived bright and early to begin to set up. The school's small breakfast club  were tucking into great looking breakfasts before watching a little episode of a film.

Once we were ready the first audience came in - KS1 - all excited and looking forward to some science. The school was in non-uniform and jeans to raise money on Jeans for Genes day which created quite a relaxed atmosphere.

The first experiment was to wake up a sleeping reaction....there were a few suggestions how we might do this....we discovered that shouting didn't work but giving it a good shake did. Amazement! A clear liquid turned either bright pink or blue with just a good shake and even more amazing as we watched it slowly turned back to being clear again!

That was easy and encouraged everyone to volunteer for the rest of the show. Lots of colour changes, lots of surprises and a dramatic dry ice finale!

After a quick reset during break time we were ready for the next show with KS2. These guys were just as amazed at the colour change science but wanted to know how it was all happening. They were also brilliant on their science vocabulary remembering the correct terms for what they were seeing happen before their very eyes.

As ever Helen's transforming mug got a round of applause but so did the Incredible Experiment - a demonstration of indicators and neutralisation which seemed almost magical.
The teachers joined in becoming human light switches by lighting up and putting out fluorescent light bulbs and we even had a go at blowing up one of the pupils.

Our dry ice finale with lots of pops and bangs went down a storm and then Mr Jones shared the good news - years 3 & 5 would be seeing us again because we were going into their classrooms in the afternoon to do some workshops.

A quick lunch and set up in the year 5 classroom for an afternoon of Pretty Amazing Polymers leading on from some of the demonstrations they had seen in our shows and getting up close to the kit!

scientists are making cups using maize
We investigated how slime is made and left some for the class to experiment with during the week.
Everyone had a good play with some thermo molding plastic and then they all got very up close to our hydrogel balls. Each table had a cup full and on the understanding that they cleared up their own mess they were able to test to destruction!
Finally after thinking about going to the toilet in space and what astronauts wear on the journey to and from the space station we experimented with the absorbency of disposable nappies.

Finally we left everyone with some homework - some hydrogel balls to hydrate during the week in as many different and unusual liquids as they could of.

Then it was time to do it all again with the second class.

The afternoon shot past so quickly and everyone really enjoyed being able to say " see you next week"

Monday, 18 September 2017

Solar Eclipse

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Sadly not here in the UK but my friends in the US had a great time when they were able to observe a total solar eclipse in August.

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I used to teach in Tennessee and one of my friends from over there sent me  a couple of sheets of their commemorative stamps.
 I am not sure if they are supposed to go on the front of a letter or to be kept. Someone - clever person - has had the great idea to use thermochromic technology to create a stamp that looks black - just like a total eclipse sun but when warmed up changes to an image of the moon.
They are brilliant!

I intend to use one sheet when we go into schools and show how science is working with modern techniques and materials. We have a few interesting things that use thermochromic technology and also a few that use hydrochromic technology - my favourite is our new rainbow umbrella!

our thermochromic mug in action

I love it when science and the everyday overlap. It is great to be able to explain how something works.