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Science & Maths


Investigating Heat


4th class is investigating heat as part of their Science work. School parent, Mr J, came in to show us how heat is conducted and insulated.
We looked at how fast ice cubes melted when insulated in different materials such as cotton wool, foil, glad wrap and rice. We were asked to predict what might happen.
Mr J had also frozen different types of materials in ice and used this to explain conduction of heat. It was a great lesson and we look forward to completing our work next term.


Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


Students take to maths


More than 40 John Colet School students entered the Australian Maths Competition held this week, a big jump on previous years as this year, maths loving students from 3rd, 4th and 5th classes entered too. There was a good mix of boys and girls taking part.
“I am very pleased that so many students have felt confident to ‘have a go'.  They are obviously enjoying maths and want the extra challenge,” said Mrs McKendrick.

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


All about light

6th class K did experiments with light this week.  In one, we put a coin in a bowl and took steps back until we could not see the coin.  My partner tipped some water in the bowl, and the coin became visible.

Explanation: As the water is being poured, the light starts to bend and we can see the coin again.  This is called refraction.

In another experiment, we drew horizontal arrows on a piece of paper and put it behind a glass.  The arrows changed direction (!) when the water was poured in, as the glass and water acted as a lens. 

Jasmin W and Alexandra R.


Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


3D shapes discovery

This week 4th class have been looking at 3D shapes and in particular their cross sections and nets. We were asked to investigate different types of nets and decide whether it would make a shape or not. We soon learnt that the position of the faces in the net is very important, as are the number of faces. Using polydron was a great way of exploring this Maths topic and we made some amazing 3D shapes. Find more Maths investigations at www.nrich.maths.org

Mrs Tomicki




Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


An update from Upper First

Last week the students made their own plasticine 'pets', along with the food and shelter they need, as part of their studies on living things.  School parent Ms Halloway, a vet, had come in to give a talk about animal needs, and the students had done a science work sheet on the needs of living things.

Parents Mr and Mrs Mu also visited 2nd class this week with a traditional Chinese New Year cake for the children to try during playtime. This fitted in nicely to the HSIE unit of work on Celebrations, which also is looking at indigenous celebrations and beliefs.

Maths this week has been about numbers and patterns. The students found patterns occurring in the playground, in fencing, on benches and in the climbing frames, for example. They drew their patterns and looked at what makes a repeating pattern.

In writing, the children are doing a unit of work on the book "Koala lou". They wrote an information report on koalas, learnt to draw koalas and looked at the grammar used in the text.

In Art with Mrs Gadsby and Mrs Fox, they have studied aboriginal basket weaving and Chinese paper dragons.

In Sport, the boys have been learning cricket and the girls T ball, as well as other games.

In PDHPE, they are doing ‘Bounce Back’ work on developing resilience, in particular focusing on the school value ‘courage’.

The children also visited the Healthy Harold van this week and learnt about water safety, who they can go to for help, care about medicines and the main organs of the human body. Whew!




Categories: Writing & Speaking, Science & Maths, John Colet


Murder under the microscope!

Starting term 1, 2015, students from 3rd to 6th classes are invited to join the after school 'Murder Under the Microscope' class. It is a unit of work where students investigate the causes of environmental problems: such as the death of wildlife and plants, rising sea levels, pollution and much more. Any students who are interested are welcome!

When?: It will be held at 3:00- 3:40 on Wednesdays starting in week 4 and will run for approximately 10 weeks (through to term 2).  

Where?: The remedial room (next to the music centre).  

Who?: It will be run by Mr Wakeford

About the Unit: The students will investigate issues affecting the environment today. This will involve conducting experiments, analysing facts and data, and assessing the possible long term impact of these environmental problems. Towards the end of the unit, students will investigate an environmental issue of their own choice and present the issue to the class as a PowerPoint or poster presentation. In the presentation, students will discuss the environmental issue, its causes and possible solutions.

If you are interested: Contact your class teacher and express your interest. 

Categories: Writing & Speaking, Science & Maths, John Colet


Giving senior students a maths challenge

The Maths Challenge is an extension activity produced by the Australian Mathematics Trust where, over the past three weeks, some of our senior students have worked in small groups to find solutions to four challenging Maths Problems, each in four parts.

It takes determination, initiative and intelligence to tackle the higher-order problem solving that the Challenge demands.  The teams worked cooperatively and presented solutions to all the problems posed.  Bravo!

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


The science behind pulleys

In Science this week, 6th class had a pulley lesson with Mr Layton.  We learnt that with the help of a pulley and friction, we are able to pull heavy objects with ease.

Activity 1
This activity was for two small girls (Rebecca and I) to play a game of tug-a-war against four of the boys.  We had the end with the help of the pulley.  So we all tugged as hard as we could.  Unfortunately the four boys lost to the two small girls which showed everyone GIRL POWER.

Activity 2
Activity 2 was the same as Activity 1 but using different people at each end.  For example, all boys against all girls (girls on the pulley side) and three boys against the whole class.

Activity 3
This Activity was to show that someone using only one hand can stop everyone from tugging on the rope.Three girls on the pulley side and three boys on the other side.  Using one hand, India squeezed all the ropes while we were tugging and this stopped everyone from pulling.

Activity 4
This involved all ropes attached to a car and the whole calss pulling at the pulley end trying to pull the car up the driveway.  All of us pulled as hard as we could and the car started moving.  At a certain point the people at the back had to move to the front.  This is when we found the load is heavier at the front than it is at the back.

Activity 5
This was to hold the car in place using two hands.  So three people squeezed the rope as Mr Werner (who was in the driver's seat) let go of the brakes.  We were able to hold the car in place.  When one person let go the rope started squeezing our hands.
By Eden T
6th class

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


5th class investigates water

Today we did three experiments to observe some properties of water:
  • Can a needle float?
  • How many drops of water can fit on a coin?
  • Detergent and water, what happens when they mix?

Surface tension pulls molecules together.  It's like a 'skin' that holds molecules together.  That's why you often observe water droplets.  A substance called a 'surfactant' breaks this surface tension, you can find it in dishwashing detergent.

By Jaanavi K
5th class

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


John Colet School students observe the eclipse

Our primary students were thrilled to observe the partial solar eclipse on Friday 10th May.  School parent Marissa Nerwich set up her telescope on the school lawn, and projected an image of the eclipse onto a screen. Everyone also had a turn looking at the eclipse wearing safety glasses.

Mrs Nerwich, who works as a guide at Sydney Observatory, explained that the eclipse would be a full annular one when viewed from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, but that 39% of the sun would be obscured from our perspective in Sydney.

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


Rainforest artwork

5th class has a colourful rainforest on their back wall.  They have been studying the biome Tropical Rainforests in HSIE and have compared the Daintree and the Amazon.  Besides discovering why rainforests are so valuable and essential for the health of the planet,  they have researched an animal from one of the forests, written an information report on it, and with the help of Mrs Allcorn during Art classes, created a rainforest and placed their animals in the appropriate layer of the forest.  See if you can find all 22 animals when you have a look on Open Day on Sunday 26th May. 

See more on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/JohnColetSchoolSydneyArtDept/photos_stream

Categories: Science & Maths, Art classes, John Colet


Year 2 learning about biomes in HSIE

John Colet's 2nd class C have completed a school holiday project for HSIE.  They have studied various biomes over the past term.  They have created an insect or animal from a biome – desert, rainforest or savannah.  The children then described the biome where the animal or insect would be found. Work below is by Dylan, May and Oliver.


Categories: Writing & Speaking, Science & Maths, John Colet


Science Club report on Aerodynamics

Recently we investigated the influence of the air around us through a number of experiments. There were a lot of concepts that the children would not have had a chance to think hard about, but they had fun all the same. Hopefully the experiences will give cause for thought later. Most of these are easy to repeat at home.

Weight of air
Air really has something in it. The children inflated balloons and weighed them, and then weighed the balloons after the air was let out.
The deflated balloons were lighter than when they were filled, because of the extra air they held. (The air inside is under pressure, so is more dense than the surrounding atmosphere).

Balloon rocket
Air under pressure applies a force as it escapes a balloon. We cast a string across the room and threaded a straw onto the string. The children inflated balloons and taped them to the straw, then let go of the end of the balloon to let it rush down the string.

I brought in a variety of parachutes of different sizes, shapes and materials, ranging from paper napkins to plastic containers. Each had a small plastic toy suspended underneath. The junior scientists compared the effectiveness of the different parachutes by launching them from the second floor of the school building. The best parachutes were those that were lightest with the greatest area, since they caught more air and so experienced more drag.

Floating balls
Using hair-dryers (on a cold setting) to create a strong stream of air pointed directly upwards, the children placed various balls in the stream to see what would happen. Some light balls (ping pong balls, or even better the polystyrene balls available from craft stores) floated even in the stream, even when the hair-dryer was held at an angle. This is due to an effect that is tricky even for adults to understand, called Bernoulli's principle: fast moving air is lower in pressure than slower-moving air. As the ball falls out of the stream it is pushed back in by the (high-pressure) stationary air outside the (low-pressure) stream. The point here is not to understand Bernoulli's principle, just to appreciate this phenomenon exists.

One parent kindly supplied a pump from a bouncy castle, that allowed us to see this effect with a really large ball. I know what I want for my next birthday now...

Wing shapes
Bernoulli's principle makes flight possible, because it is the shape of an aeroplane's wing that provides lift. The children tried to make a variety of wing shapes, threaded onto string, rise by blowing onto them with a hairdryer. Wings with circular or square cross-sections didn't lift, but aerofoil shape did (just about). An aerofoil has a longer path over its top than under its base, so the pressure above is lower and the wing is pushed upwards.

Useful references for this week can be found on the web:
Floating balls and Bernoulli's principle


The greatest parachute ride so far, made by Fearless Felix from the edge of space

Bryn Jeffries
Science Club facilitator

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


Science Club report on Chance

This week we looked at chance, or probability, since it often subtly influences the world around us and confounds our expectations. First we broke up into pairs, each pair rolling a single die many times to count the number of times each number was rolled. Some very impressive addition was applied by several students to combine everyone's results:

most numbers received equal counts, although 6 appeared to roll a little too often...

 We then tried with two dice, counting the number of times each combined value (that is, 1 to 12) was rolled. When we added up the scores we found some values were much more frequent: 2 and 12 hardly happened at all, while values in between happened many times. 1 was never rolled, but the children immediately realised that could never happen. Several guessed that the reason 2 and 12 were infrequent was because there's only one combination possible for each (1+1, and 6+6) whereas a number like 6 has many combinations (1+5,5+1,2+4,4+2,3+3).

We finished with a different game by flipping a coin and trying to guess the outcome, leading to an experiment: I hypothesised that wishing made the coin land heads-up, and we tested this by all wishing for heads at the same time and checking the outcome. Heads! But to be more sure we repeated, and after many tosses we finally got tails. So we disproved the hypothesis, but it didn't rule out that wishing NEVER works. That's a limitation of scientific theories, and the humility of science: as Einstein once supposedly said "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong."

Bryn Jeffries
Science Club facilitator

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

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