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Science & Maths

05
June
2014

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

14
June
2013

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

07
June
2013

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

10
May
2013

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

08
May
2013

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

03
May
2013

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

08
April
2013

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.

Parachutes
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
http://unplugyourkids.com/2009/01/26/ball-bernoullis-principle/

Aerofoils
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airfoil

The greatest parachute ride so far, made by Fearless Felix from the edge of space
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYm-yF-ZHCo

Bryn Jeffries
Science Club facilitator

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

08
April
2013

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

05
April
2013

Theatre nurse visits 3rd classes

What do our bodies contain?

This week 3rd classes were surprised to find out that:
a) the liver is quite so large, 
b) the lungs are quite so high up in the chest, and
c) that so much can fit in to the human body.
The illuminating lesson was led by Mrs Renshaw's sister in law, theatre nurse Mary-Anne Renshaw, who visited to talk about the human body.

Drawing a life size replica of their own bodies and filling in the internal organs was a graphic way to cement understanding of what goes where. 

Having already studied the skeleton in detail, the students are well on the way to med school!


Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

05
April
2013

Upper Firsts learn the 3Rs (the new kind)

On Tuesday Upper First C and M enjoyed a fantastic excursion to Kimbriki Tip. The children were enthralled as we did a bus tour of the tip. Pen, our guide, told us of the great work Kimbriki is doing in Re-using, Reducing and Recycling waste. Peter Rutherford treated us to a talk on the benefit of being an ecologist which he did with his fabulous introduction through music. He is passionate about his work and the children and teachers were drawn into it very quickly. There were lots of hands on activities and the children were totally engaged, the most popular activity being the worm farms. Great day.


Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

28
March
2013

5th class studies rainforests at the Zoo

On Wednesday 20th March 5th class went to Taronga Zoo for the whole day.

From the entrance gate we walked down the hill to the Asian elephants, passing the giraffes and chimpanzees on the way. We stopped to have morning tea, and then went to the Education centre. The zoo keepers said we were the best class ever at sitting in a circle.

While we were there the zoo keeper discussed rainforests with us. We were able to describe the four layers of the rainforest, Forest floor, Understorey, Canopy and Emergent. We were also able to discuss how the rainforests of the world are in danger from deforestation. The keeper sprayed his hands with water and then showed us a green tree frog, he had to use fresh, clean water because the frog needs to be kept wet and dirty water makes frogs sick and they can die. We also got to touch a python, a ring tailed possum and a stick insect, all of these animals live in the rainforest.

Next we went on the rainforest trail. First we watched the keepers washing the Asian elephants. They do this every day. We went through double doors to enter the aviary where we saw many rainforest birds and fish. At the end of the trail we saw the gibbon, fishing cat and then decided we needed lunch.

We ate together looking out across the harbour. We walked to the skyway via the seals and penguins but we weren’t allowed on it so we had to walk back. We split into two groups and saw the big cats and the komodo dragon. The boys also saw the reptile exhibit.

It was a hot day and we were really tired when we got back on the bus. Our day at the zoo was exciting, fun, interesting and good exercise.



Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

25
March
2013

Games with magnets

4th classes have been learning about magnetism in Science, and to conclude the work they have designed and made inventive games with magnets. 
Starting with brainstorming ideas and working out what materials they would need, the students worked in class time, mostly in pairs,  to bring their ideas to life.  Projects ranged from using magnetism to guide actors on a stage, to various 'fishing' games and mazes, to a crane that managed to lift its own weight.
After writing their work up as a procedure, complete with diagrams, students will present the challenges and pitfalls they experienced to the rest of their class.

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

25
March
2013

Building maths concepts

3rd class R boys have been having fun in maths exploring 3 dimensional shapes.  Working in pairs they have built a wide range of 3D shapes with skewers and blue tack- learning about vertices, faces and edges - and experimenting to find which shapes are the most stable.


Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

15
March
2013

Maths camp

On the 11th - 13th March, Eloise, Ellie, Josh and I went on a maths camp to Elanora Heights conference centre.  We had to wake up at 7:00 to go for a morning swim, then we did maths for 13 and a half hours.  We weren't allowed to go to our cabins until 9:30pm.
We did a lot of maths in that time.  We did so much that at the end of the camp I had an insane headache from all the maths.
I'm so glad that I got to go.  It was such a great opportunity and a really good experience.  I learnt so many new things, such as how to define a problem and collect and organise the data.  We also learnt to work as a team, and how to enjoy maths and make maths fun.   I am a better mathmatician now. I enjoyed it so much and I'm sure everyone else that went did too.
By Chloe Thomson, 6th class

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

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