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Science & Maths

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

15
March
2013

2nd classes' Coastal trip

Studying wet and dry environments at the Coastal Environment Centre

On Friday 8th March, all of Year 2 from John Colet went to Long Reef in Collaroy.
We went for a big walk around the rock pools. We went and saw starfish, anemones, crab and lots of limpets and oysters.  We didn't see a blue ringed octopus.
We ate our lunch on the stairs at Long Reef.  It was a hot day.  The walk was hard because my bag was heavy but I really enjoyed looking and touching the rock pool.
By Amy, 2nd class C

...We went on a school excursion to the Coastal Environment Centre at North Narrabeen.  The excursion was really interesting and fun. 
We went on a rock platform at the beach.  I saw and felt anemones.  They felt jelly like. I really enjoyed seeing and feeling all the sea creatures.
I had a great time and I would love to go again.
By Jonathan, 2nd class C
 



Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

08
March
2013

Buoyancy (or why did the Titanic float, then sink?)

The topic in Junior Science Club this week was buoyancy: Why do things float? Everyone tried experimenting at each of our four stations to investigate. Click  "Continue Reading"   to find out what our Junior scientists got up to at each station.
 

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

28
February
2013

Young biologists on Safari

Our two 2nd classes are loving their science unit "Schoolyard Safari" where we investigate small creatures found in the schoolyard and our own backyards.

The children have observed worms and snails closely, drawn diagrams and now have
the worms in a worm viewer in their classrooms where they are closely observing their movements and habits. Lots of fun!
Mary Garrett
Teacher

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

18
February
2013

It's never too early for algebra

These are photos from our Maths lesson on Patterns and Algebra this week.  Madeleine  and Yasmine are creating AB patterns (patterns involving two variables) and recording them in their Math Journals. 
On the carpet are more complex patterns using paddle pop sticks.  Some are in 3D, showing creative thinking by the children.  An extension of this is to create patterns which can be transferred to sounds such as tapping and clapping.  These are all foundational concepts for algebra in later years.  Both 2nd class T and C did this block of work.

Lea-Ann Connell
Teacher
 

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

30
November
2012

3rd class volcanoes

This term, 3rd Class have been extremely busy putting together Volcano Projects. This is part of our HSIE topic. Children have been given free range to create a presentation in which they must include lots of different information and facts about volcanoes. Children have also had the opportunity to make their very own erupting volcanoes which has been both messy and lots of fun! We haven’t quite got to the erupting part but very close to finishing our models, then the real excitement can happen.

The children have been so engaged in these projects. It has been wonderful to see the children co-operating, compromising and learning from one another. It has been a very successful project in many ways and a great way for some to extend themselves and be creative.

Here are some photos that will give you a sneaky peak of what we have been doing:



Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

28
November
2012

Fun with problems!

Many of our primary aged students have enrolled in problem solving classes after school each week.   The children certainly don’t seem to mind staying late at school, even on a Friday,  because the problems are fun to solve, yet still challenge  the children to think and use different methods to come up with answers.   

For example, they’ve designed the best possible zoo (where all the animals can get to the lake, but not all of them need to access the savannah, for example) and another, set out below, challenged the children to find the most efficient way for a farmer to transport some troublesome produce... 

Problem: a farmer has to row across a river to deliver a chicken, a sack of wheat and a fox to the other side.  The fox and the chicken can’t travel or be left together, because the fox will eat the chicken.  The chicken and the wheat can’t travel or be left together, because the chicken will eat the wheat.  There is only room in the rowboat for the farmer to row two ‘items’ across at once.  How can the farmer use the boat to transport the wheat, the fox and the chicken safely across?   (Answers involving stowing the chicken up a tree on the far side, or tying the fox into the empty wheat sack, while inventive, are not part of the actual answer!)

Categories: Chess & Clubs, Science & Maths, John Colet

16
November
2012

Communication science continued

This term 4th class learnt about communication and last week we learnt about the history of sound recording.  We listened to a portable grammophone that belonged to the teacher's  grandmother and was about 100 years old.  You wound a handle and the disk would start turning.  After that you would put the arm that had a speaker and a needle onthe disk and it would start playing music.
By Nathaniel and Xavier.



Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

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