St Johns attends ASE conference

IMG_1828 IMG_1827 On Friday, Miss Parfett and myself travelled to Reading to attend the Annual ASE(Association for Science Education) Conference. Not only were we able to collect lots of useful ideas and strategies to bring back to school, we shared some of our own in the Primary Science Pop-up event.

The Pop-up was like a table top sale (although FREE) of inspirational practical science ideas that teachers could take away and put into practice simply and easily in their own classrooms. Miss Parfett and I shared a “Make your own lip balm” activity, providing instructions, demonstrating how to set it up and sharing ideas to extend the activity into an enterprise project. It was great fun and particularly wonderful to see fellow teachers amazed and inspired by our activity. 

  

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New year and a new whole school initiative!

As always,  at St Johns we try to think of new ways to inspire, enthuse and improve teaching and learning. So, today as we began a new calendar year, we introduced a new whole school science initiative. The entire school were set the challenge to design an aluminium foil boat that would hold the most pennies whilst staying afloat. 263

The children were offered the opportunity to design and test their boats, practising their skills in predicting, evaluating and refining their designs.science experiment

The winning boats had much in common demonstrating clearly the Archimedes principle;

“The greater the surface area; the more buoyancy to hold the boat afloat”. Year 5, having become experts in forces through their science lessons, explained the forces which enabled our winning boats to succeed330

Reception Winner: Sophie

Year 1 Winner: Lenny

Year 2 Winner: EmelioPicCollage

Year 3 Winner: Amelia

Year 4C Winner: Archie

Year 4P Winner: Hannah

Year 5 Winner: Elekwachi

Year 6 Winner: Freya

Everyone learned something new today (teachers and pupils alike).From learning that although coins sink when placed in water on their own, they can float if in a boat; Jenga blocks float too as they are wooden and wood floats; the simpler the design of the boat, the better and boats that covered the most surface area were the most successful.

A great morning of learning that hopefully the children will share with you.

Year 2/3 Science Club: Santa Sleighs

We ended our science club this term with a little festive fun. How far can you get Santa’s sleight to travel?

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Does the type of string affect the distance travelled?

Does the length of the straw affect the distance?

Would a round balloon behave differently to the long balloon?

It was great fun and I hope the children continue their investigations at home.Let me know what you find out.

Next term Science Club is open to Year 5 and 6 pupils.

 

 

Year 2/3 Science Club Rocket Mice

Today we investigated forces creating Rocket Mice.20161128_154615 (1)

Challenge 1 : design and make a mouse that travels the highest. We found out that the paper could not be too thin or too light, nor could it be too heavy. Thin card had the best results.

 

 

Challenge 2 : design and make a mouse that  will stay in the air the longest? This was 20161128_161839interesting as children used their knowledge of wings, aircraft and parachutes. They knew something needed to be added. Dante had  great scientific thinking, explaining that the wings would catch the air as the mouse descended, slowing it down.

20161128_154443Challenge  3 : design and make a mouse that will  spin as it descends. This was the most interesting as the children used their prior knowledge of sycamore seeds  spinning to the ground, and madly dashed  out doors to gather these to add to their mice. Great thinking, but sadly it did not work.

Science Club Year 2/3 : Week 3 Colourful circuits

Given a pile of electrical components, year 2/3 science club members were set the challenge to build a circuit  so that their light bulb lit. The anticipation, followed by excitement was intense as they one by one  they succeeded in getting their light bulb to work.

We then decided to use our circuits, replacing the bulb with a motor to do some wonderful colour spinning!IMG_1612

What would we see if we drew dots? What colours would be created by a yellow and blue dot? What pattern would be made if we drew stripes?  What would we see if we wrote our names? So, so many questions and fortunately enough discs for the children to investigate to find out their answers.

We then watched a video about Newton’s Disappearing Colour Wheel

Watch it on and have a go yourself :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iV1m4j2wJQ

And the explanation:

Where did those colours go? They’ve just mixed together. The rapid spinning of the Disappearing Colour Wheel causes the coluors to “blend” into each other. This blending creates the illusion that they’re actually white! How does that happen?

Light is all of the colours in one: white. When the wheel spins up to the right speed, the colours blend into a near-recreation of white light. This “white” wheel is created because your eyes cannot keep up with the rapid rate at which the individual colours are spinning!

Class 6 Live on BBC!

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The highlight of our week has to be our opportunity to

take part in a LIVE Science lesson via BBC Live Science website.

Mrs. Casewell asked Class 6 if they would be willing to take part in a new initiative by BBC to engage hundreds of young scientists around the UK. Of course we said yes! Our task was to take part in the live science lessons with over 100 other schools around the country at the same time, then we needed to assess the experience, decide whether it was a positive experience and whether Mrs. Casewell should look to include more classes in the future.

Well the answer to all of those questions was a resounding….YES! Every single child who took part in the live lesson, from St. John’s, loved the experience.

At 11 am, the 60 second countdown started to the live feed from BBC studios. Class 6 gathered in their seats with their Science books open and ready to learn. We were introduced to our two presenters, Leah and Ben, our scientist, Steve Mould, and of course the star of the show – Hacker the Dog.

During the lesson, we learnt that to become successful scientists we need to; observe the world around us, ask questions about how and why things work, and to record our findings and thoughts.

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After that, we moved on to the topic of Electricity. This was when we became physically involved. We had two separate worksheets to complete in two time-slots of 60 seconds. Lots of discussion, thinking and scientific concluding happened in that total of 120 seconds.

700Mr.Still even tweeted our answers live to the studio! Unfortunately, our answers weren’t read out but we were correct in our scientific thinking – although we would’ve been very excited to see our names appear on live television! 701

Our favourite part of the session was a demonstration that we were able to repeat in class. Using; plastic cups, table tennis balls, a high-visibility jacket and a powerful torch, we were able to reproduce the energy flowing around a simple circuit to light up our bulb. We even managed to repeat the demonstration to both Year 4 classes – who impressed us with their own knowledge of circuits and the flow of electricity!

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Here are a few of our quotes after the event:

“I really liked how funny Hacker the dog was and that we all had the chance to be scientists.”

“I thought it was brilliant that Mr.Still could tweet the presenters live in the studio!”

“10/10. Definitely want to do one of these again!”

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So as you can see a very positive response from Year 6, however, they were also critical thinkers too and had a few suggestions to improve the experience.

Mrs. Casewell and Mr. Still will now plan a future live lesson including the suggestions from our fantastic Year 6s too.

Well done, Year 6. Responsible, engaged and hard-working: brilliant ambassadors for St.John’s.

Thank you also to Mrs. Casewell for researching and suggesting such a brilliant experience. We all truly enjoyed it and learnt so much too!

Year 6 teach Year 4!

Year 6 took part in BBC Live science lesson about electricity and then came to share their knowledge with both Year 4 classes. They demonstrated how electricity flows around a circuit, how it the cell pass energy around the circuit and how, if wires are lengthened the bulb will be dimmer and if they are shortened the bulb will be brighter. It was a super model used to explain this tricky concept. Year 4 impressed Mr Still with their knowledge they already had about circuits. Thank you to Mr Still and Year 6 for taking time to work with us.

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Year 2 and 3 Science club: Week 2

All about magnets! We explored which materials were magnetic and which weren’t. We all thought that all metals were magnetic and then discovered that actually, only some metals are. Gold, aluminium and copper we discovered are not magnetic. We learnt that some magnets are more powerful than others. Then we set about using this knowledge to do some magnetic painting.

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Grace observed that “Two red sides can’t stick together.”

Isabella was surprised, ” I can move the screw using the magnet through the paint.”

Dante “I noticed a small magnet has less power.”

Ellie said she learnt ” I thought all metals were magnetic but they are not, like gold.”

It was great fun! If you want to learn more about magnets go to this website and continue your learning.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/scienceclips/ages/7_8/magnets_springs.shtml

 

SCIENCE CLUB YEAR 2/3 Week 1

There is magic, wonder  and awe in science! Twelve Year 2 and 3 pupils met excitedly in the “Lab” for their first session. After a briefing on rules, expectations and health and safety we set about our first investigation.

We explored what happens to folded paper flowers when they are put in water.  The children had to make careful observations. We then thought of “What would happen if…?” questions and then set about exploring the answers:

“What would happen if we used different types of paper?”

“What would happen if we made different shaped petals?”

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Using different types of paper, affects the time they take to open. Ellie noticed, “The thicker the paper, the longer it takes to open. The thinner the paper, the quicker it opens.” Unfortunately, tissue paper paper flowers sometimes sink before they even open fully.

The science behind it: When paper gets wet, tiny ‘tubes’ in the paper absorb the water called “capillary action”. The water travelling through the tubes make the petal open. Papers are made in different ways and have different size capillaries so different amounts of water are absorbed pushing the petals open.

The children made some paper flowers with secret messages to share with their parents at home. What did your message say? Did your child tell you about some of their findings?

Why not investigate more at home?

  • How long do different papers take to open?
  • Do big flowers open quicker than small flowers?
  • What happens if you dry the paper off and then try again?

Tell me next week what you found out. Happy investigating!

 

 

Year 4 Science Club : Is it a solid or a liquid?

Gloop! Gloop! Is it a solid or a liquid? Puzzled? We were! And very messy too!

We observed that the gloop did not splash or move when we hit it quickly. It can drip like liquid from your hands if you hold it up. How bizarre! We researched why this was and learned that it is a Non-Newtonian liquid. This substance performs at times like a solid and under different circumstances like a liquid.

Can you think of any other Non-Newtonian liquids? Tell me next week.