A Story of Science at Rosehill – by Betti Copperwood
With an eclectic mix of familiar materials; straws, balloons, bubbles, cardboard, shoe boxes, food colouring, glitter, vinegar, bicarbonate, fruits, whistles, magnets, slinkies, plastic bottles and a giant catapult, we set out to explore the mysteries and delights of science. The spring and summer terms covered 6 areas. January started with 3 subjects inspired by the Inflativerse.
Exploring spheres in terms of volume, shape and movement. Water as liquid and solid, floating and sinking, diffusion, surface tension. Gas - comparing the behaviour of Helium, Air and Carbon dioxide balloons.
Vibration and sound. As tactile stimulus. Making shoe box guitar. Moving air and vibration with straw reeds and homemade fog horn.
Forces and Movement. Push, pull, twist, roll and spin. Toy cars on inclined plane. Air pressure. Made and raced balloon powered cars.
Magnetism. Attraction and repulsion. 'Fished' for metal objects. Delighted in the magic of iron filings.
Static electricity. Used balloons to make hair stand on end, change the flow of a stream of water and make aluminium balls jump.
Springs and elastic. Made giant catapult. Explore slinkies. Made paper spring.
Pupil engagement was high. Access was on different levels, some purely sensory, some remembering ideas from week to week, others showing initiative and transfer of knowledge. Complimentary skills such as patience and careful observation developed in some pupils. Making and using our own resources developed creativity, ownership and pride. Several students were able to independently reconstruct work from past sessions using trial and error. A few students deduced principles e.g. relative weight of Helium, Air and Carbon dioxide balloons or that elastic has to be stretch before it could be made to vibrate.
The work in small groups seemed to have a calming effect on some students. Students developed persistence and determination in activities such as bubble blowing. We had examples of unexpected degrees of concentration in students who normally find it hard to focus. Engagement, curiosity and enjoyment of staff has been a key feature. Not only have staff enthusiastically supported and enabled students they have personally become fascinated with activities which was caught on camera. Friendly rivalry developed such as who could blow the biggest bubble.
Teachers Michael and Tamara were very keen to extend Lab_13 science into the classroom and frequently called in for a chat or to share resources. Similarly Teaching Assistants repeated activities back at class and with their children at home. At the end of the summer term I was able to donate a box of resources to each cluster, Upper, Middle and Primary.
This was a most rewarding project - I enjoyed every minute.