Thursday, March 11, 2021

Pipeline shapes: Which shape is best?

This month’s blog is brought to you by Clare Docking, one of our advisory teachers who works with industry and schools in the East of England.


Most, children are very observant and will have noticed pipes in their everyday environment. They will be able to tell you that some pipes carry water or sewage. They may have noticed drainage pipes by roads or pipes leading to gutters. This activity prompts them to consider a substance that is often piped to our houses - natural gas.

Children enjoy practical challenges and this one asks them to construct and test paper pipes to investigate which shape (cylinder, cuboid, and triangular prism) is best for a pipe. In doing this, they are also led to think about the properties of gas. Gas is all around us, but children may not fully understand its properties as it is not tangible like liquids and solids. By blowing up a long balloon inside a paper pipe the children can observe what happens. They see the air inflating the balloon and changing the shape of the paper pipe. This provides an ideal opportunity to explore the properties of gas further and explain that gas under pressure is naturally trying to expand and push out in all directions .Cylindrical pipes are best as the pressure pushing outwards is evenly distributed around a cylinder and does not distort the shape. This investigation is easy to set up as it involves using easy to obtain resources.

Three, two, one – investigate!
  • Children love a challenge.  Tell them that they are engineers for this investigation and an important part of an engineer’s job is finding answers to problems by carrying out practical investigations and tests.
  • Start the fair test investigation by telling the children that scientists at Seabed Engineering would like their help. The company lays pipelines on the seabed for other companies to collect natural gas from under the sea and send it back to shore inside the pipes. The long pipes which they lay along the seabed are cylindrical in shape, but they would like to know if there are any other shapes of pipes which might be better than cylinders. 
  • First, explore the idea of ‘pipes’ with the children. Where have they seen pipes before? Discuss examples in their immediate environment and the pipes they can see in the world around them.  What substances do pipes carry? Tell them about the pipes carrying natural gas from the seabed.
  • Have all the resources to hand and talk through their challenge with them, showing them how to cut out the paper pipes using the templates and then how to inflate the balloon inside the pipe.
  • Once the children have decided on what they need to keep the same for a fair test, they need to consider how they can measure results. How will they measure the success of the differently shaped pipes? The activity lends itself to a variety of measuring and recording methods, so it is ideal if you are working with different age groups.  They could draw, photograph, or describe what they see happening or use post-its to jot down ideas and conclusions.
  • The children will love to report back findings to the class and ultimately to Seabed Engineering in a variety of ways e.g. videos, reports, letters, or photos with captions

Full details of the activity can be found in our free resource and incudes teachers’ notes, children’s activity sheets and national curriculum links.



Top Tips

Here are some tips to make your investigation a success:

  • This activity is perfectly suited for COVID secure working as it can easily be carried out individually, in pairs or small bubbles.
  • Make sure the joins in the pipes are securely fastened with Sellotape.
  • Put the balloon inside the pipe and then gently inflate the balloon with the balloon pump.
  • Tell the children not to over-inflate or burst the balloons.
We have produced a linked IndusTRY at home activity for children to share with their families.  Why don't you put a link on your school website











Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Fun with Foam: What Makes Good Foam?

 Children love to play with foam, whether when mixing bubble bath and water in the bath to create the biggest foam possible or using shaving foam for sensory play when younger, as in this picture.

In this fun investigation the children make foam and then devise a way of measuring it. It is easy to set up as it involves using everyday household materials for the foam production - a simple mixture of soap, oil and water for the test ‘sample’ and commercially produced bubble bath for comparison.  Children enjoy predicting which product they think will create the biggest and longest lasting foam and then testing to see if they are right. This activity will prompt them to consider the importance of carrying out a fair test.

Full details of activity can be found in our free resource and incudes teachers’ notes, children’s activity sheets and national curriculum links


Three, two, one – investigate!

  • Children love a challenge, so start the fair test investigation by telling them that scientists at Sumptuous Skincare Ltd have sent a sample of their new bubble bath. They would like the children to use a method of foam production to test how the sample they have produced compares with one or more known brands of creamy bath foam.
  • First, explore the idea of ‘foam’ with the children. Where have they seen foam before? Give them some examples, such as shaving foam, bath foam, foam on top of milky coffee or foam on the sea on a windy day.  What qualities does foam have and how is it different from lather or bubbles? How do the children think that foam is produced?
  • Have a selection of baths foams to hand, including the pre-made ‘test sample.’ Ask them how they are going to ensure that they test all the different foams so that all conditions are kept the same. How will they make the foam? (Ways to produce foam include blowing through a straw, stirring, whisking, beating or shaking).
  • Once the children have decided on what they need to keep the same for a fair test, they need to consider how they might measure results. How will they measure the success of the foam created? The activity lends itself to a variety of measuring and recording methods, so it is ideal if you are working with different age groups. 
  • The children will love to report back findings to the class and ultimately to Sumptuous Skincare in a variety of ways such as videos, reports, letters or photos with captions.

 Top Tips

Here are some tips to make your investigation a success:

  • This activity is perfectly suited for COVID secure working as it can easily be carried out individually, in pairs or small bubbles as equipment is inexpensive and easily available.
  • Encourage the children to spot mistakes in their own processes and hold mini plenaries to discuss these e.g. did they use the same number of whisks to create the foam?
  • One easy way to conduct this investigation is to mark graduations of 100 ml up the side of a two-litre pop bottle. The bath foam and 300 ml of water are added, the lid tightened, and the bottle shaken vigorously. Ten shakes later, how much foam is produced?
  • For accurate measurement, use a pipette or syringe to add the soap to water.

This month’s blog is brought to you by Clare Docking, one of our advisory teachers who works with industry and schools in the East of England.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

What's in a mince pie?

 

 

This blog post is brought to you by Nicky Waller, one of our advisory teachers who works across the North East of England.

This blog post is brought to you by Nicky Waller, one of our advisory teachers who works across the North East of England.


As we approach the festive season, we are undoubtedly looking forward to indulging in our favourite food and drink associated with this time of year. But, have you ever stopped to wonder why certain foods are associated with winter celebrations? Let’s think about the mince pie – a popular sweet treat found on many December shopping lists . . .

Mince pies are of English origin, believed to have been made to celebrate Jesus. They were traditionally oblong in shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby and it was said to be good luck if you ate one mince pie each day during the Twelve days of Christmas.

The ingredients of a mince pie are traceable to the 13th century. Returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits, nuts and spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Like Christmas puddings, mince pies were originally filled with actual meat, such as partridge, pheasant, rabbit, pigeon and hare.

Over time, the meat was eliminated and they became the small sweet pie we now know. The ingredients today may still be encased in suet, which is mutton or beef fat, however, the pastry is now typically made using butter and you can also find vegan alternatives.

 CIEC’s Kitchen Concoctions publication includes the activity: What’s in a mince pie? to enable children to develop their understanding of mixtures and types of change, more specifically to understand that some mixtures are permanently changed into new things and others can be separated back to the original ingredients. Giving children a real mince pie to ‘deconstruct’ is a great way for them to explore and learn about this.

 Top tip: Interspersing probing questions with practical activity works well for this activity:

 Is your pie just one thing or a mixture of things? cut a mince pie in half to reveal the pastry and the mincemeat filling, thus showing that it is made up of a mixture of at least two separate things.

 


 Can the mixture of pastry and mincemeat be separated? this can be done easily by scooping the mincemeat out with a spoon onto a paper towel or plate.

 


 Is the pastry just one thing or a mixture of things? challenge children to separate the ingredients in pastry and discuss how they have been changed permanently with heat during baking.

 Is the mincemeat just one thing or a mixture of things? separate the ingredients of mincemeat into separate piles on the paper towel or plate using cocktail sticks. A hand lens might also be useful.

 


 


 Top tip: it helps to give children a large spoon of mincemeat from an additional jar rather than the pie itself as there does not tend to be much filling in individual pies these days! You could photocopy the list of ingredients as a secondary source of information to help children to identify what they have found.

 This activity is easy to resource and uses consumables that can be disposed of safely when completed. It is engaging for children to carry out individually or in pairs whilst working safely, facing forwards in the classroom.

 Top tip: Jars of mincemeat can be bought from supermarkets all year round so you do not need to wait until December to try this activity. If you are struggling to find actual mince pies, you could bake them yourself, using CIEC’s accompanying activity: Baking mince pies.

Learning about separating mixtures and different types of change links perfectly with the National Curriculum for England statutory requirement for the Year 5 ‘Properties and Changes of Materials’ topic in science which states that pupils should:

  •  use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated.
  • explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and this kind of change is not usually reversible.

 There are many opportunities for children to work scientifically, such as reporting and presenting findings from enquiries in oral and written forms.

 


Full safety guidance is provided in the detailed teacher notes which can be found with the free resource Kitchen Concoctions. Additional COVID-secure advice can be found in the document CLEAPSS Practical Activities in a Bubble which urges schools to return to delivering a broad, balanced and full curriculum, especially for practical subjects like science, D&T, and art. This means getting back to doing hands-on activities, investigations and enquiries. Remember that using equipment is allowed because it’s essential for delivering the curriculum and to support learning in practical subjects.


This is a lovely activity to share with families so we have produced an IndusTRY AT HOME resource that you can share.  Why don't you put a link on your school website?
 



 


 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Filter fun

This month’s blog is brought to you by Clare Docking, one of our advisory teachers who works with industry and schools in the East of England.

Children love to play with mixtures combining solids and liquids to make something different.  In this activity we take this one step further and use filters to reverse this process and separate out the solid again. This investigation is easy to set up as it involves using everyday household materials for the filtering and uses a simple mixture of flour and water for the solution.  Children will enjoy predicting which filter they think will do the best job of separating out the solid from the liquid and then testing to see if they are right. This activity will prompt them to consider the properties of materials and why some make good filters, and some don’t.

Three, two, one – investigate!

    • Children love a challenge, so start the investigation by telling the children that a local bio tech company needs their help to find out which material makes the best filter. You could explain that medicines are grown in solutions and then the ‘solids’ grown need to be separated again afterwards. Brainstorm ideas on everyday filters e.g. colanders, tea strainers,plug hole filters.
    • Give the children a choice of filters e.g. kitchen roll, tissue, cotton fabric, J cloth, and a commercially produced filter paper such those for coffee machines. Ask them how they are going to ensure that they test all the different filters so that all conditions are kept the same except for changing the filter used?
    • Encourage the children to draw on their own experiences when thinking about the task. Do they think any of the filters might go soggy? Are some of the materials more tightly woven and will this be good or bad for filtering? How much do they pour at once and how do they ensure no spillage? Does it matter if the solution is lumpy? This is a good opportunity to bring in previous learning about how liquids and solids behave and to examine the difference between a ‘solution’ and a ‘suspension’. 
    • Once the children have decided on what they need to keep the same for a fair test, they need to consider how they can measure results. How will they measure the success of the filter?  This activity lends itself to a variety of measuring and recording methods.  They could, for example, measure the clarity of the liquid produced, or the amount of flour in the filter. Ask the children to time how long the filtering process takes with each material – how might the time taken by each filter be relevant to the bio-tech company when they decide which filter to use?
    • The children will love to report back findings to the class and ultimately the bio-tech company in a variety of ways e.g. videos, reports, letters or photos with captions.



This activity is taken from this  free resource: Cough Syrup
Full details of activity can be found in our free resource and incudes teachers’ notes,

children’s activity sheets and national curriculum links.

 

Top Tips

Here are some tips to make your investigation a success:  

  • This activity is perfectly suited for COVID secure working as it can easily be carried individually, in pairs or small bubbles as equipment is inexpensive and easily available.
  • Encourage the children to spot mistakes in their own processes and hold mini plenaries to discuss these. For example, is any liquid running down the side of the filter when they pour it?
  • Allow plenty of time for the investigation as some of the filters work more slowly than others. While the children are watching and waiting for the filtering to take place, encourage them to record ideas about their testing process on post-its or devise a table to record results.
  • If you don’t have any funnels or containers, simply cut the top off a plastic bottle (e.g. bottled water) and in an instant you have the container and funnel (NB. Be aware of sharp edges – cover with tape if necessary).

If you would like to share this activity with children's families, why don't you put a link to this related IndusTRY at home activity on your school website?

Monday, October 12, 2020

What’s in a Fire Extinguisher?

This blog post is brought to you by Nicky Waller, one of our advisory teachers who works across the North East of England.
This blog post is brought to you by Nicky Waller, one of our advisory teachers who works across the North East of England.


In this very safety-conscious age, where rules and regulations determine very strictly what we are and are not allowed to do, lighting fires and watching different materials burn might feel like a distant memory to an older generation. As a result, primary-aged children today may be less likely to know about what causes fire and what action to take to reduce fire hazards.

 CIEC’s activity: ‘What’s in a fire extinguisher?’ begins with a class discussion of extinguishers, buckets and blankets, and their use in putting out fires. Children will then enjoy the practical aspect of modelling for themselves how one type of real fire extinguisher works. 

Children model how a CO2 fire extinguisher works by creating carbon dioxide gas from a solid (bicarbonate of soda) – liquid (vinegar) mixture, to extinguish a candle flame.

This activity links perfectly with the National Curriculum for England statutory requirement for year 5 pupils in science which states that pupils should be taught to: ‘explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible, including changes associated with burning and the action of bicarbonate of soda.’

Proving to be a favourite with Key Stage Two teachers, the activity requires simple equipment (as shown in the diagram) and minimal set up time to provide an almost instant wow factor! Full safety guidance is provided in the detailed teacher notes.

Probing class discussions will help children to make links between this ‘table top’ classroom activity and the real world including some of the jobs related to fire safety and awareness. These sorts of links help to raise children’s science capital as they see how the science that they do in school has real life applications and is relevant to their lives both now and in the future.

To coincide with this blog post, we have published a new IndusTRY at Home resource for you share with families.  Why don’t you put a link on your school website?

For a broader set of activities linked to this topic, have a look at our free resource Kitchen Concoctionswhich expands the wider topic of ‘kitchen chemistry’ by looking at creating mixtures, separating mixtures, reversible and irreversible changes, fair testing and observations over different periods of time.


















Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Making Medicines for Pets

This blog post is brought to you by Nicky Waller, one of our advisory teachers who works across the North East of England.

Our latest research shows that over 80% of children think that women can be scientists and engineers (only 20% to go), but less than 25% think young people carry out these roles in industry – the myth of the ‘old male scientist persisting’ with some. So, we must all continue to address misconceptions and ignite interest in STEM careers at a young age.

 There are lots of primary schools who are currently doing great work to get their children engaged in STEM careers; using CIEC’s publications for lesson plans and ideas to provide a real life context and offer insights into the varying roles of scientists and engineers.

 CIEC’s Medicines for Pets publication is a great example of this. It focuses on the processes involved in developing and making medicines, within a context closely related to the challenges faced by research scientists and manufacturers in the pharmaceutical industry. Activities investigate the extraction and purification of the active ingredient, the formulation of a tablet, the best tablet shape and developing a suitable coating.

Top tip: Giving children specified roles to carry out during a practical activity (such as time keeper, resource manager etc) will help children to remain more socially distanced during the current pandemic.  Free to download role badges can help with this.

 This activity is easy to resource and engaging for children to carry out individually or in pairs whilst facing forwards in the classroom. They are challenged to investigate which tablet shapes would be the easiest for a dog to swallow.  With some previous knowledge of different shapes, children are keen to predict how spherical shapes might be easier to swallow because they are rounded whereas shapes with a number of vertices might be unpleasant to swallow due to corners and sharp edges.

 One approach to testing might be to observe and measure the time taken for different shaped (plasticine) tablets to reach the bottom of a measuring cylinder or pop bottle (use the tallest cylinders or bottles you have) filled with a clear liquid (water and glycerine mix works well, although cellulose paste more closely replicates industrial practice). This represents the journey the tablet takes when swallowed from the mouth and down the oesophagus. 

Top tip:  Attach a thread of cotton or thin string to each clay shape so that it can be pulled back out of the liquid after testing. This will avoid having to pour out the liquid to retrieve the shape, refill the cylinder and top-up the volume after each trial.


As different shapes travel the length of the cylinder, children may decide to video the journey in ‘slow-mo’ so that they can make more careful observations and accurate measurements of time taken. It is also important for the investigation to end with comparisons of different shapes’ performance and what children would try to improve in future testing.


This activity links perfectly with the National Curriculum for England statutory requirement for the Year 5 ‘Forces’ topic in science which states that pupils should be taught to: identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces.

There are many opportunities for children to work scientifically, such as planning different types of activities, taking measurements, recording data and reporting findings.

Full safety guidance is provided in the detailed teacher notes which can be found with the free resource Medicines for Pets

 Additional COVID-secure advice can be found in the document CLEAPSS Practical Activities in a Bubble which urges schools to return to delivering a broad, balanced and full curriculum, especially for practical subjects like science, D&T, and art. This means getting back to doing hands-on activities, investigations and enquiries. Remember that using equipment is allowed because it’s essential for delivering the curriculum and to support learning in practical subjects.

 The CLEAPSS COVID-19 risk assessment safety ladder (image below) represents the government’s suggested safety measures to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. The statements (the rungs) are not an ‘all or nothing’ check list; apply as many as you can. Implementing any of the options, even partially, will benefit you and your children. The more safety measures you can put in place, the further up the ladder you get. The advice is to aim to get as far up the ladder as you can without compromising learning.

 



Probing class discussions will help children to make links between this ‘table top’ classroom activity and the real world including a wider range of jobs linked to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Now is a particularly good time for children to realise the importance of research into medicines and how ‘the race is on’ to develop vaccines with human trials currently taking place all around the world. These sorts of links help to raise children’s
science capital as they see how the science that they do in school has real life applications and is relevant to their lives both now and in the future.

To coincide with this, we have published a new IndusTRY AT HOME follow-on activity for you share with families.  Here, children investigate to find out which material makes the best coating for a tablet to delay its rate of dissolving so that it may travel to the dog’s stomach because it begins to fizz.

Why don’t you put a link on your school website?




 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Water for Industry: Leaky pipes

This post is by Jane Winter, one of our advisory teachers who works in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
I have always been a massive fan of teaching outdoors; children are more engaged and motivated and, in my experience, behaviour is much better.  The noise is less intense when not trapped by four walls and, much to the caretaker’s joy, any mess is in the playground instead of on the carpet.  In the current pandemic there is the added benefit of less risk of transmission of Covid-19.  The first half of the autumn term is a particularly good time to use your outdoor space as the weather tends to be at its best; no need for sunscreen or too many outer layers either.

Top tip: Make sure that families know that you will be regularly teaching outdoors and ask them to provide suitable warm clothing.  It may be worth having a supply of spare jumpers and coats (ask for donations of outgrown ones) so that one or two cold children don’t scupper the lesson for everyone.

Although today’s activity can be carried out indoors, it also works very well outside as the equipment is sturdy enough not to be blown away if it is windy.  Moreover, instead of mopping up any spills you can just leave them to evaporate.  This activity is cheap to resource and uses empty food cans which you could ask children to bring from home, although you will need to double check that there are no sharp edges and that the cans have been thoroughly cleaned.  If they have not been adequately sanitised they will also need quarantining for 72 hours.

Full details of the activity, including list of equipment and safety advice can be found in our free resource Water for Industry
The children are asked to test different potential sealants to see which is the best for connecting pipes and preventing leaks.  This is an engaging way for children to work on the Y5 objective ‘give reasons, based on evidence, for the particular use of everyday materials’.  Equally it could be adapted for use with Y2 children who need to ‘identify the suitability of a variety of everyday materials for particular uses’. The activity also gives children the opportunity to practice accurate measuring and making graphs.  Asking them to report their findings to a pipe-line company provides extra motivation and would be a novel way for children to record their findings.

Our Leaky Pipes IndusTRY AT HOME activity is ideal for you to share with families. Why don’t you put a link on your school website?