Thursday, May 20, 2021

Out of this world science: linking your teaching to space exploration

 

This post is brought to you by Jane Winter who is one of our advisory teachers based in York and Lincolnshire

This week sees the launch of CIEC's latest IndusTRY AT HOME activity.  As teachers who have worked with us before will know, InusTRY AT HOME is a suite of activities that we have adapted to make user friendly for families.  Each one is based on one of our existing tried and tested science lessons.  They require minimal equipment that can be readily found around the home.  The instructions are written specifically with families, rather than trained teachers in mind.  

The whole set of activities has been very well received by teachers, families and children alike and we are told that they are used in a number of ways.  For example, individual activities being set as homework or the link to the whole page of activities being added to the school website.  Families have also stumbled across IndusTRY AT HOME on the internet and have accessed them independently of school.

Teachers have also told us that they use the activities in their day to day teaching, often sending the activity home after they have used it in the classroom.  Another way that these can be used in school is to do a related, but completely different, practical lesson.  Since all of the IndusTRY AT HOME activities are taken from one of our resources this is easy to do.  This latest activity, for example, is from our free to download publication Is Anyone Out There? which contains eight other activities as well as this one about investigating craters.

All of our free to download resources, including this one, can be found on our Primary Website


One of the activities from this publication that I have enjoyed doing with children is to give them different soil samples to test in the same way that scientists will test any samples that are brought back from Mars (recipes are provided in the resource for the preparation of the different samples).  This is an unusual and exciting way to approach the study of rocks and soils.  As well as investigating the properties of the different soil samples children test them for signs of life.  As you can imagine, there is great excitement when signs of life ARE found in one of the samples. If you would like to find out how to do this you will need to download the resource.

Another great activity from this publication is one which explores volcanos (while helping children to consolidate their understanding about changing materials).  I must tell you now that there is no truth to the rumour that the involvement of chocolate has any bearing on my enjoyment of this particular activity!

A teacher exploring volcanos at one of our CPD sessions.

I hope that I have tempted you to check out this lovely publications.  As ever, if you use it with your class we would LOVE to hear how you get on.  Don't forget, if you would like to be kept up to date with what is happening at CIEC you can sign up for our newsletter by emailing ciec@york.ac.uk.  We will never send more than one email a month and you can unsubscribe at any time.




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.