Friday, 22 December 2017

Testing for carbohydrate and fat in food

Even more experiments from Elena's sexto class.  They have been testing different foods for carbohydrate (starch using iodine solution from the pharmacy) and fat (using medical alcohol).  These are the easiest food groups to test for and the students catagorised the different foods by what nutrients they contained.

Link to pdf: Nutrients in food teaching notes and worksheet

Measuring energy in food by Elena

More cool experiments from Elena's sexto class.  They have been burning different types of nuts and measuring how much heat energy the fire makes.  They caught the energy in a test tube of water and measured the temperature increase - you can use this to calculate the energy in the food.  Fire, test tubes and burning food and you can sneak some maths in too. 

If you have a nut alergy problem in the class you can use things like pringles crisps, bread and biscuits but they are not as easy to burn as nuts are.

Link to pdf:  Energy in food teaching notes and worksheets

Simulating digestion by Elena

Elena has been doing nutrition and digestion with sexto.  They have been using ladies tights to simulate intestines and have investigated how food passes through the intestine walls.  They did peristalsis with their hands and looked at what foods were absorbed quickly, slowly and not at all.

It looks messy and fun!
Link to pdf:  Teaching notes and worksheet

Friday, 3 November 2017

Electricity workshop

We did an electricity workshop today to explore the fantastic electric circuit equipment in the school.  I put together 7 problems using bulbs, batteries, switches and buzzers to allow the participants to work out how to put together some basic circuits for particular applications.
We did:
Series circuits,
Parallel circuits,
Master switches,
Alarm circuits
and a Morse code transmitter.

Then we looked at some measuring activities using a houshold multimeter.
We investigated:
Conductivity of liquids,
How number of batteries affects the current,
and How number of bulbs affects the current.

We also had a very little look at electromagnets!

Here are some photos:

And here are links to the experiments that we did today:

Link to a pdf version of the problems: Electricity problems

Link to the pdf version of the individual handouts: Handouts for solving the problems

It was really fun and I hope that I gave you some ideas about how to use these great resources.  Thanks for coming.


Measuring reflexes with sexto (by Elena)

Elena tried out the reflexes activity with her sexto class.  It is a really simple way to get the students thinking about how different parts of our bodies communicate and why these communications are not instantanious.  All you need is 30 cm rulers.
Usually this activity involves a lot of cheating (especially from competitive boys), but it is fun and it does not really matter.  Get the students to think about doing a "fair test" and sources of error (lots!).  The main focus of the activity is on data collection using a tally chart to measure frequency.  They you can get them to plot a bar chart - if they do it properly you will get a bell curve, but they probably won't which is ok.
All data collection and graph drawing us useful to prepare them for secondary school.

Link to instructions and worksheet: Reflexes Activity

Making kefir yogurt

Teach kids about yeast and fermentation with food!!!!!!

Kefir is an easier dairy fermentation science experiment to do. It is a traditional fermented food made from milk, full of beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeast. It's similar to yogurt.

Try more dairy fermentation science at home with a yogurt recipe:

Yogurt is also fermented milk, but is made differently. And, there are different types of yogurt, such as greek yogurt.

Here is an article that explains this more thoroughly:

Friday, 20 October 2017

Camera Obscura - Working Model Eye (Sexto) By Elena

Elena's students build working models of eyes (camera obscura) in class using shoe boxes and tracing paper. 
Then they went out on a sunny day and tested them on the patio.  The construction is relatively simple but what you see inside the box - the world projected upside-down is weird and fascinating.  You can tie this in to the nervous system and the brain because the information that the eye collects is upside-down and the brain corrects it for us.  We don't see the world upside-down, our brain is too clever and adaptable for that.  Safety warning - Don't look at the sun!
Link to pdf:  Instructions and Information for Camera Obscura Activity

Sunday, 8 October 2017

KUBB: plastic-free, wooden game.

Stone Age, Bronze Age… Plastic Age?

The one material named by nearly all sources  was plastic. Plastic “has redefined our material culture and the trush we leave behind”
Kubb is a good outdoor game from Sweden.  Also known as Viking Chess.

And the most important,  Kubb set is crafted from eco-friendly material.

CLIMATE CHANGE is really not the issue.


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Mini Chemical Reactions - Primero hasta tercero de primaria

This is a very simple and controlled way for children to explore chemical reactions with relatively little mess.  I made jelly from the purple water from boiled red cabbage and I allowed it to gel in a plastic container (a thin layer).

To the thin layer of purple jelly, you can add drops of lemon juice, vinegar, sodium bicarbonate and ammonia (if supervised).  Acids make the jelly turn from purple to pink and alkalis make it turn blue, green and even yellow.  We used pipettes (or syringes) to add drops and the colour changes are reversible.


Adding sodium bicarbonate at acid on the jelly makes carbon dioxide bubbles and the colour changes were quite beautiful.  Plus my kids were fascinated by the texture of the jelly and by using the pipettes to transfer liquids.  You could photograph the mixtures and have a science-art project!

You need:
  • plastic containers
  • red cabbage
  • gelatine
  • lemon juice
  • vinegar
  • sodium bicarbonate dissolved in water
  • (diluted ammonia - small group supervised activity)
  • pipettes or syringes
  • containers for the lemon juice, vinegar and sodium bicarbonate 
 Good experimental chemistry with surprisingly little mess!

Friday, 15 September 2017

New School Year!

September is here and we´re all super busy.  Firstly, if you have material from last term, please send it to me to post.  Secondly, Nieves and I were talking about maybe doing another workshop at the end of October.  If you have ideas or requests for what to do, please tell us.

Septiembre ha llegado y estamos super ocupados.  Primera cosa, si tienes material/fotos del año pasado para subir al blog por favor mandármelas para que puede incluirlas.  Segunda cosa, Nieves y yo estamos pensando en tener otro taller al fin de octubre.  Si tienes ideas o sugerencias sobre temas por favor dinos.

Un saludo

Monday, 24 July 2017

Sexto Activities Book is Finished

I have finished putting together the activities book with teaching notes and worksheets for sexto.  Have a great summer holiday.  Jenny
Link to download pdf:  Hands on Science: Sexto

Hands on Science Sexto: Project - Making an Electronic Device

Since the science books finish off with machines, computers and electronic gadgets, I thought that an electronic project would be a nice way to end Sexto.  I've picked out some website links for the students to look at and they can decide what to build after a bit of internet research.  They need to plan their project, make it and then present it to the class.  I suggest getting them to make a video of their project because it is a computer based activity and it will improve their performance. 

This activity is connected to the Objects and Machines unit.  I have highlighted four links to simple projects but if you have students who can program and know how to put more complicated circuits together on a bread-board then encourage them.

Link to activity (pdf):  Electronic Device project

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 20 - Human Robots

Writing and following instructions is the focus of this computer-free programming activity.  There are two parts, Part 1 is about a simple dice game and getting the students to create robot style instructions for the game using repeating loops.  Part 2 is about a Robot Cafe:  They need to write instructions for a robot to make sandwiches, then they are going to demonstrate their instructions by acting as robots to the class.  You can select which types of sandwich you get the robot students to demonstrate so you can accommodate for not being able to provide all the sandwich making materials.

This activity is connected to the Objects and Machines unit.  The activity requires the students to write algorithms (instruction lists), use loops (instructions that can be repeated) and put instructions in the correct order.  By acting out the activity rather that doing it on a computer I think that this will be really fun and the students with no programming experience will relate to the concepts better.

Link to activity (pdf): Human Robots Activity

Friday, 21 July 2017

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 19 - Coding Lab

Blockly Games has a quite easy Maze game which I've used in this activity.  The game has very good instructions and is also available in Spanish.  I'm guessing that most classes will have some total beginners and some students that know loads more than their teacher.  Once they've worked through the first game, let them try another game or a harder game.

This activity is connected to the Objects and Machines unit.  The students need to record what they did to solve the problems in the game.

Link to activity (pdf):  Coding Activity

Monday, 17 July 2017

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 18 - Magnetism Circus

This is also written in three parts to reduce the amount of equipment required and also to give the students the opportunity to try out several different aspects of magnetism.  Again, you can either have 2 tables for each part or run the activity at the same time as the electricity activity so you only need one of each experiment (this is what I've done in the past).

This activity is connected to the Electricity and Magnetism unit.  Part 1 is investigating magnetic fields.  Part 2 is testing what materials are attracted to magnets.  Part three explores electromagnetism and electric - magnetic field interactions.

Link to activity (pdf): Magnetism Activity

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 17 - Electricity Circus

I have written this activity in three parts, mainly to reduce the amount of equipment required and also to give the students the opportunity to try out several different aspects of electricity.  You can either have 2 tables for each part or run the activity at the same time as the magnetism activity so you only need one of each experiment (this is what I've done in the past).

This activity is connected to the Electricity and Magnetism unit.  Part 1 is measuring the electrical conductivity of different materials.  Part 2 is testing the conductivity of some different solutions.  Part three explores static electricity (electricity that is trapped on an insulating surface - a balloon).

Link to activity (pdf):  Electricity Circus

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 16 - Oxygen and Combustion

I saw this simple demonstration in an infantil class and thought that there had to be a way of using this effect (once the oxygen is used up, water rises up to occupy the reduced volume) to measure the amount of oxygen in the air.  After a quick scribble of the chemical equation on paper, the approximate volume change should be about 1/2 the amount of oxygen in the air.  When I did this experiment myself, I was getting about 28% oxygen in the atmosphere;  it is actually about 21% which is not bad considering how basic the experiment is.

This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  I have written the activity with the students repeating the experiment 3 times and using average values to improve their data.  They also need to use their volume changes to calculate a percentage and they may need calculators to do this.  I have broken the calculation down into smaller steps, if the students are capable, let them do it without the extra help.  There a loads of errors to look out for in this experiment so lots of critical thinking opportunities!
Link to activity (pdf):  Oxygen and Combustion Activity

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 15 - Exothermic and Endothermic Processes

I suspect that any primary science teacher must dread having to talk about exothermic and endothermic processes.  These are secondary school concepts and not really very useful everyday vocabulary so here is what I've put together for teaching it in a more interesting way.  The activity has a list of different mixtures of household chemicals that the students can mix and should give a temperature change. 

This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  They measure the temperature before mixing and after mixing and if the temperature goes UP - Exothermic, DOWN - Endothermic.  None of the changes are very big, 5 - 10 oC because we want to work safely but they should be enough for the students to categorise the different mixtures into endothermic or exothermic processes.
Link to activity (pdf):  Exothermic and Endothermic Processes

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 14 - Moonlight and Reflection of Light

I have already written a more technical optics experiment for the quinto book so here I've chosen an activity that is a bit space orientated.  The students are going to make a space box to model how sunlight is reflected off the moon to show why we see the different phases of the moon.  The construction is really easy and the viewing of the moon from different angles is very interesting.  The difficult part will be getting the students to draw diagrams of what they have seen.  In secondary, optics is principally about drawing diagrams of light being reflected - they don't have to get the diagrams perfectly at this stage, but try to get them thinking about where the light is coming from.

This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  The matter unit touches on light and reflection by different surfaces.  There is a lot of potential for talking about space and planets and there are loads of fantastic videos that could accompany this activity (see NASA or ESA websites).
Link to activity (pdf):  Moonlight Activity