* Primary Schools Workshops

The most frequently requested day consists of the first three activities listed below.

A primary school student and blue slimePolymers

A ‘slime’-making session where pupils explore the effects on the physical properties of a polymer mixture of making it up with different proportions of components. Where there is sufficient time in the session (40 minutes rather than 30), the properties of a thermoplastic called ‘polymorph’ are investigated.

Iodine Clock Reaction Competition

A two component iodine clock experiment is used to develop measuring skills. Pupils are shown that when solutions A and B are reacted there is a sudden colour change after a few seconds. The students are then told that by adding water the colour change takes place after a longer time. The challenge to small groups of students is to find the volume of water that causes the colour change to occur nearest to 30 seconds. The wining team within the class gets prizes.

Magnesium and Hydrochloric Acid

Pupils are given pieces of the metal magnesium and solutions of different concentrations of acid to investigate what happens to the time it takes for the reaction to stop. The students are also shown the test for this gas (hydrogen) as a follow on from the assembly. Pupils tabulate this data for follow up with their teachers if required.

Sugar Content of Soft Drinks

Pupils are taught how to use a top pan balance and the skills needed to use a volumetric pipette. The students use a calibration curve with their own results to see how much sugar is present in well-known lemonades and colas.

Thermochromic Paints

This experiment introduces the concept of thermochromic pigments. These are added to a paint base and will change colour (to white) when warm i.e. at a certain temperature the colour disappears. This is an example of a ‘smart material’. Students investigate the temperature at which the pigments change colour. They can then decorate their own polystyrene beaker with mulitple colours.

Chromatography

Smarties

image from Bigfoto

This analytical experiment allows students to investigate whether their colouring felt tip pens contain a single colour or several. These can be developed into an arty activity. A substitution of this is an investigation to see whether the colouring of Smarties is a single colour or a mixture.

back to Primary Science Visits main page