This week the Scientist in Residence at Lab_13 Rosehill, Betti Copperwood, ran a training session for teachers at the school all about how to make science experiments really creative, engaging and educational for pupils. Betti used the theme of ‘air’ to demonstrate different ways of approaching a topic and showing how teachers can use different experiments to illustrate a key point.
Blowing through straws creates a rasping noise and demonstrates how vibrations are created by air; the fact that you can feel the vibrations on your lips makes this particularly effective. There was also the lava-lamp experiment, where you add an alka-seltzer tablet to a bottle with water, oil and food colouring in and you can see the bubbles float to the top of the solution because they are lighter. Putting a tea-light in a bowl surrounded by bicarbonate of soda, lighting the candle and pouring in vinegar demonstrates the existence of a gas because the carbon dioxide produced puts out the candle.
There was also the balloon racing car – the air that is released from the balloon creates a force which moves the car forwards. And finally there was the experiment where you add bicarbonate of soda to vinegar and feed the gas produced through a tube into another bottle of water. This was really popular because it’s a really visual experiment and it is clear to see that a gas has been produced.
The session was very successful and it’s great to see that the Lab_13 in Rosehill is taking hold and having a wider effect on the teaching of science across the school!