Category: Year 7 Science

Year 6/7 Science – Forces


This week Year 7 students start a unit of work on Forces, including magnetic forces, gravity, friction, surface tension and bouyancy. While I am in Melbourne with the Year 11 work experience students, you will watch the Clickview video “Forces and Gravity” and do a short quiz. You will read the relevant chapter from the text book and discuss the activity questions. When I return to school we will do some experiments to investigate the properties of magnets, friction of different shoe types and forces with water.

Stephen Hawking’s Aliens!


Image Source – from and Discovery Channel

Stephen Hawking is a famous British physicist who has just finished producing a new documentary series called “Into the Universe”. It premiers on the Discovery channel this weekend, after three years in-the-making. He believes that, according to mathematical probabilities, aliens are almost certain to exist and he has used the latest computer graphics to show what they may look like. His images are based on the climate and environmental conditions of various planets, including the gas giants, planets colder than -150C and those with cold, salty seas. You can see a gallery of some of pictures at

Your task for this unit of science is to create a multimedia product that shows your understanding of our solar system and the environmental conditions  on one of the planets. You will be assessed on your presentation, organisation and accuracy of information, references cited and how effectively you use your time in class. You may like to use the alien you have drawn in Art to produce a “Blabberise“, explaining the conditions on one of the planets.

Our Solar System


Image Source

This week we celebrated the Winter Solistice, the “shortest day of the year”, when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. In the southern hemisphere, this is June 20th or 21st, when the sun rises later and sets earlier than any other day of the year.Check out “Astronomy Connections” for an interactive explanation of the seasons.

Next term, Year 6 and 7 students will be starting a unit of work on our solar system.  This 6 minute YouTube video from the Hayden Planetarium and American Museum includes every satellite, moon, planet, star and galaxy in the Known Universe. Anyone with an iPod Touch can install the following applications to help them to learn about our Solar System (Thanks Jenny Ashby for your comment!)

  • 8Planets – animations, information and quiz about our solar system
  • Planets by Q continium – A 3D guide to the solar system for aspiring astronomers.
  • Grand Tour 3D – Space travel on a budget
  • planetFacts – size and distance scale and dictionary
  • NASA app including images, videos, information about launches, when you can sight, orbit trackers and countdown clocks.
  • Stars by Nelix displaying 88 constellations – does not use network.
  • Star Walk ($2.99) 5 stars astronomy guide
  • Space Images by NASA – You can rate, email and save images.
  • Star map ($11.99) Planetarium in your hand with 350,000 stars!
  • ABC TV has a free vodcast “Voyage to the Planets” that you can download or subscribe to.
  • Don’t forget Stellarium on your netbooks
  • Celestia (space simulation) is another free (Open Source) download for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Students will have a choice of activities including:

  • Write a postcard “Back to Earth” about the conditions on one of the planets around our sun.
  • Write a brochure for tourists about space travel.
  • Use “Voicethread” , “Powerpoint” or “Photostory” to describe our solar system to aliens from ‘outer space’.
  • A 60-second science video advertising one of the planets as a tourist destination
  • Create a digital story about the planet you would most like to visit and how you would survive there.
  • Use “Blabberise” to record an alien invader’s report back to his home planet about the Earth’s solar system.

Year 7 Science

onion cells

Image Source

In Year 6/7 Science we have been looking at cells using light microscopes. The image above shows cells from a spring onion, stained with methylene blue, to show cell walls and nuclei. Cells are all different shapes and sizes, but the cell theory states:

  • All living organisms are made up of cells
  • Cells are the basic organisational units of life
  • All cells come from pre-existing cells

Before the end of term we will be having a test on Classsification and Cells. You will need to know the following:

  • What are five characteristics of living organisms? (usually require oxygen; require nutrients; produce wastes; respond to stimuli; reproduce themselves)
  • How are living organisms classified? Five Kingdoms – Animals, Plants, Fungi, Bacteria (Monera) and Protists.
  • What is a dichotomous key? A branching key used to classify organisms into groups, using questions with only two answers – yes or no.
  • Name the parts of a light microscope.
  • What are three important things about cells (the cell theory).
  • What are the three main differences between animal cells and plant cells.

Our Threatened Species Projects

Growling grass frog3

Image Source – Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis)

This week Year 6/7 students finished their threatened species project. Each of the following Victorian species is declining in numbers due to habitat loss, introduced species, pest plants, pollution and/or overkill.

Brolga (Adam and Daniel)

Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby (Jim)

Carpet Python (Tom)

Corangamite Water Skink (Jasmine)

Earless Bearded Dragon (Emalee)

Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Growling Grass Frog (Chloe)

Helmeted Honey-eater (Sarah)

Honeyeaters (Kaylee and Jacinta)

Long-nosed Potoroo (Emma)

Orange-bellied Parrot (Cara and Shannon)

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Darcy and Chris) (Nathan B.)

Striped Legless Lizard

Southern Brown Bandicoot (Paul)

Spot-tailed Quoll (Leah)

Wedge-tailed Eagle (James and Nick)

Other species:

Leatherback turtle (Lachlan)

Sugar-gliders (Tamiko)

It would be great if you could use Blabberize or Voicethread to give your animal a voice! Please leave a comment about which slideshow you like best, and what you might do differently if you did this project again.

Threatened Species Project

eastern barred bandicoot

Image Source

This week in our Year 6/ 7 Science classes we are starting a project about Threatened Species. You have already learnt about the general  characterisitics of all  living  organisms and how living organisms are classified into Five Kingdoms and smaller groups depending on characteristics such as: single or multicellular, autotrophic or heterotrophic, vertebrate or invertebrate, warm or cold-blooded, lay eggs or live births, fins, fur or feathers. You have also created a dichotomous key to identify 10 different objects of your own choosing (fruit, icecream flavours, drinks, lollies, sporting balls etc.)

Your project must be about a local Victorian threatened species (you can find a list at DNRE) and should demonstrate your understanding of the characterisitics of living organisms. Your student task sheet, including assessment rubric and research grid, can be found on the  Year 6/7 wiki. (Activity 5) This project is due on Friday May 28th.

If you would like to practise some of the maths activities we did this week, here are the links:

Sort polygons into a table based on number and length of sides.

Shape Sorter – choose one or two rules and place the polygons in the appropriate Venn circle.

Biodiversity – CSIRO Program


On Tuesday we had a visit from Elke at the CSIRO. Her program was all about Biodiversity – the great variety of living things on earth, how they are classified and why some are threatened with extinction. This image shows one of our students using a dichotomous key to identify Simpson’s characters. Other activities included laser monitoring of landscape temperature, temperature in a carbon-dioxide enhanced atmosphere, pH testing of water, soil texture, soil moisture and microscopic monitoring of species.

In Year 6/7 Science we will be learning about the characteristics of living organisms and the classification of animals. I have used to create a dichotomous key as an example for students. They will use the same tool to create their own key to identify items of their choice – for example flavours of icecream or drinks, different balls or sporting equipment. Here is an example of a key to identify Fungi.

Separating Mixtures

centrifuge for DNA

This is a centrifuge for isolating DNA from samples.

In Year 7 Science we are starting a new unit of work about “Separating Mixtures”. We will be learning about the following processes and how they are used when separating mixtures:

  • Centrifuging
  • Crystallization
  • Chromotography
  • Distillation
  • Evaporation
  • Filtering
  • Froth Flotation
  • Gravity Separation
  • Magnetic Separation
  • Seiving

You will each work in a group to prepare a poster that can displayed in the class to show how each of these processes works, an example of how it may be used at home or in industry and a definition from the glossary of your text book.

At the end of this unit of work you may like to try these quizzes: How would you Separate these Mixtures? Flashcards and Matching at Quia: Separating Mixtures Rags to Riches: Who wants to be a Millionaire Another quick quiz from Pearson Education: Separating Mixtures. Check out the Year 7 wiki for more about Separating Mixtures.

Revision for Science Tests

bunsen burner

Students in years 6/7 and 8 will be completing a science test before the end of term, to assess their learning in this first part of the year. In Year 6/7 you will need to know the following:

  • Safety rules for science experiments
  • Laboratory equipment – Identify, label and draw
  • States of matter (Solids, Liquids and gases) and the Particle Theory
  • Water Cycle (label evaporation, condensation, precipitation etc)
  • Heat Moves (convection, conduction and radiation)

You can use your netbooks to do some revision by going to the FUSE site and typing the Resource Package code: Y4B8TT into the search box. Can you explain, in terms of the particle theory, what happens to the aluminium can in this video? After the test we will be going on to do a unit of work on “Separating Mixtures”. You can see a Voicethread about the different ways to separate mixtures here and another one here.

Year 8 Students can use the Resource Package code: 9WTEHH to do some revision on atoms, molecules, elements and compounds. You will need to know the names and symbols of the first twenty elements, the properties of metals and non-metals and some examples of common molecules, compounds and mixtures (for example, table salt is NaCl, carbon dioxide is CO2 and water is H2O). After the test, in Year 8 we will be going on to do a unit on “Chemical Reactions” (comparing changes of state, or physical reactions, to chemical reactions). Check out ourVoicethread about Physical and Chemical reactions.

Some of you may be interested in collaborating with a class in the U.S.A. who are doing a project about the Science of the Olympics. You will work with students from Mrs Laguna’s class on a wiki. Let me know if you would like to extend your learning in this way.

Hovercraft Challenge


Earlier this year our year 10 students attended the Science and Engineering Challenge at Deakin University in Geelong. One of the fun and interesting projects was to create a model hovercraft using a polystyrene meat tray, 9V battery, 1.5V motor, propeller and a few additional materials. You can find some instructions here. This will be a good end-of-year project for next week.

Another hands-on project that a couple of our Year 7 Science students have been working on is to design and build a model trebuchet – a medieval sling-shot. Sean found plans on the internet and he and Dylan sourced the materials and constructed the working model as shown below.