Tagged: science

Design the AFL footballer of the century

AFL footballer - Aaron Davey

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The Australian Football League are holding a competition for school students from year 3 to year 10 in four different Key Learning Areas. The Science competition asks students to design the AFL ‘Super Player’, incorporating the physical and mental qualities of the best players of the game. Students should produce an annotated poster showing the selected anatomy of the league’s finest goal kickers, high markers and couragous defenders. The competition closes on Friday 23rd October.

We will use this activity with our international partners, Mr Ardito’s class from New York, to compare elite athletes from different sports. For example, how does a successful AFL footballer compare to a top basketballer? How does a long distance runner compare to a sprint swimmer in their physical and mental attributes?

Next term year 8 students will be starting a unit on the Human Body, including circulatory, respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems. I have created a Human Body wiki for Hawkesdale  students to share their work with Mr Ardito’s class in New York.

Forces and Simple Machines

simple machine

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This week in Year 7 Science we will be looking at Forces – conducting experiments using contact forces (friction, bouyancy and surface tension) and non-contact forces (gravity, magnetism and electr-static forces). In Year 8 Science we will be studying Simple Machines – inclined planes, levers, the wheel and axle, pulleys and gears. One of the best sites to find resources for these units of work is Science-Class-net. There are hundreds of activities, demonstrations, experiments, graphic organisers, quizzes and slideshows about all science topics. I am very grateful to Mr. Poarch, a retired science teacher, for sharing all his wonderful resources collected over a lifetime of teaching and making them accessible on the internet.

Some more sites to check out………..


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Ingenious is a site with the ability to search over 30,000 science and technology images from the Science Museum, National Railway Museum and the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television.

The Whiteboard Blog , from the UK, has some excellent resources, including a post with “Powerful Images to give Lesson’s Punch” and links to Science resources.

This interactive animation, from a NZ site, shows how the planets in our solar system rotate around the sun. This is a great tool to assist students to visualize the scale of the solar system and how planets orbit.

Glogster allows you to create online posters for wikis and blogs, using templates and your own images and text. Here is an example of how a science teacher at Fairview Park High School, in Ohio, uses Glogster EDU.

Stixy is a site for creating an on-line noticeboard for sharing ideas, images and links. Anne Mirtschin has used it with students to ask “What would you like changed in our school canteen?”. I’d like to see one for our Year 11 students to comment on their recent two-week work experience in Melbourne.

SchoolTube is another site where you can search and share student videos. SchoolTube is the recognized leader for moderated, internet media sharing for teachers and students. All student created materials on SchoolTube must be approved by registered teachers, follow local school guidelines, and adhere to high standards.

Twitter, Spineless Wonders and Accidental Science!

 twitter Made with My Cool Signs.Net

I read on Twitter recently that someone’s Twitter network has given them the best PD in over 30 years of teaching. That’s a pretty powerful claim – but since I’ve only been teaching 7 years, I’ll have to wait another 23 to see if it’s true! For now, I’m pretty happy to believe it – here are just some of the resources I have found in just a couple of hours this morning.

Planet Science provides resources, ideas and downloadable materials for science teachers to create enjoyable and memorable lessons. It has eight different sections for teachers, pearents, under 11’s and over 11’s, ‘out there’ (experiments and outdoor activities), Randomise (games) and more.

Zephyrus interactive education has science activities for biology, chemistry, physics, science super-stars and homework help for students.

Create clever personal, musical, fashionable or historical timelines using “All of Me” – an automatic application that uses your blogs, videos, internet pages, pictures or other digital assets to produce a personal time line.

Love this “Most Famous Men on One Photo“. How many can you recognise and name? Where is the “Most Famous Women in one Photo?”.

Lisa Neilsen writes at the Innovative Educator about “25 Random Things an Innovative Educator can do to Enhance Teaching and Learning”.

Not all scientific discoveries come from years of hard work and careful research! This post, “Eight Brilliant Scientific Screw-ups!” describes how sometimes accidents result in valuable new knowledge.

David Knowles, a dedicated entymologist, has set up this site, “Spineless Wonders” , to be the total resource for insects, spiders and other amazing living creatures (without backbones).

How are products manufactured?

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Year 8 Science students are required to produce a poster, Powerpoint, brochure or Photostory/video explaining how a specific product from the list below is manufactured:

  • Glass windows or glass bottles
  • Polystyrene
  • Steel
  • Nylon
  • Soap
  • PVC
  • Polyethylene
  • Aluminium
  • Polyester
  • Margarine
  • Chocolate

1. What are the inputs (raw materials)?
2. Where do these raw materials come from? Are they mined from the earth or grown on farms, for example.
3. What processes are used to manufacture the product?
4. Are these processes physical or chemical processes?
5. What is the end product used for?
6. Can the product be recycled easily?
7. How is the end product packaged and transported?

Some good resources to use are How Stuff Works , How Everyday things are made and How products are made. Here is your task sheet to download, including a rubric about how I will assess your work: manufacture-of-a-substance-student-task-sheet-and-rubric1

This project is due Friday, 8th May.

Fossil Footprint Find

This coming Thursday evening on Catalyst (ABC 8.00 pm), Dr. Stephen Carey from the School of Science and Engineering at the University of Ballarat will be one of the featured scientists. Stephen is a geology lecturer who specialises in “soft rocks” – sedimentary rocks and the processes involved in their deposition and formation, such as fossilization and soil formation. Two or three years ago he was traipsing around south western Victoria checking out the lie of the land, when a farmer invited him to have a look at some interesting marks in a drying lake bed.
Stephen immediately recognised the marks as giant footprints – which is what the farmer had suspected all along. Great excitement followed and it wasn’t long before Stephen started to find fossil bones and teeth at the site as well as the tracks of several other types of animals. Stephen’s first task was to photograph and accurately map the site in case the water level rose again before work could be completed. A huge amount of work has been done on the site since, with the help of students from the University of Ballarat, who are very excited to dig up fossil giant kangaroo jaws and teeth. Other assistants included experts in radioisotope and other forms of dating of bones and teeth, others who analyse footprint distribution and size to calculate the weight of the animal and the speed of its movement over the terrain, others to help identify the deposits the tracks and fossils occur in, and still more to assist with the landscape history and age. It’s a great example of science in action – teams of people coming from all over the country to piece together a picture that we can make sense of and assume is close to the truth; a picture that tells us a great deal about past landscapes and climatic events in this part of the world.

So, if you are a budding paleantologist, or just interested in fossils and our ancient megafauna, you may like to tune in to “Catalyst” on ABC this Thursday evening at 8.00pm.

You may also be interested in the ABC’s “Australia’s Lost Kingdoms” site, with movies, fun and interactive games, a journey through time and your favourite animal characters, such as the Thylacine, Diprotodon and marsupial lion.

Separating Mixtures

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The picture above shows a laboratory centrifuge, which might be used to collect DNA from tissue samples. Other uses for centrifuging are when you make billy tea – spinning the billy to make the tea leaves settle at the bottom. You might even have been in a human centrifuge at the show or Luna Park!

You can learn more about Separating Mixtures by going to our Year 7 Maths and Science wiki – you will need to register if you don’t already have a wiki account (use your school email) and join the wiki. You will find lots of activities there to keep you busy (and learning!) over the holidays!.

Try this fun quiz at Quia to test your knowledge about Separating Mixtures: http://www.quia.com/rr/450972.html


Separating Mixtures

Photo of distillation equipment

After our experiments to evaporate the water from soft drink and create crystals from a filtered copper sulphate solution, we will have an assessment task – separating rice grains, salt, iron filings and sand from a mixture of these components.

Here are some sites to help you learn more about separating mixtures:

A worksheet to complete: http://www.hi.com.au/resource/science/pdf/Mixtures2.pdf

Separating salt and sand: http://www.zephyrus.co.uk/separatingmixtures1.html

Separating iron from sand; http://www.mikecurtis.org.uk/mixtures.htm

S-cool: http://www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse/chemistry/atomic-structure/separating-mixtures.html

Bitesize Chemistry: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks3bitesize/science/chemistry/elements_com_mix_8.shtml

DIGILEARN – https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/dlrcontent/5239383436/index.html

DIGILEARN: http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/dlrcontent/4c33313938/index.html

CATALYST (video): Recycling water

CATALYST (video): Froth Flotation

Year 8 Science test – Tuesday 17th March

Photos sourced from Flickr (CC) and saved in Irfanview.

After five weeks of term studying atoms and elements, molecules and compounds, the periodic table and the carbon cycle, we are ready for our first test. Make sure you revise all of Chapter 2 thoroughly and complete the “Summing Up” section at the end of the chapter. You will be required to memorise the first twenty elements of the periodic table (names and symbols), which will be worth 20 points. This will be of great assistance for science in future years. You can use the mnemonic “Little Betty Boron Chews Nitrogen On Friday Nights” and “NaMgAl SiPS Chlorine Ardently” to help you remember most of the first twenty.

You will also need to know the three different forms of Carbon – as shown above, Diamond, Graphite and Charcoal.