‘Fizzics’ Incursion

“POP!” High pitched screams exploded in the classroom as orange shards of balloon flew towards us. This was one of our favourite, intriguing experiments which we were able to observe. On the 16th of March we had a Fizzics incursion. This was a great opportunity to extend our knowledge about the properties of solids, liquids and gases. In particular, we really enjoyed learning about the properties of liquid nitrogen.

We found out many facts about nitrogen, like that 78% of the air we breathe is nitrogen. We also found out that nitrogen (N2) is colourless, odourless and a tasteless gas. Nitrogen is boiled at 196º celsius. Whilst having a great deal of fun, there were many lessons that we learned.

Our ‘science teacher’ Ben had fascinating demonstrations to share with us and taught us a lot. He poured liquid nitrogen into a cup and a cloud came out of the cup and then dropped downwards. We wondered why it dropped down and didn’t rise. We learned that the nitrogen condensed, (the molecules clumped together), got heavier and therefore dropped downwards.


Ben then put the liquid nitrogen into a tin and then put the lid on. The lid popped off with great force. We learned that when gas is heated, it expands. The gas molecules in the tin warmed up quickly causing the nitrogen gas to expand rapidly. The pressure in the tin then built up causing the lid to pop off.

One of the demonstrations which we really enjoyed was when Ben put liquid nitrogen into a bottle. He placed a lid on the bottle but the lid had 2 plastic straw ‘vents’.  He then placed the bottle into a cup, half filled with water. The bottle spun around rapidly, letting out cold nitrogen gas from the straws like a sprinkler. We learned that water transfers heat, so when the bottle of nitrogen was placed into the water, the gas in the bottle quickly heated up. The gas then expanded rapidly, building up a huge amount of pressure in the bottle.The gas needed to escape. It escaped through the two straws which were placed opposite each other, out of the top of the lid of the bottle. When the gas poured out of the two straws, it caused the bottle to spin around. Ben told us that this was an example of Newton’s Third Law of Motion which states that, ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’,

Even though there were many explosions and squeals of delight (or fright) during the incursion, all of us will now not forget Newton’s third law of motion.  ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’

By Eva, Eleanor and Cordelia

Science in Action

Since returning to school from our holidays we have been fully engaged in Science! Each student has come up with a science investigation related to solids, liquids and gases. We have been predicting, explaining, observing and recording. There is great excitement as the experiments unfold. Not everything always goes to plan but we are learning to think as scientists and to go back and try again. Here are some photos from the many different investigations that have taken place.

Can you guess what is happening in our experiments?

What’s the Matter?

These are photos of the materials that we used today to investigate some of the properties of solids, liquids and gases. What can you see here? Click on each photo to zoom in on them.

What do you think that we did with them? Leave a comment to let us know if you have some ideas.

Year 5 Survivor

In our current Unit of Inquiry we are exploring the idea that “Living things adapt and change to survive”.

As scientists we proposed a hypothesis about plant survival and we have been making observations over a number of weeks.

These are the plants we have been observing. The one on the left is a succulent. The one on the right is a fern. They are outside our classroom, on a covered verandah. They have not received any water or food.


Which plant is best adapted to survive in these conditions? What features do they that have to help them survive?

Let us know your predictions and we will let you know our results and conclusions.

Baker’s Delight!

Today, to consolidate what we have been learning in Science lessons, we made bread.  We used a breadmaker and made 2 loaves of bread. They were identical except that the first loaf contained yeast and the second one did not.  We wanted to see, at first hand, the effect that yeast has on bread.  We have learned that yeast is a micro-organism that feeds on sugar and there is a chemical reaction that creates a gas called carbon dioxide.  The gas is what creates bubbles in the dough and makes the dough rise.  Our first loaf was taller, lighter and tastier than the second which was about half the height, quite doughy and chewy.  The photos will help you see the difference. Have you ever made bread?

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Interest in Science is on the rise in Year 5!

Experiment 1

Experiment 1

Year 5 are studying micro-organisms in Science lessons. We have been investigating yeast, a tiny living thing that can do amazing things.  We have conducted some experiments. Firstly we wanted to know what yeast needs to ‘work’ best. We set up an experiment with 4 bottles. Bottle 1 had yeast and warm water, Bottle 2 had yeast, sugar and warm water, Bottle 3 had sugar and water and Bottle 4 has sugar and yeast. We made predictions about what would happen and also observed what was happening during the experiment. After 1 hour this photo shows what had happened.It is clear that in Bottle 2 the balloon inflated faster and bigger than the rest.  After discussing our findings (and some more research) we discovered that sugar is food for the yeast and the water activates the yeast.  The reaction between the yeast, sugar and warm water creates the gas called carbon dioxide which causes the balloon to inflate.

Today we continued our investigation to see which temperature the yeast likes best.  Again, we placed yeast and sugar in bottles.  We added cold water to bottle 1 (white balloon), warm water to bottle 2 (green balloon) and boiling water to bottle 3 (red balloon). We made predictions and recorded our observations.  This is what the bottles looked like after 45 minutes. What do you think has happened in each bottle?

Experiment 2 45 mins

Experiment 2 after 45 mins

What temperature do you think yeast likes the best?

We also know that yeast is a very important ingredient in bread. We are going to make some bread soon.

Can you explain why yeast is important in breadmaking? Do our Science experiments help you to understand?

Experiment 2 after 120 minutes

Experiment 2 after 120 minutes

Year 5 students love Science!

At the start of our Science unit on Electricity I conducted a poll to see how my students felt about Science.science pollThe results were very encouraging. As we have explored electrical circuits, torches and light bulbs there has been a high level of interest. In the words of a famous Australian scientist “Why is this so?”

Science, in a primary school classroom, is hands on and fun. Even without knowing it the students are learning important skills and values. Last week after reading the story of Italian scientists, Alessandro Volta and Luigi Galvani, I asked the students to identify key characteristics these two scientists displayed. Then we generated a list of words to describe scientists. What did we find?light_bulb We found a list of words that could describe many of my students. Words like resilient, persistent, determined and courageous came up again and again. So are my students scientists? Of course they are! They are learning the value of questioning, reasoning, predicting and explaining. They are learning how to approach problems and how to react if results don’t reach their expectations. They are learning to be thorough and consistent and fair.
Scientific thinking seems to be a good model for how to approach life in Year 5. Perhaps that’s why my students love Science. They are learning values and attitudes that will stay with them and serve them well in all aspects of life.
What do you think? What do you enjoy about Science lessons at your school?

Buried Treasure

Today was the culmination of our unit of work on Antarctica.  We have spent many weeks learning about the many and varied aspects of this amazing and unique environment but we have been left with a question to ponder.

Years from now when the world debates whether the minerals to be found in Antarctica should be mined, will we remember the fun we had this afternoon while we dug for buried treasure?

We were set a challenge to ‘mine’ for the rich minerals in Antarctica.  Our Antarctica was a small piece of chocolate brownie, the treasure were white and dark choc chips and our tools were toothpicks.

Is it possible to mine in Antarctica and remove the minerals without destroying the surrounding environment?


maybe it is…IMG_0833IMG_0842

but then again, maybe it’s not….IMG_0838IMG_0839Do you think we should mine for the resources in Antarctica?

Should we risk damaging the environment?

What if we run out of coal or oil?  Will it be OK to mine in Antarctica in the future?

If we don’t want to mine in Antarctica what else can be done if the world is running short of resources like coal and oil?

Let us know what you think about this important issue.

Year 5 rise to the challenge

In class today we made two loaves of bread.  We made them in a breadmaker and followed a recipe.  Both loaves were exactly the same except the second loaf had no yeast.  We have been learning all about yeast and know that yeast feeds on sugar and produces carbon dioxide.  We have done experiments in bottles but wanted to see the effect that yeast has on dough.  These photos show the difference.



The loaf with yeast rose to about 13cm and it was light and airy and tasted delicious!  The second loaf was heavy, it rose to only 5cm and looked and tasted more like dough.  Even though it didn’t taste much like bread we all gobbled it up anyway!