What it's like to be a scientist at Excalibur

Science and Nutrition with Mr Jones - March 2020

Year 6 had the pleasure of being visited by Mr. Jones, a professional chef and nutrition enthusiast, who spent time exploring the science of food with the class. During the session, the children were able to taste a variety of wholesome, healthy food, some of which they had never tasted before. They also took part in the spherification process, creating their own delicacies using the wonders of science. To finish off, Mr. Jones used nitrous oxide to transform regular custard into a foamy delight. Throughout, the children discussed the importance of eating healthily and were inspired by the combination of nutrition and science.

Many thanks to Mr. Jones for providing such a wonderful experience for Year 6. We hope to see him again soon.

   

 

Science Week - March 2020

From Monday 9th March 2020, Excalibur Primary School embraced the wonders of science through a variety of activities during Science Week 2020. Despite the Big Bang at NEC being cancelled, children across the school participated in a variety of practical experiments and demonstrations. To find out more see below.

Big Bang @ Excalibur

With the cancellation of the Big Bang event at the NEC, Year 6 spent Thursday getting involved in a variety of demonstrations, showcasing the wonders of science.

Elephant Toothpaste

Inspired by a YouTube video of a pool filled with the substance, Year 6 attempted their own version of Elephant Toothpaste. Involving a careful mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide, yeast, warm water and washing up liquid, the children watched as a foamy substance was formed and overflowed its container. After a safety trial, followed by two official mixes, the children were impressed by the reaction. Considering how the reaction could be made more "explosive", the children proposed several changes: 

  • Increasing the percentage of hydrogen peroxide to 6%
  • Making the water warmer
  • Adding the hydrogen peroxide to the mixture at the end
  • Using a smaller container or one with a funneled top

Ice Balloons

Three balloons were filled with water and left to freeze for 36 hours. Year 6 then investigated how different substances would react with the ice. Observations included:

  • Fanta and coca-cola stain the ice and also make it more transparent
  • Salt melts the ice (the children linked this with the gritting of roads during the winter)
  • Vinegar begins to break the ice down (the children linked this with vinegar being an acid)

Alka-Seltzer Rockets

Using vintage film canisters, a small amount of warm water and a full Alka-Seltzer tablet, Year 6 created their own mini rockets. After putting the tablet in the canister, the children snapped on the lid and placed it lid-down on the palm of their hand. They then watched as it soared into the sky. During the attempts, the groups discussed the factors which might be affecting the quality of the launch, including the amount of water and the quality of the lid's seal.

 

Egg Drop Challenge

In order to demonstrate a phenomenon of physics, the class took part in the egg drop challenge, a scientific display where an egg is placed on the end of a craft tube, which is placed on a paper plate on top of a glass of water. Then, using the palm of the hand, the children had to hit the side of the plate, causing both the plate and tube to move sideways. However, the egg, which has a high inertia, meaning it requires more energy for it to be moved, stays where it is - gravity than causes it to drop straight down into the water.

  

Science Week - Reception - March 2020

Most of our learning this week has been linking our traditional tales learning and science week. Each day this week we have undertaken different science or STEM activities and experiments.

On Monday the children were challenged to choose materials to protect Humpty Dumpty from cracking when he fell off the wall. On Tuesday we conducted two different Gingerbread Man experiments where we observed what happened when he was left in water and the effect of different liquids on gingerbread biscuits.

     

On Wednesday we built and tested bridges and rafts to help the Billy Goats cross the river and on Thursday we used bread from the Little Red Hen to set up a very topical handwashing experiment using the bread.  Today we linked with Jack and the Beanstalk setting up a bean growing investigation.

    

In all activities children have been developing their scientific vocabulary, observation skills and their understanding of fair testing. There was also the opportunity to develop collaborative learning as the children worked in small groups for some of the activities whilst in other activities they could choose whether to work independently or with a partner. Next week we will be building and testing houses for the Three Little Pigs.

 

Science Week - Year 4 - March 2020

For science week, year 4 have been investigating states of matter. First, we investigated the weight of a gas. We did this by weighing a bottle of fizzy drink, shaking the bottle and then weighing the bottle again. We discovered that carbon dioxide must weigh something even if we can't see it! For our second investigation, we melted different types of chocolate to discover if the type of chocolate and the temperature of the water would affect the rate at which the chocolate melted. Year 4 were fantastic scientists throughout both investigations. Well done to all!

  

 

Reception - February 2020

On Wednesday 5th February, Mr. Hancock visited our reception children to answer an array of insightful questions around the theme of transport. During the session, the children learnt about how a hot air balloon takes flight, with a brief explanation of the density of materials, using floating and sinking objects as a demonstration. They then watched an exciting BBC video about combustion reactions to gain an understanding of how rockets get into space. Finally, they witnessed the creation of a paper airplane to observe how air lifts a plane into the sky because of its wings.

The children were a pleasure to teach and asked some challenging and thought-provoking questions. What a wonderful class of super of scientists!

  

 

Science Club Year 4 - January 2020

For the first week of this term's Science Club with Miss Robinson and Mrs. Bundy, the group of Year 3 and 4 children took part in an exciting engineering challenge. 

Quote below from a Year 4 attendee: "We got spaghetti and marshmallows. We stuck spaghetti in marshmallows to hold an egg. Ours won because ours stood for 5 seconds. We had to clean up but it was really sticky."

 

Which materials are Waterproof? Year 1 - December 2019

The children investigated different materials to find which ones were waterproof. 'Traction Man' (our story hero) wanted a new diving suit to help him carry on with his rescuing adventures. The children looked at the materials gathered and we talked about making sure the tests were fair. They decided that we needed to measure the water to keep the amount the same for each experiment.  The children predicted which materials would be waterproof before the experiments began.  The children had great fun testing the materials and later, discussed their findings with one another. 

"The water 'bobbled' on top." - Zak

"The tin foil will be waterproof." - Daniel

"Rubber would be a good material." - Maggie

"The waterproof material keeps your skin protected underneath." - Finn

We decided that further tests would be needed to check the waterproof materials were suitable to make a diving suit for Traction Man. 

Traction Man was very impressed with our investigation!

       

 

Science Club Year 5 - December 2019

For the past three Tuesdays, a group of six Year 5 children have been taking part in Mr. Hancock's second science club of the year. During the sessions, they explored a wide range of scientific phenomena, including magnetism, the wonders of the solar system and the anatomy of the human heart.

    

 

As a group, the children chose to focus particularly on the reaction between Mentos and coke - they were particularly interested to see the difference in reaction times for increasing numbers of sweets. Through their observations, they discovered that it made no difference and, through research and subsequent experimentation, that the reaction only worked when in a bottle.

 

In the final week, the children requested diet Coke, as opposed to full-fat Coke and a range of different sweets to observe whether the reaction could be achieved with sweets other than Mentos. Following an impressive geyser produced as a result of the Mentos, the children discovered that other sweets do not produce the same results.

Well done to Rose, Ellie, Tilda, Annabel, Jake and Ava for demonstrating such fantastic scientific questioning and reasoning.

 

 

Healthy Eating in Reception - December 2019

As part of our people who help us topic, we had a special visitor. Elsa’s dad, who is a chef, came in to talk to us about how he helps people through nutrition. He told us that we get our energy from food. We learnt about different vitamins and how they can help keep us healthy. Also, we learnt about how chocolate is made and we got to taste some cacao nibs! As a special treat, Elsa’s dad added some special gas to custard to make squirty cream for us to try. It was very tasty!

    

 

 

Englesea Brook Science Visit Year 6 - December 2019

As part of their visit to Englesea Brook, Year 6 took part in a variety of activities linked with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths):

  • Water/cup/card trick - Year 6 turned a cup upside down to demonstrate how the pressure of water is less than the pressure of air.
  • Atlas printing press - the children used the historic technology (one of the earliest printing presses) to create their own Englesea Brook poster
  • Magic lantern - Reverend Hatcher demonstrated the simplicity of light projection, and how light travels in straight lines, by using an antique magic lantern to tell a story
  • Gramophone - the children listened to some vintage railway tunes on gramophones and learnt that the vibrations, caused by the needle and grooves in the vinyl, were amplified into audible sound
  • Human anatomy - Using a life-size torso, the children explored the positions of the major organs, including the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, liver and intestines.

  

 

Classification in Year 4 - 26th November 2019

In our science lessons in year 4, we have been looking at classifying animals. We began our topic by sorting animal cards into different groups. This lead us to discover the differences between mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians. After, we played a game of animal hot-seat where one person chose an animal from the cards and could only ask yes or no questions. The class helped to classify which animal they were. We then looked at creating our own classification keys to help us group different types of animals. Finally, we used our knowledge to create a branching database on the computers.

  

 

 

 

Heart Dissection in Year 6  - 14th November 2019

On Thursday 14th November, Year 6 furthered their understanding of the circulatory system by undertaking a dissection of lamb hearts. During the session, which was led by Mrs. Jackson-Moss from Congleton High School, the children recapped their prior learning of the anatomy of the heart, before identifying the parts on the specimens in front of them. In particular, they focussed on the coronary artery, as well as the major blood vessels: aorta, vena cava, pulmonary veins and pulmonary arteries. In order to maximise their learning, the children utilised their dissecting skills using scissors, forceps and mounted needles. Well done to Year 6 for their enthusiasm and attitude throughout the dissection and many thanks to Mrs. Jackson Moss and Congleton High School for the session and loan of equipment and all our adult volunteers who gave up their time.

 

 

 

PDSA Visit to Year 1  - October 2019

A veterinarian nurse, from the PDSA, came to talk to the children about the five basic needs of pets. The children found out that happy pets need; food and water, a home, exercise and fun, friends, and health.  They learnt actions to help them remember.  The children also found out about microchips and how they can help to reunite lost pets with their owners. They enjoyed scanning a microchip hidden inside a toy dog.  Many thanks to the PDSA for your time and support.

  

 

Exploring the Heart in a Multitude of Ways  - October 2019

As part of their learning on the circulatory system, Year 6 took part in a carousel of activities to kickstart their learning on the heart and blood vessels. Activities included research using the hybrids and the Illustrated Dictionary of Science. In addition, they were able to get hands-on with science with an app called Curiscope, which allowed them to “see” inside the torso and explore the organs on an iPad. Finally, they used a plastic model heart, which required them to pump “blood” around the atria and ventricles. Throughout the lesson, they continued to add information to a diagram of the heart. Soon, they will further their understanding through dissections of real animals hearts!

 

Science Club Year 4 - 24th Sept to 8th October

For three weeks in the autumn term, a group of Year 4 children took part in a science club led by Mr. Hancock. During the sessions, the children had the opportunity to use the full range of Excalibur’s equipment to investigate the wonders of science. In particular, the children did the following: they constructed the solar system using an electronic model; they mixed baking soda and vinegar to create an erupting volcano; they experimented with electricity to produce a variety of effects using bulbs, buzzers and motors; and they used observational skills to classify a variety of rocks and fossils.

Throughout the sessions, the children did a wonderful job of being scientists, asking pertinent questions to further their understanding of the phenomena they were exploring. Well done to everybody who took part.

Contact the School

Excalibur Primary School

Ivy Lane
Alsager
ST7 2RQ

Tel: 01270 845781
Fax: Out of Hours Club - 01270 845786
Contact@excalibur.cheshire.sch.uk

SEN Contact: Anna McArdle and Heather Taylor

SEN Email: senco@excalibur.cheshire.sch.uk