STEM @ Scotch
Last week Dr Alan Duffy presented a lecture to the school on the discovery of gravitational waves. It can be viewed here
Australian skywatchers will this month get an excellent view of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower which reaches its peak at 6am May 6th. Read more here http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-02/may-sky-guide/7356040?section=science
We are told that nothing can travel faster than light. This is how we know it is true. http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160429-the-real-reasons-nothing-can-ever-go-faster-than-light
There are several opportunities available for interested Science students
Upcoming Science Tours:
(a) Aug 2015, Science Tour to Canberra for Years 7-8. Registration close Feb 15 2015. Contact email@example.com for more information.
(b) June-July 2016: Science Tour to Europe (London, Oxford, Libin, Paris, Geneva) for Years 8-12. Registration open. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DON’T FORGET – BOOK EARLY
Science Oration Aug 20 2015 7.30 pm GMT. Professor Ian Frazer is the guest speaker. Title of talk and abstract to follow. Booking open July 1 2015. Contact email@example.com for more information.
The Mousetrap Derby is a project which tests the boys knowledge of forces and energy. They are asked to design a vehicle which is powered solely by a mousetrap. Feverish design and testing goes into preparing for the big race. The winner of this year’s Moustrap Derby in 8I was Johnny Bate whose car went more than 10 times the distance of the next best entry. Watch the video to see his success.
Each year, under the supervision of UNESCO, the International Science Olympiads are conducted. Students compete locally and nationally for selection in the Australian team for Chemistry, Physics and Biology. The competition is fierce and the training and time commitment of the boys is huge. However, this year Scotch had an unprecedented three boys selected for the national Science Olympiad teams and one in the Informatics team
Alex Ritter, Year 12 competed in Kazakhstan in the Physics Olympiad where he received a silver medal. Kevin Wang, Year 12, received a bronze medal for Chemistry in Hanoi and John Huang, Year 12, competed in Bali where he also gained a silver medal and top rank in the Australian team. Michael Chen of Year 11 was also successful in the Informatics Olympiad with a silver medal.
We congratulate these boys on their superb efforts and the staff who have assisted and encouraged them along the way.
The room was darkened and Charlie Oates (Year 8) donned his safety glasses for his experiment with hydrogen. A plastic bottle containing hydrogen was placed in a holder and Charlie held a taper underneath to see what would happen. The resulting fire and explosion blew the bottle to the roof with a loud bang. Apart from being a wonderful experience for the boys to see the power of hydrogen, it allowed valuable discussion about the practical applications of such a reaction. Allowing students to see these demonstrations reinforces the concepts we are trying to teach in Science at year 8.
Scotch College is delighted that Professor Peter Doherty is our guest speaker at the Scotch Science Oration on Aug 19, 7.45 pm at GMT. While he needs little introduction, he is particularly recognised for his pioneering work on immunity and killer T-cells, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1996. He was Australian of the year in 1997. Professor Doherty has also written several books and scientific papers, and currently manages his research between Memphis and Melbourne. His Oration is titled “The Killer Defence”. Tickets can be reserved via the Scotch College web page.
Building models is an excellent way of reinforcing student knowledge. A large amount of energy can be stored in a mousetrap spring and students were given the task of designing a vehicle which could be powered by the energy held in the mousetrap. This exercise teaches boys to plan and design according to set criteria. It gives them the opportunity to test their ideas and modify their designs to produce a car that will travel the furthest distance. The competition is fierce and on race day, the enthusiasm is high. The mousetrap carts compete in the distance event and then in the free for all fastest to the finish competition. This is one activity that everyone enjoys. When our new building is completed we will have project rooms where students can construct models and design experiments and come back to work on them over several lessons giving them a chance to work as real scientists do.
Students always enjoy a good explosion in the Chemistry laboratory, but it is not always easy to do this safely and even more difficult to capture the moment on film. These balloons have been filled with hydrogen and floated to the ceiling showing boys that hydrogen is lighter than air. By using a very carefully held candle, we can also show that hydrogen explodes with a loud bang. Some high speed film was used to capture the moment.
At Scotch College we believe that Science should be a hands on experience as Year 8 student Sam found out. As part of a unit on Electricity, students work with the Van De Graff generator which creates static electricity. By holding the generator, the charge is transferred from the device to Sam. The students learn that like charges repel so the hairs on Sam’s head repel each other and stand up. If Sam lets go of the Van De Graff generator and touches another student, the charge is transferred to them…usually accompanied by a small zap!!
Our first article will be coming soon.