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The Perpetual and Profound Question: Does cooking chocolate melt faster than ‘normal’ chocolate?

WHY is it that even some of the BEST Science students the school can acquire insist on investigating: 

“the melting points of different types of chocolate”

for their year 10 student investigation?

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All you people in the Science Lab: Can I have some originality PLEASE?? 

 

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Making M&M atoms with Year 10

Modelling The Subatomic Structure of an Atom (Year 10)

Prior Knowledge: atomic number=number of protons, atomic mass= number of protons + neutrons, number of electrons=number of protons, electrons exist in energy levels or shells with 2 occupying the first shell and 8 occupying the shells after that.

Materials: 

mnms skittles mnsmmini

pencil

periodic table

Method: 

1. Write on the board:

M&Ms= protons

skittles=neutrons

M&Ms minis=electrons.

2. Point out that the size difference between protons and neutrons is negligible (for year 10) and that electrons are much smaller than the other two subatomic particles. Hence, the mini M&Ms are the electrons.

3. Students use the information in their periodic table to construct an atom of hydrogen, an atom of lithium and an atom of beryllium.

4. Students draw the atom they have created out of consumables.

5. Students create a table showing similarities and differences between the structures of the three atoms. (help them to notice that they all have one electron in the outer shell and that each one has a different number of electron shells)

6. Students use the information in their periodic table to construct an atom of helium, neon and argon.

7. Students draw the atom they have created out of consumables.

8. Students create a table showing similarities and differences between the structures of the three atoms. (help them to notice that they all have full outer shells and that each one has a different number of electron shells)

9. Link the number of electrons in the outer shell to the group number (explain the helium anomaly) and the number of electron shells to the period number.

My class is pretty bright, so I managed to leap straight from this to ionic bonding by getting them to trade mini m&ms. They picked up on their own that the atoms become charged if you change the amount of electrons, and thus I could introduce the concept of ions.

I’m not going to lie, this lesson was a massive hit. They worked as fast as they could in order to eat their atoms, and the physical model also helped them to see that the nucleus doesn’t get ‘filled’ it is actually just MADE of protons and neutrons. Likewise with ‘shells’. If you remove an electron from a shell with only one in it, the one underneath becomes the outer shell.

This is actually a lesson I borrowed off of another teacher and then modified. It was originally shown to me as a lesson for teaching year 9 about the existence of protons, neutrons and electrons and their organisation within an atom. In this instance, you should provide the kids with a scaffold showing a distinct empty nucleus and some empty energy levels.

This is a very versatile lesson and I hope it works for you! Don’t forget to write the lollies off on tax….even the extras that YOU end up eating!

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“So you don’t have to go back to work until February, right? Wow, I wish I got 6 weeks of paid holiday!”

 

1301BlamingTeachers-ArtAt this time of year, the only smalltalk among friends and family during Christmas celebrations is a comment on my ‘extensive holiday period’.  I’d like to see some of my family members do this holiday with as much style as I manage to pull off!

But firstly: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Australia! 

Traditional Christmas Symbolism:

tree one

Australian Christmas Symbolism:

snowman sand

 

….although, to be fair, it did drizzle a bit on Christmas Day 2013.

How to Christmas Holiday like a Science teacher: 

1. Increase coffee intake so that your 10-week sleep debt catches up with you on the 27th, not the 25th. Try hard to remember that it’s not nice to snap at people.

2. Purchase gifts for everyone within two days. Do not buy anything that is more than 50% plastic and refuse shopping bags wherever possible. Don’t forget that children should be engaged in learning from their Christmas presents. (Yes, people ARE grateful when I’m their Secret Santa, why do you ask?)

3. Wrap presents as well as you can with minimal wrapping paper (reduce), rip the old tags off of last year’s gift bags (reuse), and separate the sticky tape and foil paper from the papery paper before putting the rubbish into your bins (recycle). Advertise unwanted boxes on freecycle for people who are moving.

4. Conveniently forget that the supermarkets are closed for two days. Neglect to shop for groceries. Strategically plan your meals based around the friends and family you visit.

5. OPEN GIFTS! Plenty of chocolate, Science documentaries, household trimmings and books to read! These gifts are truly orgasm-inducing! (Turn into boring adult: check!)

6. Watch housemates leave for work. Brainstorm people to hang out with…..but they’re all at work. Wait for something to happen on FaceBook.

7. Eat many things.

8. Sit on couch with no prospects of company for many days. Find reasons why usual exercise schedule is absurd and unachievable without a school routine.

9. Eat ALL chocolate with nobody around to avoid possible social tension stemming from an unwillingness to share.

10. Begin intense household cleaning regime.

11. Cook lots to pass time and to create MORE things to eat. (WARNING: Do not interact with scales).

12. Become dissatisfied with housemates and enter into harebrained scheme to move house. Keep this scheme continually running in the background.

13. Allow the days to pass in a blur of domesticity, superficial social encounters, overeating and vegetating.

14. One week before the return of school, panic.

15. Lock self in office and complete all planning, marking and resource creation that was supposed to be spread over six weeks.

16. Begin the term and dedicate yourself to teaching again at the expense of housework. Restart exercise routine. Plan to clean and cook again in ten weeks’ time. It is now safe to approach the scales, but you might have to leap over piles of mess……..

 

And that’s why they tell you to marry a teacher! 

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How do YOU medicate?

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Everyone has had a fat teacher before. In fact, it is rather rare to get a skinny one, and the skinny ones you do find are either health nuts, or they haven’t been teaching very long. I remember being a  prac student and looking at how unhealthy the majority of teachers were. I must admit to commenting that there must be a positive correlation between years spent teaching and weight in kilograms. Even the leaner teachers I observed looked overtired and sick. I remember being embarrassed for them and wondering why they didn’t bother to look after themselves as adults. 

Now I know why.

STRESS

Teaching is very very stressful, and non-teachers sometimes struggle to understand how it can be. Teaching is emotionally draining, the deadlines for creating and marking work and writing reports are continual and at the end of the day, even driving requires more brainpower than you wish to expend. Additionally, your popularity is important. Parents, students and other staff members must perceive you as reliable, competent, knowledgeable,  reasonable, fair and consistent. I possess none of these attributes when conversing with people I consider to be deliberately ignorant, and unfortunately it is not only  students who fit into this category. 

I know there are healthy ways to burn off this stress, and in fact I usually do find healthy, helpful ways to release stress and invigorate myself for the following day. Exercise is the easiest and most effective stress-reliever and it also lifts my mood a great deal. Taking some ‘me’ time to go indoor rock climbing with friends or to attend a yoga class once a week can keep me happy throughout dealings with the the most belligerent of work refusers.

 

Here’s the catch: exercise DOES take time, and time is in short supply. So when I can’t manage to squeeze anything else into an overloaded schedule, I turn to many unhealthy and addictive substances and pastimes.

1. Coffee

2. Chocolate

3. Tea

4. Chips

5. TV

6. Shopping

 

Keeping a blog is my new attempt at stress-relief that will not directly make me fat and poor. Again, it’s time-consuming work, but my current goal is more: 

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and less: 

 

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How do YOU medicate?