Somerset Times

Year 7s Share Science

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 10, Term Two, 2018

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If we were to run out of fossil fuels (such as coal or oil) will this be the end of civilisation as we know it? Year 7 Science students' Unit of Inquiry this term has been “Earth's Resources and Sustainability”.

We have asked many questions (like the one above) about how we can create a sustainable future. We undertook our Student Experiment where we constructed our own wind anemometers, testing whether the distance of the wind source to the anemometer effected the number of revolutions. We then applied our scientific knowledge to see whether Somerset College was a suitable location for a wind farm?

World Environment Day was celebrated 5 June. It focused on a platform of action against plastic waste. Mrs Walker embraced this theme by recycling parts of our turbines, gifting to each student a seedling, kindly supplied by the Southern Beaches Community Gardens at Tugun. Students all potted their seedling, which will hopefully thrive to blossom next winter.

We had completed similar Units of Inquiry this term in Year 7 Sciences and Year 5 on Earth Resources and Sustainability. The opportunity arose for Year 5 students to visit the Senior School Science Laboratory and conduct a practical investigation in collaboration with the Year 7 Science students. The idea of this lesson was to carry out a variety of roles and accept responsibility when working in groups/teams; show negotiating, advocacy, consensus-making and leadership skills. The experiment was designed to measure the heat energy produced when different sources are combusted. We discussed biomass; how the suns energy is stored as chemical energy in organic materials and released as heat when burnt and how it can be utilised. The two year levels worked well together and in some cases the Year 7 scientists even learnt something from their younger partners.

We are looking forward to sharing our Self-directed Scientific Inquiry with the Somerset community early in Term Three at the Somerset Science Competition.

Below are some comments from the Year 5 students about their experiences in the Laboratory.

"When I walked in to the science room I was amazed by the fantastic materials that were set up in the room. It was like walking into a room of colours. First, we needed to put our safety goggles and aprons on, then we lit a flame and burnt food. We put the burning food on a paper clip and above the food was water. We watched as the water got hotter and hotter till the flame went out. After we measured the waters temperature. And we learnt that if we burnt food it releases its energy, similar to Biomass. It was amazing I loved it and I wish we could do it again."
- Sophia O’Leary

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