Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Chemistry learning

 In chemistry today students showed their understanding of wine making by working in groups to develop flow charts of the processes and chemistry involved.


Aluminium production

Thursday, 25 August 2011


In Physics today the students learnt  about radiation by participating in a formative investigation.

The students investigated several facets of radioactivity using a Geiger tube to measure

the level of background radiation and measure the half life for the radioactive decay of 
Silver-108 in a pre 1969 fifty cent coin which has been bombarded with neutrons.  

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Year 10 Science and Mathematics University Experience

Year 10 Science and Advanced Maths students from the SMAF schools were given the opportunity to experience Science and Maths at Flinders University today.

The purpose of the day was to show students how to build pathways to university in science and maths. We hoped by the end of the day the students could see themselves as potential STEM undergraduates at Flinders University.

The students were welcomed to the event by Professor Warren Lawrance the Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering at Flinders University.

Sylvia ToelkenScience Education Officer, Primary Industry Centre for Science Education gave a presentation titled "Introduction to Science and Maths Careers".

Sylvia Toelken

Students experienced three workshops from a number of different workshops that were offered.


Species Richness
Tracy Miller, Science Communication Officer, Biological Sciences presented a workshop where students collected their own field survey data  to determine the biodiversity of various sites on campus. Students collected data on the bird species using binoculars.
Flinders University
Tracy Miller

Maths for Computing Games
Brett Wilkinson, Lecturer, Information, Science & Technology presented this workshop. 
Students were shown how maths is used to move a game piece or avatar, detect when objects collide while playing a computer game. In the workshop Brett demonstrated the fundamental maths principles that define how your computer game performs simple operations. Using a functional game and general programming statements the students applied mathematical calculations to enable 2D movements and detect collisions amongst the game assets. Components addressed in the workshop were from a range standard trigonometry through to more complex matrix transformation mathematics.

Brett Wilkinson

Adelaide Coastal Waters Study
Neil Buchanan & Natalie Bolton, PhD students, Health Sciences presented a workshop on The impact of Terrestrial discharges on Coastal Water Quality and Human Health, based on an actual case study completed in 2007.The Australian Coastal Water Study is a major driver of the environmental improvement plan currently being developed to protect near shore ecosystems.Students worked in teams to determine the link between two graphs showing the change in Adelaide's population and growth of seagrass off Adelaide's metropolitan coastline.
Students were then presented with more graphical and aerial photo data to determine the cause of the loss of seagrass from Adelaide's shoreline. Students discussed how storm water might impact on coastal water quality and recreational activities e.g. swimming may impact on the environment.
Neil Buchanan

Brent Banham, Science Communication Officer, Physical Sciences presented a workshop on an introduction to nanotechnology. Brent discussed how nanotechnology is radically changing our understanding of the world and the materials we use. He discussed what is impossible today may be tomorrow's reality and showed some applications of nanotechnology where students observed very interesting demonstrations.  

Brent Banham
Butterfly wings showing how the diffraction of light
 produces a shiny blue effect.
A drop of ethanol changes the diffraction of light and a bright green colour is observed.
Metal bar

Metal bar with ferro liquid added showing a
liquid changes straight to a solid without cooling. 

Rhiannon Creasy, PhD student, Physical Sciences presented her research on
"What does a molecule feel like? Probing surface at the nanoscale"

Biomedical engineering
David Hobbs, Academic, Engineering presented research on biomedical engineering
"Engineering a better tomorrow".

Biomedical engineering involves the application of engineering principles, technology and medicine to improve health care and health services to enhance the quality of human life. It covers a range of fields including medical devices, medical imaging, physiological signal processing, biomechanics, biomaterials and rehabilitation engineering. Biomedical engineering results in products such as diagnostic devices, biocompatible prostheses, medical devices, and imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs. It also assists in the development of tools for the training of medical professionals. This presentation provided an overview of the broad field of biomedical engineering, with a focus on rehabilitation engineering and research and commercial products within this field.

Career Development Consultant
Mark Gregory presented Flinders University Course Navigator

Industrial Problems

In Chemistry today students learnt about using and controlling theory in metal production and industrial processes.

Students worked in small groups on two tasks around metal production
and chemical industries which they really got into - using their previous
learning to solve problems. 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Dynamic Equilibrium

Today in chemistry students studied equilibrium through explanations, practice and
practical work.
Students studied the iron(III)thiocynate equilibrium reaction and the chromate dichromate equilibrium reaction.
Students investigated the effects of changing the concentrations of reactants and products on the equilibrium.
5 drops of iron(III)thiocynate is placed on a white tile.
Blood Red Colour

Fe +3 + SCN- รณ Fe(SCN)+2
Different ions are added to the drops to observe the equilibrium shift.
How far these reactions go is determined by the colour changes.
Fe +3 is Brown 
SCN- is Colourless 
Fe(SCN)+2  Blood red colour          

2CrO4–2 + 2 H + <=> Cr2O7–2 + H2O
Chromate                    Dichromate
Yellow                          Orange
The difference in color between the two species allows one to determine whether the reaction shifts toward products (turns orange) or shifts toward the reactants (turns yellow).

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Rates of reaction

Summative Design Investigation
Hydrocholoric acid was added to the sodium thiosulphate solution, a pale yellow precipitate of sulphur formed. Students designed an investigation to determine the effect temperature has on the reaction rate of this chemical reaction. Students recorded the time taken for the precipitate to form , and the X to disappear on the paper.
Students determined the effect temperature has on the rate of reaction.

Students heated the conical flask in a water bath on a hot plate.
 Chemistry is fun!

How long will the X take to disappear?

Temperature must be kept constant.

Read thermometer at eye level.

An actively engaged Academy Chemistry class.

Using ice the decrease the temperature.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

X marks the spot

The theory topic for chemistry today was electrolytic cells electrolytic cells, fuel cells and secondary cells. 

Today students learnt how to design an investigation. To practise their manipulative skills students performed a formative practical on the effect of concentration on
reaction rate. The academy chemistry students varied the concentration of thiosulphate. 

Setting up practical
When hydrocholoric acid was added to the sodium thiosulphate solution, a pale yellow precipitate of sulphur formed.
As the concentration of the sodium thiosulphate solution decreased, the time taken for the precipitate to form takes longer and longer.
X was written on white piece of paper and placed under the conical flask. The students recorded the time it took for the X to disappear using a stop watch.

X marks spot

Adding thiosulphate
Adding hydrochloric acid

See the X

X disappears
Sulphur precipitate forms

Recording reaction time


Cluster Map