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Assignment for primary school children: Growing crystals

Primary school children are particularly curious and there are many exciting things to discover, especially in the house. For example in the bathroom: Why are there sometimes white spots on the mirror? Hasn't it just been cleaned? 
We have prepared an assignment from our teaching material "Lilus House - Language Skills through Experiments" in which children get to the bottom of this phenomenon. With just a few household objects they grow crystals and at the same time learn that there is more in the water than they can see. 

The assignment

Lilu, Alina and the spider are at home, but they are not bored. Now they can go on a discovery tour of scientific phenomena! And they quickly find something interesting in the bathroom. The spider notices it first: "Look at the mirror! We just cleaned it, but now there are all these little white spots. But why? Where do all these stains come from?"

Alina replies: "It is lime. It comes from the water we used to clean the mirror." "But the water was clean. I didn't see any lime in it", the spider says confusedly. "There are many minerals in the water, even if you can't see them. Come on, I'll show you with an experiment," exclaims Lilu.

Materials:

  • cup of hot water
  • clean jar
  • salt
  • spoon
  • coffee filter
  • funnel
  • cord
  • pencil
  • paper clip
  • food colouring (optional)
     

Procedure:

  • Take a cup of hot water.
  • Add one teaspoon of salt and stir.
  • Keep adding salt and stirring until the salt stops dissolving.
  • Place the coffee filter in the funnel.
  • Pour the saltwater through the coffee filter into the clean jar.
  • Add food colouring if you want your crystals coloured and stir.
  • Tie a paper clip to the cord.
  • Tie the cord to the pencil, so the paper clip hangs in the water while the pencil balances on the top of the jar.
  • Wait to see what happens.
  • Make a drawing of the final result!
     

Safety! Be careful with the hot water!

Lilu takes a glass of water: "Look, I put a spoonful of salt in the water. After I stir it, you can’t see the salt anymore. That's because the salt has dissolved in the water. But when the water evaporates, the salt crystallises." The spider asks, "What happens now?" "Now we must wait." Lilu attaches a paper clip to a piece of string and ties the string to a stick. Every morning, the spider goes down from its web to find out if you can finally see crystals in the glass with the string.

One morning Lilu and Alina wake up because the spider crawls around on their faces: "You scared me! What are you doing?" shouts Lilu.  "Now you can finally see something: It looks as if there are lots of little white stones on the string and on the paper clip. It seems as if the salt wants to climb out of the glass. Come and see!" Together, the friends look at the crystals they have grown. Now even the spider understands the white spots on the mirror. The lime cannot be seen with the naked eye, but it is there. If you clean the mirror with water, the water will evaporate and the lime will stay behind!

This assignment is taken from our brochure "Lilu's House: Language Skills through Experiments". You can download the brochure here

06.05.2020

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The Primary Science Education Conference in Edinburgh

Primary teachers from around the world came together at the Primary Science Education Conference in Edinburgh, hosted at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, from June 6th – June 8th by the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT).

The PSTT are sponsoring some of the UK Science on Stage delegation travelling to Cascais Portugal later this year. Over 400 delegates came together to listen to keynote speeches from the likes of Jim al Khalili, Laura Schulz and Kate Bellingham. 

Workshops were led by a whole host of teachers including several of the UK Science on Stage delegation, many meeting for the first time, this included: Paul Tyler on Primary Science Capital, Sarah Eames on Premier League Primary Star Primary Science and Robin James.

It was particularly nice that Robin James was given a Primary Science Teaching Award for his continuing work in a primary physics particularly around ‘The Hula Hoop Hundreds and Thousands Hadron Collider’, relating to his visit to CERN.

Robin was presented his award by Stuart Farmer, Chair of the Science on Stage UK National Steering Committee in his role as Education Manager for the Institute of Physics, sponsor of the award. David Keenahan, of Science on Stage Ireland, along with his daughter Valerie, shared their work on Science Enquiry through Demonstrations drawing on a number of activities from previous Science on Stage Festivals.

It was also good that Heidrun Boll of Science on Stage Germany presented a session on 'Lilu’s House: Language Skills through Experiments', a SonS resource which is all about developing language skills through science experiments.

For more information about the event: www.primaryscienceconference.org

Report by Kulvinder Johal 

Photo by Primary Science Teaching Trust

Take a workshop to your country: Lilu visits Italy

Heidrun Boll, ambassador and part of the BackStageTeam of Science on Stage Germany e.V., was invited to Bolzano in Italy, to conduct a teacher training on 15 and 16 April. Here, she demonstrated her project "Hebelwerkstatt", which was awarded at the International Science on Stage festival 2017 in Hungary in the category "Natural Sciences for Primary School". She also presented the published teaching material “Lilu’s House: Language Skills through Experiments”, on which she had worked as an author.

The training was organised by Monica Zanella of Science on Stage Italy. 20 primary school teachers from all over Italy took part. The participants were able to experience for themselves how stimulating action-oriented and research-oriented learning can be. They've learned how much language there is in natural sciences and which difficulties, for example, children with a migration background have to overcome in order to be able to follow a specialized class.

The feedback from the participating teachers was therefore very positive. One participant commented: "It was a great training, very close to everyday-lessons with an extremely motivated and competent lecturer!" They hope that in the future, more trainings of this kind could take place in Italy. 

You can order the brochure “Lilu’s House: Language Skills through Experiments" here for free or download it as a PDF file.

 

Photocredit: Elisabeth Wieser 

Report by Monica Zanella

Take a workshop to your country: Lilu in Dublin

Lilu and Alina visited Eire: A "Lilu's House"-workshop took place on Saturday, April 13th at Dublin City University as part of the annual Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA) Conference.

The 18 participants, who had traveled from all over Ireland, were mainly primary school teachers with some secondary science teachers.

The focus of the workshop was to gain hands-on experience by exploring many of the experiments from the teaching material: Lilu’s House: Language Skills through Experiments. Each teacher received a copy of the book as well as simple materials to recreate the experiments in their classrooms.

Feedback from the workshop was very positive with many teachers stating that they found the workshop very useful and that they would use Lilu’s House in their classes.

It is hoped to run more Lilu’s House Workshops around Ireland.

 

Report and picture by Paul Nugent 

The workshop was presented by: Jitka Houfková, SonS Executive Board and Charles University in Prague, Jane Shimizu: Primary teacher at Scoil Chaitríona, Junior School, Galway, Ireland and Paul Nugent, SonS Executive Board and Institute of Physics in Ireland.