Children at Cotgrave Candleby Lane School have been exploring science inspired by traditional festivals and events like Diwali and Bonfire Night.
Charlie Reeves is a Year 1 teacher at the school and explained the exciting day when children became practical scientists. “We used festivals and annual events to inspire some science lessons and experiments with the children. With my colleagues Miss Springhall and Mrs. Wheatley, we planned to make the lessons exciting and memorable and so lined up some practical experiments to get children fully engaged with the subject.”
One such experiment saw children observing the effect of mixing food colouring and vegetable oil together and then pouring it into water. Charlie said, “Children were able to see the food colouring and vegetable oil became one liquid when mixed together. But when it was poured into the water, the two liquids separated and the food colouring ‘escaped’ the oil and went into the water. It looked like it was exploding into the water like fireworks. We learnt that to see the variety of colours, we shouldn’t have mixed the food colouring and oil together so vigorously!”
Another experiment needed considerably more space to carry out as children observed the chemical reaction between two everyday items.
Charlie said that children were excited about this investigation, and accurately predicted what followed. She said, “We mixed cola and mentos for the next experiment. The cola bottle exploded and shot liquid and mentos everywhere much to the joy of the children! After the excitement simmered down, we discussed why this happened and the children agreed that the cola drink and mentos mustn’t like each other and that this may cause them to repel and explode away from each other!
“We also discussed the effect of the fizz in the cola drink and the porous surface of the mentos to see if that prompted the reaction. During the experiment, we observed that the bottle didn’t explode, but the coke and mentos certainly did react and caused an explosion, a bit like a firework shooting into the air! We learnt that the more mentos we added, the larger the explosion!”
Charlie said that by creating practical experiments for children, their grasp of the science is more memorable. “Exciting lessons are more memorable for children and foster a deeper understanding through the discussions we have afterwards. We certainly think that the children enjoyed their lessons and will have strong memories of their lessons. We all became budding scientists for the day!”