GTAC Lesson 1

On May the 6th, 2014, the 5/6s of Moonee Ponds Primary School had a visit from some people from GTAC (Gene Technology Access Centre). As out term topic is chemistry, two people (Maria and Chris) who specialize in this area explained the components of solids and liquids.

In the science lab, the 5/6s had a chance to explore and experiment with solids and liquids to expand our knowledge. Chris and Maria set us a series of activities in order for us to understand the changes liquids and solids go through.

Our first activity was to experiment with a solid. We had to get in groups of six and in that groups, had to be two sub-groups, having one group being the manipulators, and the other observing what was happening to the solid. The task was to use tongs in order to get some play dough in a cup and manage to get the majority of its particles into the corresponding beaker. My group managed to fulfil this task successfully in a time of 55 seconds.

The observers of my group observed that the play dough was a compressed and mouldable object to fit in the fairly small cup. We then had a discussion about the descriptive words which could be used to describe the play dough. Each group shared a word. Then Maria and Chris taught us a scientific word to fully define the play dough. The word was “malleable” meaning capable of being shaped, bent, or drawn out.

Our next challenge involved another solid. We had to use a cup in order to successfully transfer a rubber band to the corresponding beaker. There was a catch. The rubber band could not go in the cup, or on the bottom of the cup. My team approached this challenge by placing the rubber band around the cup vertically.

Again, eachteam’s observers had to discuss with the manipulators what the observed. I observed the once the rubber band was taken off the cup, it returned to its original shape. Some descriptive words we came up with were elastic, stretchy and expandable.

Our final activity with a solid was to fit a big foam cup inside a smaller cup and put the majority of its particles into a large beaker. Our team broke the big cup to put it inside the smaller cup. Then once again, Chris and Maria taught us a word to describe the big cup. It was “brittle” meaning easily damaged or destroyed.

After that, we started looking at the concept of liquid. We were asked which liquid would travel faster. Water, or maple syrup? We all thought maple syrup would travel slower, but we were unsure why. Chris told us that sticky and thick substances such honey, when the particles of the thick substance travels from one place to another, the particle bonds strengthen. Whereas, water particles do not have very strong bonds when they travel. Then Chris and Maria taught us another word being “viscosity”. Viscosity is defined as how fast a liquid flows.

Then came the end of our lesson, finished off by illustrating the particles in a solid and liquid.

From this experience, some things I remember are that solid particles are tightly compressed, whereas liquid particles are very loosely compressed. I remember that there is still some space between solid particles so that they at least have some space to move and bond.

Some things I now understand are the reasons why certain liquids take longer to travel than others, and I know understand the different scientific words to describe solid and liquid elements.

Some questions I am still left with are: Is heat a gas? If so, why? Which places on earth is plasma found? And finally, how many different types of gases are there?

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