Lent Term Science

It has been a busy term in science so far.  The Year 8s have been preparing for mid-term examinations, but have still had the opportunity to study photosynthesis in plants and compare it to respiration in both animals and plants.  This has included practical work on testing a leaf for starch and the limiting factors for photosynthesis, such as availability of light, water and carbon dioxide.  We also studied plant mineral requirements.  Following this was work on chemistry, particularly chemical reactions such as thermal decomposition, oxidation of metals, displacement reactions and the reactivity series, culminating in a more detailed look at acids, alkalis and neutralisation.

Year 7 scientists started the term looking at the three states of matter, changes of state and gas pressure, Brownian motion, diffusion and expansion in materials and the problems that these can cause.  We have recently started a module on separating techniques in chemistry, such as filtration, evaporation and crystallisation and simple distillation. We looked at distillation on an industrial scale for industries such as desalination plants, linking these to the Geography syllabus, and distillation of alcohol from fermented orange juice.  For some reason, this practical captured the students’ imaginations more than normal!

Year 6 picked up from the Michaelmas term, continuing their study of forces and their effects, comparing gravity, mass and weight on different planets, floating and sinking and relating this to the density of materials to suggest a reason why things float or sink in water.  Most recently, we have experimented with magnets, magnetic fields, solenoids and electromagnets.

Phil Smith