Toftwood Junior Science Day 2020: part of British Science Week

On Friday 13th March, we were lucky to have two scientists from Mad Science (Dr DNA and Scientiffany) deliver an amazing assembly for the whole of KS2. Dr DNA started by discussing the pressing crisis affecting everyone at the moment: the short supply of toilet paper! An experiment involving lift, thrust, gravity and drag was performed using toilet roll. Wren in Year 3 and an industrial hairdryer helped to propel the toilet paper across the hall.

After singing happy birthday – twice – to Willow in Year 6 to emphasise how long to wash our hands for, two Oliver and Ellouise in Year 3 were selected to play ‘Toilet War: Paper vs Wipes.’ This was an experiment to show what we should put down the toilet (the three Ps – pee, poo and toilet paper) and what not to put down it. One side of the hall was encouraging the toilet paper to get through a funnel first and the other side encouraged the wet wipes to get through first. The funnel represented the toilet pipes and both sides made a whirlwind to show the toilet being flushed. Of course, toilet paper won and the wet wipes just got stuck! To show how strong wet wipes are and that they don’t break down easily, Dr DNA used a wet wipe rope to safely pull Harrison from Year 5 along on a trolley.

Then, photos of blockages in sinks and drains were displayed and an experiment was conducted where Dr DNA, Scientiffany and their volunteers tried to unblock a fat-stuffed sink with washing-up liquid and boiling water. The explosion hopefully reminded people not to put fat, oils and other items down the sink. After all, “Fat and oil down your sink creates a massive stink!”

Finally, a Year 3 volunteer – Zayn – was selected to help get an egg (Eggbert, one of the Mad Science crew) into his ‘house,’ which was a glass flask. Using a match to deprive the flask of oxygen, Eggbert was successfully sucked into the flask. He was then pulled out of his house by Dr DNA, who blew into the flask to put the oxygen back into it. Unfortunately, poor Eggbert didn’t survive Zayn pulling him out of his flask-house!

Thank you to Dr. DNA, Scientiffany and all of the volunteers for such a memorable assembly!

Year 3:

Year 3 took on the topic of ‘Diverse Places’ as part of the ‘Our Diverse Planet’ theme for this year. They started by taking part in an activity called ‘Don’t Tip the Ship.’

As cargo ships have been around for thousands of years, transporting goods around the world, the children built boats and investigated how much weight could be added to the boats before they sank. They learned that the best way of loading a ship is to spread the load (the weight) evenly across the ship. If too much is put in one place, the ship will tip!

After that, Year 3 children worked in groups and read about Bransfield’s journey to the Antarctic in 1819-20. The children researched and talked about what equipment they would need to take with them and why. They looked at maps and charts to learn about Antarctica, Bransfield’s journey there and how diverse habitats on our planet are from one another.

Later in the afternoon, Year 3 joined Year 5 to learn and play games that the older children had developed based on the topic of ‘Diverse People.’ The aim of Year 5’s task was to adapt games for people who may be visually or hearing impaired, or who may have some other kind of physical disability. Year 3 contributed their own ideas to help Year 5 evaluate and develop their games further.

Year 4:

To celebrate ‘Our Diverse Planet’ Science Day, Year 4 took part in a carousel of activities on the topic of camouflage. We learned about the four types of camouflage: concealing, disruptive, disguise and mimicry. As well as learning about animals that do camouflage themselves to their environment, we also considered animals that do not have any camouflage. Each child then each chose an animal that they thought would like to be camouflaged and decided which way they could camouflage them. The children used their imaginations and created some superb camouflaged animals. For example a deer was given green and brown stripes to blend in with its environment this is called disruptive camouflage. An orang-utan was given tiger stripes so that fewer trees would be cut down as people would be afraid of the orang-utan! This camouflage is called mimicry.

Another of our activities was researching animals that use camouflage and the reason for the camouflage. The children worked in pairs to research their chosen animal and create an information poster. We had a variety of different animals including sidewinder rattlesnakes, artic wolves and leaf insects! They all worked really well together and created some wonderful pieces of work.

Building on this, the children took the opportunity to develop their artistic skills through creating their own watercolours based on camouflage art. Using watercolours can be tricky, but year 4 persevered to make some wonderful art. The children were creative with their approach, thinking about the colouration of animals and the patterns they have that help them when they are out in the wild.

All in all, a fabulous day for year 4.

Year 5:

In Year 5, the children learned about games that had been adapted for ‘Diverse People.’ They watched videos and researched games such as Hugby, which is a form of rugby that has been developed for visually impaired people. Instead of tackling, people hug each other and then the person being hugged calls out their team name so that the person hugging them knows whether they are on the same team or not. The children thought about other games and activities and researched their own ways to develop them.

In the hall, the Year 5 children used equipment to pursue their ideas further. They came up with individual and team games that could be played to include people with a range of disabilities and diverse people. As our focus was on inclusion, the children came up with ideas and played games against each other using such things as blindfolds, sitting on chairs or having one arm held behind their backs to simulate what it is like for those who do not have full use of their senses or limbs. This meant that everyone playing had the same chance of scoring or winning a game.

After lunch, Year 5 children researched their own games to play using laptops and tried out ideas for their adapted games in groups. They came up with rules and instructions for their games so that they could rehearse them ready to show a different year group. Each Year 5 class then teamed up with a Year 3 class to teach the children how to play their adapted games. Year 3 contributed their own ideas to help Year 5 evaluate their games scientifically and to help develop them further.

Year 6:

As part of British Science Week, Year 6 focused on adaptation and diversity in plants and animals to explore the theme of ‘our diverse planet’. This links closely with our current Science unit, evolution and inheritance. We studied the work and research of Charles Darwin and learnt how influential his theories are today. Our first activity involved investigating diversity within plants and exploring how plants have adapted to suit new environments. This gave us the information we needed when choosing our own environments and plants to design. Our plants had to have been adapted in some way to highlight the diverse environments such as: a lack of water, very hot conditions, very shady conditions or bright sunshine.

Our second activity highlighted the theory of ‘survival of the fittest’. To do this, we read an interesting story about peppered moths. The story outlined the effects of the industrial revolution on environments. This had an impact on the environments in which everything lived including people, plants, animals and even insects. Originally, the majority of the moths were white so they could camouflage against the lighter birch trees. As pollution discoloured the air, the birch trees became darker, as did the moths. This meant that the darker moths were able to disguise themselves against the bark which resulted in them living longer and the number white moths falling. Our task was to illustrate the story of the peppered moths in a comic strip style to show how the peppered moths changed colour and camouflaged against the bark.