May 2010

VC We had a very interesting video conference this week!  We used our new Polycomm mobile VC unit to connect with Big Valley, Alberta.  We were sharing two science experiments each as part of our grade 5 classroom chemistry unit.  The class from Big Valley showed us two chemical reactions.  The first was combining Potassium and varying concentrations of Hydrogen Peroxide.  The point of the experiment was to show evidence of a chemical reaction, and the evidence was very exciting,  The stopper flew out of the flask, across the room, the liquid turned yellow (produced iodine), a gas was given off (causing the stopper to go flying!), and heat was produced.  In the second experiment 15mL of Ethanol was placed in a 5 Gallon plastic water cooler jug and then the other teacher very carefully dropped in a match.  The students watched in amazement as a blue flame and loud pop burst out of the top of the jug.  We watched the teacher in Big Valley try the experiment again, adding new Ethanol to the jug.  We predicted that it would explode again when a match was added, but this time it didn’t react at all!  After discussion and observation we concluded that there was carbon dioxide in the jug instead of oxygen!

pepsiFor our experiments we looked at separating a gas and a liquid and surface tension.  We added mentos to pepsi,  The gas leaves the liquid very quickly!  The mentos causes a chemical reaction which quickly breaks the surface tension and allows the gas to escape very quickly!!  We did the experiment twice, once with room temperature pepsi (went about 1 meter in the air), then with cold pepsi (went about 6 inches in the air) so we could share the effect of temperature on the molecules in the pepsi.  I even managed to keep all of the pepsi in the catch basin!  We did the same experiment outside with a big bottle of pepsi and it went  about 14 ft in the air!

We also examined eggs that had been in various acids for over a week to examine the strength of acids.  The eggs had been in lemon juice, lime juice, pepsi, coke, vinegar, apple juice, and orange juice.  The shells were at different states of dissolving and the eggs were swelling and absorbing the liquids.  The egg in the vinegar was completely without a shell, making it the strongest acid.

Being able to share our learning and excitement with another class made our learning very exciting and engaging.  We were able to show what we knew and learn from other experts that are studying the same topic.  The added dynamic of science experiments added a strong visual component to the video conferencing experience.

Head over to the new site to find posts on:

Using the Nintendo DS for Vocabulary – My Word Coach

Using SimCity to teach Local Government and Civics

Using Images and Video to Teach Math – Quadrilaterals

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I’ve finally taken the leap and moved my blog to a new domain: Please update your feed and subscribe to the new blog.  I look forward to moving the conversation to the new blog!

The first post is all about using the game My Word Coach on the Nintendo DS.