Monday, 30 November 2009

Chemical Magic...

Today I was demonstrating what happens when you react metals with oxygen. Iron filings in a Bunsen burner create lots of lovely sparks, and copper and zinc filings are even prettier (they make green sparks and blue sparks respectively.) I used magnesium powder too, which makes a brilliant white sparkler effect... and a magnesium oxide "snow" which gave me what looked like a severe case of dandruff.

The "ooohs" and "ahhs" were very gratifying.

Mind you, I then used a glowing splint to test for oxygen in a gas jar. The wooden splint bursting back into flame got the biggest cheer of all.

As I said before, Year 7 are just so easy to impress...

8 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

Forget year 7--I'm impressed! [How come WE never did cool stuff like that?]

Miss Ellen E. said...

I was always hopeless at Chemistry at school. I wish I could come and sit in your lessons - they sound much more fun than mine were. :0)

George said...

Oh... go on Mac,

Fill a bath tub with water (no not your bathroom, an old one out in the school playground) and drop some Caesium metal (only about 3 gramms). Escape to a safe distance and a few seconds later KABBOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!!!

Here's another one of those fun links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCk0lYB_8c0&feature=related

Never mind the ooohs and ahhhs from Yr-7 watching a glowing splint coem to life in pure oxygen - this exhibition of an exploding bath-tub will get kids of all ages and the Teaching staff roaring with approval (and probably screaming from the fright of their lives!).

Yes folks - practical Science is FUN! Just remember not to try this at home kids, but if you must please tell your Mum and/or Dad first! :-)

Idea for a Science Teachers car sticker - 'I LOVE ALKALI METALS' and 'HONK IF YOU BLEW UP YOUR BATH TUB LAST NIGHT'

Rita said...

I've too had a good day but with making red cabbage indicator. Oohs and ahhhs of delight at the colour changes with different pH solutions and then we made red cabbage indicator paper to take home....I've rarely seen pupils so keen to do homework.

Yup, year 7 are great, and considering I'm naturally allergic to chemistry (I'd quite honestly be happier teaching history or geography, actually I'd be happier cleaning the toilets), they really do carry you along on a tide of enthusiasm.

Why can't it last?!

Father Cory Sticha said...

I'm with gemoftheocean. That sounds like fun!

Steven said...

Never mind the chemistry. WHERE'S THE CAT POST? My cat is sulking because she hasn't had her Monday dose of Lolcat!

Fr Steven Fisher
Ramsgate, Kent, UK

Rusticus said...

My father used to make home-made fireworks for Bonfire Night using similar substances and gunpowder (he was an analytical chemist by profession).

It was wonderful, and my brothers and I always enjoyed them. Nowadays, Elf 'n' Safety fascists would probably have him locked up.

Philip Watson said...

I like the way Yr7 can even be pursuaded to get at least semi-enthusiastic about algebra (although in truth, the magic does seem to have fizzled out by Yr8).

Talking of excitement in chemistry lessons, may I suggest that you ask Fr Tim if he was there when Fr Ryman taught us to make thermite?

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