Science at Ellison feeds our children’s inquisitive questions with an insight into how and why things are as they are. It encourages them to explore concepts independently, taking risks and experimenting with their ideas.
This month features the incredible, deadly viruses that could save us from superbugs and Voyager 2 which is back online and still exploring interstellar space.
There is also a Resource Special featuring a brilliant new set of lessons from hi-impact and the RAF and the ongoing brilliance of Science at Home - a collaboration between Science Sparks and the Primary Science Teaching Trust.
Here are some ideas for you to use while you are at home because of the Coronavirus lockdown.
Please stay safe. Click on the links to explore Science in different ways.
Dr Chips is live at 10am every day. https://drchips.weebly.com/
A series of short films showing science experiments to do at home with your parents. https://www.rigb.org/
Marvin and Milo are an intrepid cat and dog team with lots of experiments to do at home http://iop.cld.iop.org/education/teacher/extra_resources/stem/file_60284.pdf
If you do any of these please tweet them to our Ellison Primary Twitter feed so we can see them!
Take care all and stay safe. Mrs. Carpenter
Questions about the Coronovirus
It is a bit of a confusing time at the moment so I thought I would take some time to try to answer some of your questions from a Science point of view.
What is coronavirus?
You may have noticed lots of adults talking about a "coronavirus." There is a new kind of this virus spreading around the world. It's called a coronavirus because "corona" means "crown" in Latin. And the virus looks like it's wearing a spiky crown under a microscope.
What is a virus?
A virus is a teeny, tiny germ, way smaller than anything you can see. Viruses can make us sick, but they can't do anything on their own — they need to live inside another creature (their host) to survive. To do that, they have to get into our cells.
How does a virus get into our bodies?
The virus enters cells using a special "door" on the outside of human cells. The new coronavirus also needs a "key" to get into cells. In this case, the coronavirus has a special "spike" on its surface that it uses as a key to open the door. Once inside cells, the virus makes lots of copies of itself. Those copies break out of cells, then infect other cells. At a certain point, there are so many virus particles being produced that our normal cells can't work properly … and we get sick.
What does the virus do?
Mostly, it makes people cough, feel tired and have a fever. But older people and people who have other conditions can get very sick from it. The disease the virus causes is called COVID-19.
What can you do to help?
You can help stop the virus by washing your hands. This means using soap to make lots of bubbles and rubbing your hands together to clean all your fingers, under the fingernails and between the fingers. You can sing the ABCs or come up with another tune that lasts about 20 seconds like the Happy Birthday song two times.
Also, try to keep your hands off your face, so no rubbing your eyes or nose or putting your hands in your mouth. That way, if there is any of the virus on your hands, you won't give it a way to enter the body where it can make you sick.
And remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow (like a vampire!), and stay home when you're sick.
Should I be worried?
There's no need for you to worry, because adults are working very hard to keep children and other adults safe. Even if you do get this virus, children usually don't get very sick from it. It's more like a mild cold.
What can I do to help?
You still have a special role to play in protecting others! Older people, like grandparents, need your help to stay healthy. That means washing your hands and staying home and keeping away from them if you're sick. It may also mean staying at home and not going out to places like cinemas, restaurants or theatres if your parents or other grown-ups in charge decide that's best. That can slow down the spread of the virus and protect older and sicker people.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions.
What a fabulous week for Science! After two weeks of questioning and careful deliberation and consideration, our new Science Ambassadors have been chosen. It took the children a while to speak to everyone, as there were so many candidates that turned up for interview. Sadly, they could only choose one person per class, however it was fabulous to see how much passion and enthusiasm the children at Ellison Primary Academy have for Science. Well done to the children who have been chosen. I look forward to working alongside you. I would like to thank the Ambassadors who are stepping down for their time and enthusiasm. It has been a privilege and a pleasure!
Answer to this Big Question
Plastic rubbish is everywhere. A great deal of the rubbish that a household throws away each day can be recycled or reused, such as paper, metal or many plastics. Some items cannot be recycled at the moment and go to landfill. Everyone is now becoming more aware of the problems with plastic pollution and how plastics are making their way into food chains. The plastic problem is a world-wide problem though. It takes about 20 years for a plastic bag to decompose and about 450 years for some types of plastic bottles to decompose. Plastic is cheap to make, flexible, lightweight, waterproof, strong and can be moulded, so it is no wonder it has so many uses. What can be done about the world-wide plastic problem? How can we help?
Our big question for over Christmas was all about snowflakes.
What are snowflakes made from and what colour are they?
More facts about snowflakes….
More facts about snowflakes….
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
On the weekend of the 25th-27th our whole school took part in the Big Garden Bird Watch. So far, I have spoken to many children who were extremely keen to tell me all about their experiences over the weekend. It really is inspirational how children at Ellison Academy are so passionate about our environment and conservation. Don't forget, if you haven't submitted your results to do so by the 2nd of February and if you can't; then bring your sheet into school so that we can submit it for you. Thank you.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings we invited children from Key Stage 2 and their grown-ups to a ‘Space themed Family Learning Night’ from 5.30pm -7.30pm on the 9th December.
It began with an opening lecture from Dr Binks, from Keele University about exo-planet discovery and stellar/galactic evolution and then consisted of different workshops. These included sessions in the Stardome with Scott Walker, who is also the Ogden Trust Officer for Keele from the University and drop in telescope sessions outside with Dr Van Loon who showed them how to use a telescope and to identify some common celestial objects; especially the moon! They also got to take a Solar System home in their pocket, as well as used Play-Doh to explore the sizes of each planet. It was a very enjoyable evening and as remarked by a parent 'One of the best evening's I have had in a very long time!' The children are still buzzing and talking about it! We would like to thank Scott Walker, Dr. Jacco Van Loon and Dr. Alex Binks for donating their time and making it so memorable. It definitely was 'out of this world!'
This time our BIG Question is one that one of our children has asked me (and it is very relevant for this time of year!)
Why is snot green?
Mucus is a gel that lines our nose, our intestines, and even our lungs. It’s very sticky and slippery. This is because mucus is designed to help keep the germs and bugs out of our body. Any bugs that try and get in, should just get stuck in this mucus and then blown out or swallowed (where they would mostly be destroyed by our powerful stomach acids). Sometimes this doesn’t work and the germs infect our body. A cold is caused by a virus, and these like to get inside of our cells and make us sick. When we get sick our immune system needs to get rid of the virus and make us better.
Our immune system is made up of lots of different parts. One part is a special cell called a “neutrophil”. Neutrophils are a type of cell called a “phagocyte”. Phagocyte means a cell that eats things. Neutrophils like to eat bugs, or our own cells that are damaged by infections like viruses that cause a cold. When we have a cold, neutrophils are one of the cells that help us get better. These neutrophils work very quickly, but they don’t live for very long. Once they die we need to get rid of them, and they end up in our snot. Neutrophils have different ways of helping us get better. They can eat bugs, they can send out nets and catch bugs, or they can send out chemicals to kill bugs. All of these processes use a special chemical called MPO (that stands for myeloperoxidase but don’t worry, most scientists just call it MPO).
MPO is a chemical that makes a type of bleach. Just like you might use bleach when you are cleaning your home, this bleach kills infections. Neutrophils release MPO to kill any germs that it has eaten, or sends it out with its nets, or as one of the chemicals that it releases to kill any bugs. MPO contains a green colour. And because the dead neutrophils end up in our snot, the MPO in the neutrophils makes our snot look green.
Lots of people think green snot means you are really sick, or that you need antibiotics to treat your infection. But this is not true. Green snot is actually a sign that our immune system is working and that we are getting better.
The answer for our BIG question is that it is Green sea turtles have left these tracks. Their tails drag behind them, which makes the central line. They lay their eggs on the beach in nests so that they won’t get washed away, and afterwards the turtles quickly retreat into the sea.Green sea turtles are one of the world’s largest species of turtle, weighing around 65-130kg and measuring between 1-1.2m long. They have a strong, tear-drop shape shell, called a ‘carapace’, which covers most of their body, except for their head and four flippers. Their carapace can include shades of different colours, including dark brown, green, olive, yellow and black. They are named for their layer of green fat that lies under their shell. Scientists believe this unusual quirky-coloured fat is the result of their veggie diet – unlike most other sea turtles, the green sea turtle eats marine plants such as seaweed and sea grass. Adult green turtles breed by the beaches where they were born. Females usually travel thousands of miles from their feeding grounds back to their ‘natal’ or ‘hatching’ beach every two to four years. The female crawls onto the sandy beach, digs out a nest with her flippers and lays a clutch of about 115 eggs. She then covers the eggs with sand and returns to the sea. After about two months, the babies will use a special “egg tooth” to break their shells and hatch from their eggs. But when they do, the race is on, and they must immediately make a treacherous journey across the sand to the water, avoiding predators such as birds, crabs, wild dogs and lizards along the way!
The answer for our BIG question is that it is a magnified photo (x 4000) of a citrus mite. It isn’t visible to the human eye and it isn’t harmful to humans. It might be found on the surface of an orange or a lemon. From the tea we drink, to the water we swim in, to the beds we sleep upon, millions of minuscule mites share our wide world. Mites are arachnids, much like spiders and scorpions, and the microscopic creatures are among the oldest and most plentiful invertebrates on the planet. An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. (An animal with a backbone is called a vertebrate.) Invertebrates live in every part of the world. In fact, most of the animals on Earth are invertebrates.
The answer for our BIG question is that it is a polar bear photographed with an infra-red camera showing how much heat is lost from different parts of its body. Polar bears have very thick fur, which is a very good insulator.
This prevents heat energy being lost from their bodies and the infra-red camera shows this as a dark blue colour.
Heat is lost from the ears but, because polar bears have very small ears, not much heat is lost. The areas that aren’t
covered by fur show the greatest amount of heat being lost, and the infra-red camera shows this from red to orange to yellow with yellow indicating the greatest heat loss. Polar bears have dark skin beneath their fur, which retains heat from sunlight very well. Their layer of blubber under the skin also insulates against heat loss.
Our Science Ambassadors have been working hard reviewing all the books from the Royal Society. There have been lots of discussions and we finally decided that our winner was 'States of Matter'.
We discussed our favourites out of the six books and gave reasons why:
States of matter- it gets you active and allows you to create experiments at home.
-it was the most interesting and you get to do Science too.
Kid Scientists - this book tells you lots of childhood facts about famous Scientists so I've learnt a lot about people who I've never heard of before.
-it was more interesting as it's kids so it's easier to understand.
Planetarium - The book has beautiful pictures.
- I liked finding out all about the planets and what they are made of.
- it's really interesting finding out all about space and if there could be aliens!
This image shows the Moon transiting (passing in front of) the Earth. It was taken by NASA’s
EPIC camera on board the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite about 1.5
million km from Earth. DSCOVR is a space weather, space climate, and Earth observation satellite
launched by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle on February 11, 2015, from Cape Canaveral.
The Moon is a natural satellite orbiting the Earth at a distance of about 400,000km from the Earth. It takes 28 days to complete its orbit. The Moonis much smaller than the Earth; it is approximately one sixth of the size of the Earth.
The answer for our Big Question this time was no, not all ears are the same.The outer part of the ear is called the pinna. The plural of this word is pinnae. Using careful observation skills you will be able to see very easily that different people’s pinnae are very different! The pinna helps to amplify the sound (make it louder).
Well done if you knew the answer!
Now have a go at our next BIG question. If you think you know the answer let Mrs. Carpenter know. There could be some dojo points for the correct answers!
At Ellison Primary Academy we encourage the children to think of BIG questions they would like to investigate in our learning. To support this Mrs. Carpenter will be posing some BIG questions and would like you and your children to have a discussion and have a go at answering these. Mrs. Carpenter will post the answer to the question after each newsletter so you can see if you were right!
Our next BIG question is above. Tell Mrs. Carpenter if you think you know what the answer is
The answer to our BIG question this time was BONE! Well done if you knew the answer!
Now have a go at our next BIG question. If you think you know the answer let Mrs. Carpenter know. There could be some dojo points for the correct answers!
'Why is the sky blue?'
The light that travels to the earth from the sun looks to be white or yellow. But actually it is made up of all the colours of the rainbow. You can see this by using a prism or a glass. This breaks the sunlight up into its rainbow coloured parts. When you look up into the sky, you are actually looking through the Earth's atmosphere. This is billions of little oxygen and nitrogen molecules that float around in the sky. These molecules make up the air we breathe. When the sunlight hits the earth's atmosphere, the blue light is reflected in all directions. The other colours - red, orange, yellow - also bounce off the molecules, but the blue light is scattered the strongest. Your eye is sensitive to blue light, and this reflected energy causes the sky to appear blue when we look at it.
We have had an exciting couple of weeks in school where there has been lots of Science taking place. We have had two sets of chicks in our Reception classes and we managed to safely hatch out 11 of 12 chicks which was amazing. Please look at the videos below to see and hear the reaction of the children. All of the classes were able to visit the chicks at different points and loved seeing their journey into chicks.
We have also had our Science Week where each class focused on 'journeys' linked to their learning. We had all kinds of 'scientific journeys' from how different paper thickness affected the journey of a paper plane to the journey banana and weetabix take as they are digested in the body.
As part of our Promenade in school, to celebrate all of the fabulous learning that takes place at Ellison Academy, our Science Ambassadors and members of the Discovery club demonstrated lots of different experiments with magnets, paper planes and spinners with everyone who came to visit. Thank you to all of our visitors. We had a fantastic afternoon. Mrs. Carpenter was extremely proud of all the children who took part. Well done!
On the weekend of 26th -28th January our school took part in the ‘Big Garden Bird watch’ gathering valuable data that will help work towards conservation of different types of birds in our community by becoming conservation scientists and helping the RSPB to track the ups and downs of birds across the country.
By using a sheet to help identify different birds, we recorded which birds visited our gardens. We handed in the sheet to school so that all the information could be counted by Mrs. Carpenter and the Science Ambassadors and then submitted to the RSPB to help conservation for future generations. Over 190 children took part in our Big Garden Bird Watch and we spotted lots of different birds including a pelican and a Canadian Goose! Our Science Ambassadors worked very hard to count all of the sheets very carefully and here are our results!
Our most popular bird that we spotted was the Woodpigeon, with the Blackbird and Magpie being close favourites while our least spotted birds were the chaffinches and the Dunnocks. It was lovely to see so many families taking part and the enthusiasm that the children shared. Well done everyone!
Big Garden Birdwatch allows the RSPB to monitor trends and helps them understand how birds are doing. As the format of the survey has stayed the same, the scientific data can be compared year-on-year, making the results very valuable to conservational scientists. With results from so many gardens, they are able to create a 'snapshot' of bird numbers across the UK. The results help to spot problems, but more importantly, they are also the first step in putting things right. This is why it's so important that we count garden birds.
We have been awarded the Primary Quality Science Mark here at Ellison Primary Academy! Here are some a few examples of all the wonderful learning that takes place at our Academy. We love Science as you can see! Well done everyone!
On the 17th and 18th of October we invited parents in to share our Science Learning. The children led the learning and lots of parents came to take part. There was lots of different vocabulary to teach the parents ,which we all understood and could explain and everyone enjoyed sharing with the children about a wide variety of science learning across the school including plants, the water cycle, materials, being healthy and the rock cycle to name a few of the lessons that took place . It certainly demonstrated how our children are all incredible scientists and have a great passion for Science here at Ellison Primary Academy. Thank you to all the parents who came to share in our learning. It was a very memorable experience and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
This year at Ellison our Science Ambassadors have already been working hard reviewing books for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize. We have had lots of intense discussions on the books so far and made very lively videos about our views which we have shared below.
Mrs. Carpenter is intensely proud of the effort, enthusiasm and hard work that has gone into our videos this year. We have celebrated each week with treats to sustain our stamina....see if you can spot these!
Look what happens when Science Ambassadors pose for a photo!
Science doesn't stop when school is closed so here are some ideas to keep you going over the weekend or holidays at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and Gentleshaws! If you do visit anywhere please let Mrs. Carpenter know so she can add your ideas to our list and we can share it on our webpage.
Museum of Science Industry
If you enjoy Science you will love the 'Science Showdown 'that is taking place in Manchester from the 22nd December - 6th January. There will be many free activities that you can take part in. To find out more click on the link below.
The overall winner of the Book Prize was Optical Illusions. Our Ambassadors were very surprised at this result as you will tell from our review below!
If you want to spend some time discovering all about different animals and birds of Prey come and visit Gentleshaw's Wildlife centre. Here you can see bats, raccoons, wild cats and even Saxon who is half dog and half wolf! There is a picnic area and a play area if you have any energy left. You can also see flying exhibitions where birds of prey such as owls, falcons and hawks are flown. It is an amazing opportunity to see these animals up close!
Our Science Ambassadors
Our Science Ambassadors are democratically elected to capture the learning during our scientific investigations. They also help children throughout the school recognise how science is an integral part of everyday life. Our Discovery Club is an additional opportunity where children can take part in additional scientific opportunities after school.
This week our current Science Ambassadors gave up their lunchtimes to conduct interviews for the new Science Ambassadors for each class from Year 1 through to Year 5. They took this very seriously as they were intent on making sure the new ambassadors were perfect for this very important role.
They had lots of very eager and enthusiastic applicants who made their job of choosing very hard, but we now have our new ambassadors who we are very excited to have join our team at Ellison.
We would like to thank all the children who came to interview. We were delighted with the response to our interviews which demonstrates how much we love Science here at our school.
This year our STEM was interrupted by the snow but it didn't cool our enthusiasm for Science!
We had lots of visitors and had lots of exciting lessons all built around the investigation of 'Rocket Mouse' who needed to get the moon via bottle power!
Every year group decided how they wanted to get Rocket mouse to travel by changing one variable from the force used, bottle size, angle of launch, weights and even wind resistance! There were a lot of fantastic ideas shared and investigated where the children led the investigation and then thought of more questions that they wanted to find out about. Here are some photos of our learning. The smiles say it all!
STEM Career Assembly
On Wednesday we had lots of visitors in to discuss their jobs and how they use Science every day.
Our visitors were Gilly and Bran from White Cross Vets, Mr. Newton (our caretaker), Mrs. Piper (who is in charge of cooking all of our delicious lunches) and one of our coaches from Stoke City. They all shared how they use Science and why it is important for their job. Our Science Ambassadors told us all about other people that we have met and know and how they use Science. They did a fabulous job talking in front of the whole school. There were lots of discussions afterwards about the jobs that we might want to consider in our futures as scientists in all sorts of areas of Science which was really inspiring and promising!
Our new discovery club has started with children from Key Stage 2 who have chosen lots of different experiments to conduct and explore. Our first session involved making paper airplanes and how to adapt these to get the best smooth flights or to cause them to twist and turn in the air. This week we are making slime so the children are very excited! Watch out for the pictures .....it could get messy!
This year our science ambassadors from Year 2-6 were given the opportunity to review six science books shortlisted for this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize.
UK publishers submitted their best science books for under-14s to the 2017 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize and an adult judging panel narrowed them down to the six best books. The prize celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people in an accessible, creative way and has been running for over 25 years.
The overall winner of the annual prize will be selected entirely by groups of young people across the UK and our ambassadors were chosen to represent our school by taking part.
Our overall winner was 'Home Lab' by Robert Winston which won unanimously with a score of 19.5 out of 20!
Our WOW Science Assembly
On Friday 3rd February we were very lucky to have a visit from Tim Harrison who is a professor from the University of Bristol. He came to show us a multitude of experiments all about the different gases including nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and helium. He wowed us all with his knowledge and his experiments. The children thoroughly enjoyed the hour he spent with us! Thank you Tim! In the words of our children 'That was off the charts awesome!'
Our stem week took place from the 27th February until the 3rd of March. Here are some examples of our learning written by our Science Ambassadors to tell you all about our learning that week.