This term we focused on science. We looked at many different aspects such as chemical and physical changes, changes of matter and their steps, properties and substances and a lot more. We also did our own research on a specific topic. This would later be presented to the class as a prepared speech. We would be judged on our work by our peers and be given positive feedback and maybe points we need to improve on. My speech was about chemical changes and whether the results are irreversible or otherwise.
We also conducted and wrote a report on an experiment of our own, based on the Year 6 Science Standards. In pairs, we were able to choose what we wanted to look into and how we wanted to do it. My partner was Zoe and we decided to base our experiment of rusting, specifically what fluids cause steel wool to rust.
Here are some thoughts and opinions I have around the topic for this term…
Three things I found interesting or surprising
- A chemical change means a change that can result in the formation of new chemicals or substances. It also means making or breaking the bonds between atoms. These are often irreversible. A physical change on the other hand, is when you can change something from one state of matter to another without creating or losing any chemicals or substances during this process. These changes are generally reversible. The main difference between the two is that in one, the chemical change, you are creating
- Chemical changes are mostly irreversible. When two reactants react upon each other, causing a chemical change, they generally can’t be pulled apart. The reactants combine to create new substances that can’t be undone. Although, in some cases, chemical changes can actually be reversible. This is when two substances form and create a new material but can also be reverted back to its original state. The change may cause is to have a different appearance or touch, but it is still the same substance/substances then it was originally.
- To create rust, steel needs to be exposed to both water and oxygen. In oxygen or plain air, the process will be quite slow since there is very little moisture or water although it is still there. If the other way round and in only water, even though there are still oxygen molecules present, there aren’t enough to have the same effect if there was a larger, equal amount. Both ways, the process would be slower if one material is missing or lacking. They need both to create the substance that is rust.
Two understandings I now have…
- Nothing in science, specifically chemistry, can ever be nailed down to one specific topic or subtitle. Like I said before with chemical changes, MOST OF THE TIME the change is irreversible. There is no definite answer like many other science related questions or statements. There are rules and regulations around this subject or topic that is chemistry, but sometimes they could be bent or altered.
- As the unit progressed, I discovered that chemistry isn’t only about mixing things to get something new. I mean, it is but it has a lot more detail than that and actually covers a lot more than just creating new substances. Through the topic of chemistry, we investigated states of matter, changing between states of matter, heat and pressure, density, malleability, the process of creating new chemicals or substances and a whole lot more.
One wonder I still have…
- Having worked around the three states of matter quite some time, I’ve learnt a lot about them and am comfortable with the knowledge I have. Now, having learnt that there are two others (Plasma and Bose-Einstein Condensate), a question I am left with is… what exactly are they? I know that they have briefly been covered in a few of the prepared speeches, but I want to what they are and understand them as confidently as I do with the other three states of matter.
What was the most important thing I learnt?
Regarding to working in groups and presenting, I think the most important thing was to make sure you AND your partner both share the workload, but know each other’s content as well. You can successfully deliver your presentation and get quite a good result because of this reason. Sometimes you or your partner could forget or stumble over a part of your presentation so then, having known the content of your pair, you or they could easily jump in and redeem the situation.
Regarding chemistry, the most important thing I learned was probably to ALWAYS have caution and adult supervision when working with chemicals, heat substances, glass or any other hazardous material that could cause damage to you. Never believe anything is safe without having proven in it a safe way or have evidence before using it. Substances could cause serious injury or could even be toxic so always be careful.
How did I learn this?
Learning to share out the workload but understand everything came from presenting my Scientific Lab Report with Zoe. Every time we worked on our project, we would go over what each of us are saying so the other person knows their content as well. It was lucky that we developed this strategy because we actually kind of experienced it when delivering our Lab Report. While presenting, Zoe and I bounced of each other when talking about our experiment. It worked quite well and we presented successfully. It was a good skill to learn and it was definitely useful.
The safety aspect came from the Mount Alexander College excursion we went on earlier in the term. While conducting the each experiment, each presenter went through all safety aspects and caution you should take when repeating their experiment. They told us to never believe anything is safe when working with chemicals or substances and to always have adult supervision. I can see why they made this clear to us because there are a lot of dangerous chemicals, heat substances and science related equipment that can cause damage to you or your surroundings.
What am I going to do with what I’ve learnt?
I will definitely take everything I have learnt with me to high school where I will be able to extend my knowledge around science. When you start, the only subject you have around science is covering the whole topic in general but when you get to the older year levels, you have the opportunity to learn and specialise in one particular area. I may choose, when I’m older, to take up one of these units. From there I can use the knowledge I have now, and the knowledge I’ll develop in the future, to help me establish a better understanding of the topic I’m studying.
I will also take my experience of working in groups with me. As my brother has told me, especially in the younger years, you do quite a few group projects in your different subjects. I am excited to use what I have now and work with it to develop new skills when working in teams of people who I may not know too well (high school). I can take what I have learnt from this unit with me to help me improve my skills and use them in future years to come.
Did I achieve the goals I set myself at the start of the term? If so, how did I do it?
I feel I achieved most of my goals when developing, conducting, researching and presenting my experiment. Each goal I covered in some way when preparing my Lab Report. My science goals related to the topic of my experiment and my prepared speech and my maths and literacy goals were incorporated in the presentation of my lab report. I feel I have achieved my goals for this term and I am fairly comfortable with the stage I am at with them.
Overall, I found the topic of this term quite interesting. I really enjoyed learning about chemistry and am hoping that in the future I am able to continue learning and understanding even more about it. I had a lot of fun throughout all the activities and projects we did and I think this is my favourite subject yet.