GTAC Reflection

On Tuesday, Chris and Maria from GTAC (Gene Technology Access Centre) came to our school to talk to us about states of matter. Chris talked to us about a lot of new and interesting things, we did a few experiments and even a couple of role plays. Our learning goal for the lesson was: to explore and explain why solids and liquids behave differently.

First we talked about the particles that make up solids, liquids, gases and plasma, also known as the states of matter.  We said that atoms make up particles, particles make up matter/ substances, and matter/ substances make up everything.

Our first challenge was to manipulate the particles in play dough in order to make it fit in the transfer cup. We had to take it across the room, and deliver it to the other beaker. The transfer cup had a hole in the bottom, we were only allowed to use tongs, and every tiny bit of play dough had to be in it. Our table group broke a bit of the play dough and put in in the bottom, so that all the tiny bits wouldn’t fall out. In our first try, we left about three tiny bits of play dough, about as big as a staple, in the plastic beaker, so we went back and tipped them back in.

We then had to carry a rubber band in a foam cup to our other plastic beaker. We were allowed to use our hands but we couldn’t put the band in the actual cup. Our group put the band around the top of the cup.

Lastly we had to put a foam cup in a plastic cup, but the plastic cup was smaller than the foam cup. We were only allowed to use tongs. Plus, the plastic cup had a hole in the bottom. On our first try, we put the foam cup on top of the plastic cup. But then Chris said that some of particles had to be in the cup, so we went back, flipped the cups around, broke off a bit off the foam cup and then put that through the hole in the plastic cup. But THEN Chris said most of the particles had to be in it.  So we broke the cup, put a big piece on the bottom and put the rest on top.

Next we looked at the particles in solids. Chris told us that the particles in solids are very tightly packed, and they have to be otherwise they would not maintain their shape on their own. He asked us to act out how the particles in a solid look. We all crouched down on the floor into little balls, very close together. Chris told us that even though we were very close together there were still some gaps. And that was right, because the illustrated version of particles/ molecules are spheres, and if  spheres were tightly packed together there would obviously be some spaces.

Chris then told us to link arms. He said that the particles in solids are all linked, and that is why it is sometimes hard to cut through solids, depending on how strong the bonds are. Maria then acted like she was driving her thumb into us, like the tongs in the play dough. When she poked the play dough, (us) we all moved around her thumb like real play dough does.

Next we had to act like liquid particles, but standing up this time. So we all moved around, like liquids do. This is why liquids flow and take the shape of their container. Chris then asked us to shake hands for 1 second as we moved around. Liquid particles aren’t linked, only for a short while. This allows the liquid to move and be runny. Chris then told us to imagine we were in aplastic cup. He then tipped the cup sideways, so we all moved and tipped to the side. This is because of gravity. It effects liquid too.

We also talked about viscosity. Viscosity measures how thick or thin the liquid is. For example, water has low viscosity, and toothpaste has high viscosity. We looked at how fast water flows, and how slow golden syrup flows. .

We then acted like we were golden syrup. Golden syrup flows really slowly, because it has a high viscosity. So we all moved really slowly. Actually, golden syrup particles move at the same speed as water particles do, but they just bond for longer. SO we all shook hands for 3 seconds.

Today for our Accessing Prior Knowledge step of out Interactive Notebooks, we had to write down some questions that we had on the solid and liquid state. My questions were:  What make solids and liquids feel different?  What differences are there in the particles between bigger solids and smaller solids? I did not get them answered today.

I had fun with Chris and Maria today. I am looking forward for them to come visit us again and for us to go visit them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *