Bulletin 216 complete

p1 Life Begins in Fife

SSERC’s move to Pitreavie Court, Dunfermline

p2 Prism Experiments

After Newton’s famous prism experiment was voted one of the top ten most beautiful experiments in science, we had to retry it and let you know what we found. In doing so, we discovered LSD.

p6 Experimenting with LSD and a Prism

Experimenting with LSD and a prism. Novel ways of recombining colours to get white light and making a brilliant, rainbow-coloured arc.

p7  Oscillating Reaction

An introduction to the oscillation Briggs-Rauscher reaction.

p8  Invisible Writing

A recipe for invisible ink that used household chemicals and has the advantage over commonly touted versions in theat the ‘ink’ really is invisible.

p9  Chemiluminescence

A simple chmiluminescent fountain using luminol

p10  Buchanan filter

A guide to the Buchanan filter as an aid to filtering protoplasts.

p11  Environmental Measurement

A market survey of inexpensive ‘Eco-meters’, measuring light, temperature and humidity.

Health and Safety

p12  Revised Lab Safety Guide

The launch of the latest (11th) edition of the ASE’s invaluable ‘Safeguards in the Science Laboratory’.

Bulletin 217 complete

p4 Electric circuit model using water

Voltage is a difficult idea. This analogue was developed to help formulate the concept. The model uses the vertical dimension to represent voltage. The flow of water in that part of the model that represents the circuit is entirely in the horizontal plane. Current and flow are modelled by fluid flow and water levels respectively.

p7  The ammonium molybdate test for phophate

We have had several calls about this test failing. SO here is a (hopefully) foolproof method.

p8  Forensics

We outline here a number of practical activities which are suitable for pupil investigations covering learning outcomes in the Science component of Environmental Studies at Attainment Levels E-F.

p9  Cigarette smoking machines

Since the ban on smoking in public places in Scotland came in during March 2006 we have had several enquiries regarding this.

Health and Safety

p1  SSERC News

The arrival of the SafetyNet CD-ROM and retirements at SSERC.

p2 Disposal of electrical goods

An introduction to the new WEEE Regulations governing the disposal of waste electrical goods.

p5  Security of radioactive holdings

What the law says and how to keep your radioactive sources secure.

p6  Sourcespotters guide

A new catalogue has been written by SSERC to help identify radioactive materials held by schools.

Bulletin 218 complete

p1 Is science uncool

A look at the media landscape and the perception of science in schools.


Audacity is open source software for recording and editing sounds and is available for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and other operating systems. It may be free but it is a powerful piece of software with a wide range of uses. Here we showcase some of the activities in physics that it can be used for.

p6  Supporting Scottish science education

An update on a range of CPD activities provided through the partners in the ‘Supporting Scottish Science Education through CPD’ and ‘CPD for School Science and Technology Support Staff’ initiatives.

p8  Half-life demonstrations

Radioactive decay and the half-life concept can be shown by three methods, each of which presents a negligible risk of harm. Her we give details of the methods.

Health and Safety

p1 1 Smoking machines – legal position

After the article in our last Bulletin, it has been brought to our attention that the use of smoking machines in schools is now illegal and should not be undertaken.

Bulletin 219 complete

p1 David McGrouther

A tribute to David McGrowther, stepping down after 20 years on the SSERC board.

p2 Algal Balls – the SAPS photosynthesis kit

The use of immobilised algae and hydrogencarbonate indicator provides an engaging and interesting approach to practical work that supports the learning and teaching of photosynthesis in
the school laboratory.

p5 A Cheaper Autoclave

A special offer on Prestige autoclaves.

p6 Equilibrium and Le Chatelier

The effect of temperature on the position of an equilibrium can easily be seen by observing the colour changes of the octahedral hexaaquacobalt(II) cation and the tetrahedral tetrachlorocobaltate(II) anion as the sample is moved from a low temperature to a high temperature.

p7 Electric Writing

A fun demonstration, using the pH change associated with electrolysis to change the colour of indicators and thus enabling coloured ‘writing’ just using electricity.

p8 CPD and ISE 5-14

The launch of the TEST DVD at SETT in September was a major tangible outcome of the fifth and final consortium in the Improving Science Education 5–14 through CPD (ISE 5-14) initiative. The TEST DVD contains a wide variety of high quality exemplar and interactive CPD activities for the three science attainment outcomes.

p10 Radiant Heaters

The comparison of the rates of heating of a black body versus a silvered body can be done with proprietary apparatus . . .but why not get pupils making their own heating elements?

p11 Technicians Conference 2006

A review of the 2006 Technicians conference at Crieff Hydro.

12. Audacity again

Some further experiments with Audacity, following on from Bulletin 218.

Health and Safety

p12 Wiring Plugs

Recently we have been asked by a number of schools whether it is legal for pupils in schools to wire plugs or other mains devices in the context of learning about mains electricity. Here is our advice.