SSERC Bulletin 262 complete

Copper and Le Chatelier

There is a well-known experiment that is used to great effect to show the effect of heat on the position of an equilibrium. The solution used contains cobalt chloride and hydrochloric acid resulting in an equilibrium between cobalt ions that have either pink aqueous or blue chloride ligands.

Liberate your school’s micro:bits

In the spring of 2016, Scottish schools were given one BBC micro:bit programmable device for every S1 pupil. The intention was to encourage young people to learn to code. There was an article about the giveaway in SSERC Bulletin 255 [1]. Since then, some schools have given out the micro:bits to pupils, but when we ask teachers what happened to them in their schools, a common reply is, “They’re all in a box in the computing department.”

SSERC professional development courses

An update on the courses SSERC is offering over the next few months.

Synthetic Biology: learning by playing cards

Dr. Liz Fletcher and her colleagues at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology (SynthSys) have developed a useful resource for students of National 5 and Higher Biology.

Manual screwcutting – part 2

Following from our previous article [Bulletin 261] on manual screwcutting, where we looked at the process of producing internal threads, our intention was to supplement this with a look at how external threads are created. So let’s have a look at the tools and techniques that will get you started.

Scottish success at STEM Inspiration Awards

The STEM Inspiration Awards celebrate individuals and organisations working to inspire young people in STEM subjects.

Career speed-dating success using STEM Ambassadors

Organised jointly by the Science and Technology department and the Mathematics department, a total of 29 visitors from a diverse range of career and qualification backgrounds such as engineering, pharmacy, medicine, web design, robotics, finance, nursing and management were quizzed on their careers in five minute slots by groups of S4 pupils.

Pressure systems – again

Sometimes it feels like it wouldn’t be a proper SSERC Bulletin without an article on the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR). Our recent article in Bulletin 259 and the follow-up advice in 261 caused a stooshie in some quarters. Indeed, there were a small number of people who felt that SSERC was insisting on examiners having to meet higher standards than those required by the Health and Safety Executive.

Whoosh bottle alert

Our colleagues at CLEAPSS reported an incident with this demonstration in the South West of England last year with a whoosh bottle containing methanol.

SSERC Bulletin 263 complete

SEFARI: Science education resources

The SSERC Biology Team have been collaborating with several scientists working within the new collective of Scottish Research Institutes, known as SEFARI (Scottish Environment Food and Agriculture Research Institutes) to help develop and promote their excellent educational resources available to support the delivery of the biology curriculum.

Photosynthesis using seaweed – opportunities for investigative work in Environmental Science?

Within SSERC we continue to explore the use of hydrogencarbonate indicator as a convenient experimental system for demonstrating both photosynthesis and respiration in plants and we have recently extended our range of published protocols to include materials in support of the SQA assignment for revised National 5 Biology.

Chrome dreams

For the last two years, the physics team at SSERC have investigated apps for Android and IOS that enable experimental work to be carried out with mobile devices. When we heard that a number of schools had chosen to issue Chromebooks to students, we took a virtual wander to the Chrome Web Store to see what was available there.

It’s a gas, gas, gas

There is much excellent chemistry that can be done in class using gases but unfortunately, less is done than might be the case due to the difficulty of getting a supply of gases to experiment with.

SSERC professional development courses

Our professional development courses range from twilight events, day-courses through to residential meetings lasting up to 6 days in total. Our curriculum coverage spans both primary and secondary sectors and we offer events for teachers as part of their career long professional learning, newly qualified teachers and technicians. Many of our events receive funding from the ENTHUSE awards scheme or the Scottish Government.

Leak testing – myth versus actuality

“I’m never going to use electricity in my department because there’s a legal requirement that portable appliances need to be tested.” If you had a pound for every time you heard somebody say that, you would not have any extra money at all. Nobody thinks that way, at least where electricity is concerned.

SSERC Bulletin 264 complete

Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre

Jayne Quoiani, Science Outreach Centre Officer, tells us about a new facility available to schools in Scotland.

BeeSpi V

The BeeSpi V (Figure 1) is a relatively inexpensive, self contained light gate and time-speed unit made by the NaRiKa Corporation of Japan. Usually when we review a device like this our biggest challenge would be to test the accuracy of the timer. Here, we had an additional issue. How do you actually pronounce BeeSpi V? We decided on “Bee Spy Vee”, though some asked whether the final letter was a V or a nu.

Carbon dioxide and global warming

We have but one planet, and both the physical and economic processes that are driving climate change have enormous inertia. If a big ocean liner were steaming into dense fog in polar seas, only a fool would maintain full speed on the basis that the technicians were still discussing the distance to the first big iceberg.

SSERC professional learning courses

Our professional development courses range from twilight events, day-courses through to residential meetings lasting up to 6 days in total. Our curriculum coverage spans both primary and secondary sectors and we offer events for teachers as part of their career long professional learning, newly qualified teachers and technicians. Many of our events receive funding from the ENTHUSE awards scheme or the Scottish Government.

Catalase activity in immobilised yeast – an update

In 2017 SSERC was approached by SQA to produce two resource packs in support of National 5 Biology investigations. We have recently published details of these resource packs and copies can be downloaded from the SSERC website.

Compressors and the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations

“Our CDT department has a compressor. I’ve heard that the science department has to have its pressure systems tested every year. Is it the same with compressors?” This enquiry was recently emailed to SSERC following our article on the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) that we published in Bulletin 259. We reckoned that the sender would not be alone in wanting to know the answer.

SSERC Bulletin 265 complete

Catalase activity in immobilised yeast – effect of inhibitors

Several schools have indicated to us that they are using catalase activity in immobilised yeast as the basis for student investigations at both National 5 and Higher. Teachers and technicians tell us that the simplicity of the experimental system, the low costs involved and the inherent scope for changing a number of variables (principally substrate concentration, temperature and pH) all allow for flexibility.

Proto-Pic board for the BBC micro:bit

In Bulletin 262, we suggested that you could use BBC micro:bits as an aid to teaching potential dividers and switching circuits. We directed you to some programs we had written and showed how you could wire up “choc block” connectors to use the devices with electronic components such as LDRs and LEDs. We had some very interesting, rather contradictory feedback. Some teachers reported that their students loved wiring up the block connectors. Others found the approach too fiddly. If you fall into the latter camp, you may be interested in the Proto-Pic board and accessories.

ASE Annual Conference 2019

Wednesday 9 January – Saturday 12 January at the University of Birmingham. Europe’s Largest Science Education Conference.

SSERC website explained

Most of you will have been aware of the transfer of content that took place over the summer. We are now at a position where most of what was on the old site is now on the new one so this seems like an apposite time for some brief guidance.

SSERC professional learning courses

Our professional development courses range from twilight events, day-courses through to residential meetings lasting up to 6 days in total. Our curriculum coverage spans both primary and secondary sectors and we offer events for teachers as part of their career long professional learning, newly qualified teachers and technicians. Many of our events receive funding from the ENTHUSE awards scheme or the Scottish Government.

Health & Safety

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