On Wednesday of this past week our English Class fifth graders and their teacher, Ms. Katri, joined all of the other fifth graders at Cygnaeus School in visiting Heureka Science Centre in Vantaa. The trip is sponsored by Cygnaeus School’s Parents’ Association and is something that is greatly appreciated by pupils and teachers alike.
One of the exhibitions, called The Intelligent City, explored ways that information technology and communication technologies can be utilized within the infrastructure of a city to enhance safety, traffic flow, dispersion of information, ecological decision-making and lots, lots more.
A favourite activity among the fifth graders at Heureka Science Centre is riding the bicycle on a wire over the main hall. It is only for those who do not have a fear of heights! The physics behind the bike staying rather upright on the wire is the weight under the bike. Like the keel on a sailboat, the weight provides a righting momentum.
Risks and daring were the subject of another fascinating exhibition. The definition of a risk was explored along with individual daring and shared daring. Society would not have developed as it has were it not for taking risks. Yet when is a risk not worth taking or even dangerous?
The central photo in the collage above is part of the permanent exhibition and is absolutely mesmerizing. Inside the tube is a model ship. When lots of bubbles are introduced into the tube, the water loses its buoyancy property and the ship sinks!
The fifth graders got a head start on their Roman history unit when they were able to assemble an arch. The top photo shows fifth grader John fitting the keystone, the central block of the arch. Arches allowed the Romans to create wider, taller, and lighter structures.
Yet another exhibition featured the physics of winter sports. The children learned about the effects of slope and velocity when skiing and centrifugal force when doing pirouettes on ice skates.
How often do you get a chance to lift a small car all by yourself? This fifth grader is getting a first hand shot at experiencing how a simple machine like a pulley can lessen the workload.
Our fifth graders also were lucky enough to be able to participate in a laboratory workshop. In the photos above the fifth graders are dropping drops of food colouring onto full fat milk. When they add a drop of liquid dish detergent, the colors begin to swirl around. For one things, the surface tension is broken by the washing up liquid. The detergent also reacts with the protein in the milk, altering the shape of those molecules and setting them in motion.
Oil doesn’t mix with water! That’s why oil spills in the ocean float on the surface and why throwing water on a grease fire is just going to make the fire worse. The fifth graders were able to do some experiments where they could explore the density of oil, water and food colouring.
Finally the English Class fifth graders created spectacular rainbow test tubes using sugar water with varying amounts of sugar dissolved in each colour. The coloured water with the most sugar in it is the densest liquid and goes on the bottom.
Density is defined as mass divided by volume.
Mass = how many atoms are in an object. Volume = how much space an object takes up.
Some of the tubes eventually turned brown because the densities of the coloured sugar water were not in order from densest to least dense.
Although it was a long day for the fifth graders and their teacher, it was a very special, memorable experience that will stay with them for a long, long time to come!