Solar Eclipse! 29/4/14

Tuesday afternoon around 4pm there will be a partial solar eclipse above Sydney (roughly 50%). From Antarctica an annular solar eclipse will be visible (i.e. all of the sun is covered except for a small outer ring – so called a ‘ring of fire’).

As always – please don’t look directly at the sun, even during the eclipse! The sun will only be 50% covered and that other 50% is enough to damage your eyes if you look at it directly.

Instead, watch the live stream here:

I’ll update this post with images/footage of the event after it occurs so if you miss it live you can still see it 🙂

p.s.

If you want to watch it yourself live the best way is to use a ‘pinhole’ camera. You will need two pieces of paper. Put a pinhole in the first one and hold it up high towards the sun. Put the second piece of paper in the shadow of the first piece of paper. You watch the shadow – you will see an image of the sun (from the light that goes through the pinhole) and there can watch the sun slowly get eclipsed! You may need to adjust the distance between the pieces of paper to focus the light properly. Like this:

Image Credit:Eugene Kim

With thanks to ScienceAlert and Science is Awesome facebook groups for the links and reminder!

 

 

 

Science Club 2014!

Applications are now open to join the 2014 science club at WCCS. This club is open to year 7 and 8 students who are interested in getting some more hands on experience with science. In this group we will spend most of our time conducting experiments in areas of interest for students. The club will meet once a fortnight after school on a Wednesday from 3:15 – 4:15pm. Students will need to be picked up from school at this time.

Throughout the year we may consider running a few additional or extended events (e.g. an astronomy viewing night or presenting a science show to primary). We’ll also be contributing to the science blog posts of our activities including photos of our experiments for parents, friends and students to view and comment on.

Some areas that could be explored throughout the year are:

  •  Environmental Science (movement of the earth’s crust; volcanoes; effects of atmospheric pressure)
  • Biology (dissections; DNA examination)
  • Chemistry (Crystal formation; forensics; chemical based colour changes)
  • Physics (nature of soundwaves; explosives; forces and energy)

Over term 4 students have the option to be supported in completing their own science investigation as part of the CSIRO CREST award.

See Mr Jackson for more information and an entry form (or click here)

Science Competitions: (terms 1-2)

WCCS Science competition Term one:

Why does good food taste yuk and bad food taste yummy?!

I love eating chocolate, bacon, hamburgers, soft drink and cake – but apparently they’re bad for me. My mum used to always make me eat broccoli, carrots, squash, zucchini, eggplant and tomato – I hated them all and would vomit slightly when forced to eat them, I still had to eat them though :(.

Your job:

To explain why unhealthy food taste so much better than healthy food. The best entries will explain the chemistry and biology involved. You can choose how you present your information (poster, 1 page report, short video 1-3 min, song, etc).

Entries will be judged on how accurate, creative and engaging they are. The best entry will receive a $30 voucher to a movie cinema. All entrants will receive recognition of their participation and finalists will receive a certificate of excellence for their CV. Entries are open to all students in grades 5-12. See Mr Jackson in science or the uniform shop for entry forms and more details. Entries are due by the end of week one term 2.

External Science Competitions:

RACI Crystal Growing Competition

Crystals are everywhere – sugar and salt are both crystals we eat, LCD and computer screens use tiny crystals inside. In this competition you get to create your own crystals and have them judged and displayed during the National Science Week. Growing crystals is fun and easy to do for all ages. The competition has several divisions (K-3, 4-6, 7-8) for growing Alum crystals – entries are judged on perfection of shape, clarity and size. There is also an open division for students of all ages entering crystals of their own choice. Crystal growing must occur at home over term 2, Alum can be acquired through Mr Jackson at $5 per 100g (cost price) – there may be cheaper prices elsewhere.

Please register your interest in this competition by completing a registration form from the uniform shop. We will meet as a team over one lunch time early in term 2 to discuss how best to grow crystals. Students are then on their own to grow and submit crystals over the term. Last year one of our students came third in the state!

Eureka Science ‘Sleek Geeks’ Competition

The Eureka competition is open to all students in Australia and comes with a massive prize pool over $10,000. The idea is to communicate a scientific concept(s) in a way that is accessible and entertaining to the public while painlessly increasing their science knowledge or, as the Sleek Geeks like to say, “learn without noticing”. Entries are to take the form of a one to three minute video piece and a 50-word description of the video content. Entries may be produced by an individual student, or a group of up to six students. Entries open Friday 7 February 2014 and close Friday 2 May 2014. See Mr Jackson and the internet for more information. If students create a video for the school competition this can also be entered for the Eureka competition.

Folding@home

Folding@home uses your excess computing power to help scientists at Standford and universities around the world to better understand and find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and many forms of cancer. This means that from home, you can run a small program in the background on your computer that will contribute towards curing cancer – at no cost to you beyond your regular computer usage!

You can find more information here about:

  • the science behind protein folding and it’s link to various diseases
  • how you can help
  • download and run the program
  • help with getting started.

If you decide to join the cause and put your wasted computer resources to a good use, you can join the new WCCS team by inserting our team ID (224373) into your client when prompted!

Sleek Geeks Eureka Prize

Check out the below announcement from http://sydney.edu.au/science/outreach/eureka/:

SHORT FILM COMPETITION – $11,000 TO BE WON!

The University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize will again be offered in 2013 to primary and high school students. The competition encourages students with a passion for science and for communicating ideas to tell a scientific story via a short video piece, cultivating the next generation of Dr Karls and Adam Spencers!
Recognised by teachers for its relevance to the primary and high school curriculum, the competition has become a staple activity in the classrooms of many schools across Australia. Every year the judges are overwhelmed by the creativity and quality of entries, and the Faculty of Science wishes to congratulate all students who participate in the competition.
The 2012 competition proved to be another huge success with over 200 video entries received from schools around the country. Every year the judges are overwhelmed by the creativity and quality of entries, and the Faculty of Science wishes to congratulate all students who participated in the competition. We look forward to another year of science videos!
ENTRIES OPEN: Friday 1 February 2013

ENTRIES CLOSE: Friday 26 April 2013
Primary school category: conditions of entry and online entry form

Secondary school category: conditions of entry and online entry form

What’s involved?

The idea is to communicate a scientific concept(s) in a way that is accessible and entertaining to the public while painlessly increasing their science knowledge or, as the Sleek Geeks like to say, “learn without noticing”. All you need is a handycam – it’s about the content and creativity. For inspiration check out the top 2012 entries on the ABC Science website.
Entries are to take the form of a one to three minute video piece and a 50-word description of the video content. Entries may be produced by an individual student, or a group of up to six students. Read the Judges Hints and Tips on producing an award-winning short film!

Prize breakdown for the 2013 competition

High School Prize 1st – $4,000 plus a $500 book voucher from Abbey’s Bookshop, Sydney 2nd – $2,000 3rd – $1,000
Primary School Prize 1st – $2,000 plus a $500 book voucher from Abbey’s Bookshop, Sydney Runner up – $1000
The prize is sponsored by the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney, with additional support from Abbey’s Bookshop, Sydney and Microsoft.

Enquiries

For more information about the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize, please email

eureka@austmus.gov.au

Send me an email (or comment below) if you’re interested in having a go and I’m happy to help you piece together your ideas and make it happen!

You can see the winning entries from previous years here: http://www.abc.net.au/science/sleekgeeks/eureka/2012/

Year 8 Forensic Science Camp

The 2013 Talented Students’ Forensic Science Camp is being held at Armidale school from April 16-20 and is one of the nation’s pre-eminent extension programs for Year 8 students. It offers challenging and hands-on experiences of scientific problem solving and a chance to work with talented students from all over Australia.

As compelling as CSI, NCIS, as challenging as The Mentalist and addictive as Law & Order, the camp brings the intrigue of crime solving to the fingertips of young Australians. No one can resist a ‘whodunit’ and that is what this Forensic Science Camp is all about. It’s fast and exciting with total immersion in the scientific and problem-solving process.

The camp is a five-day residential experience and was first run in 1994. It has since been featured in the ABC TV science program, Quantum. Last year, over 100 boys and girls, a mix of city and country students from both government and non-government schools, were selected from a large number of applicants from NSW, the ACT, Queensland and Victoria to participate in the camp.

For more information about this camp and the application process visit their website and contact Mr R Jackson to obtain an information pack.

 

Year 11 2013 Subject Selection

Our current Year 10 students are selecting subjects for their senior studies in 2013 – 2014. This is often a daunting task.
Below is a link to a University of Sydney resource that provides information concerning a range of science related careers, including plausible employers and salary ranges.
This is not meant as a specific endorsement of the University of Sydney, rather providing access to a helpful resource.

http://sydney.edu.au/vetscience/future_students/undergraduate/documents/courses_careers_guide_2013.pdf

Remember to chat with your Science teacher if you have any questions about Science subject selection.

Science Club 2012!

Applications are now open to join the 2012 science club at WCCS. This club is open to year 7 and 8 students who are interested in getting some more hands on experience with science. We meet together once a fortnight after school for an hour of investigations involving experiments and demonstrations that high school students typically don’t get to see.

All students in years 7 and 8 should receive an email with application forms and more details. Get your application into Mr Jackson today as members will be selected on Monday week 3!