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 🙂


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!




This Week in Science 6/4/14 + top videos of the week!

Water freezing/boiling:
Moonwalking fly:
Hubble Deep Field:
Cochlear implant:
Hallucinations:WARNING: Please use your discretion when viewing. If you suffer from photosensitive epilepsy, please do not view this video.

Dark matter:
Dwarf planets:
Gene editing:
Spinal cord:

Posts from ‘Science is Awesome’ facebook group

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.