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STEM Day goes off with a BANG!

Year 10 conducted an action-packed STEM Day for Junior School last week, with fun experiments galore. There were exploding volcanoes, dinosaur hunts, egg drops and boat races.

STEM is exciting – just ask Junior School! Thanks to Year 10 and Director of STEM, Dr Thompson, they all had a fantastic time last Friday bringing to life some of the scientific and mathematical concepts they’ve been learning about this year.


Probably one of the most exciting activities in Woodstock for our Kindergarten to Year 2 students was making volcanoes. They were thrilled to learn that all it takes is a combination of vinegar, water, dish soap and a few drops of food colouring into an empty soda bottle to make an eruption. There were multi-coloured volcanic eruptions galore – all conducted under the safe, watchful gaze of Year 10!


Another popular activity was creating gas to inflate a balloon by mixing baking soda and vinegar in a bottle to create carbon dioxide. Students were fascinated to watch as the gas began to expand in the bottle and inflate the attached balloon. They also used the ingredients to make mouse toothpaste...

Elsewhere they looked at the wondrous process by which a caterpillar transforms itself, stuffing itself with leaves, spinning a silky cocoon and then radically changing its body to eventually emerge as a butterfly or moth.


They had great fun experimenting how different pitches of sound are produced filling empty containers with water and rice. They quickly discovered that an empty bottle produces a higher-pitched sound when it is tapped, and that adding water dampens the vibrations. The less water in the bottle, the faster the glass vibrates and the higher the pitch.

They looked at the effect of temperature on the environment and thought about why different substances melt e.g. Ice cream and chocolate… oh and glaciers too! And they also tested why some substances dissolve, but others can’t.


Over in Hooke House, Years 3 and 4 excavated sand trays to find dinosaur fossils. They then had to match up their fossils with a series of cards at the front of the class and use QR codes to look up further information about the evolution of dinosaurs.


Elsewhere, they conducted boat races, using liquid soap to break the surface tension of the water and create enough force to propel their boats forward.


Other groups made sugar crystals, tested out contact forces using cars, looked at the evolution of butterflies and tested out solids, liquids and gases.

But nobody could resist the oozing, colourful, erupting lemon fizz experiment, harnessing the citric acid found in lemons and mixing it with baking soda, soap and food colouring to make lemon volcanoes.

Years 5 and 6 headed to The Athenaeum where they built density towers, solar ovens and lava lamps, and made fluffy slime, fake snow and rainbow rain!


Testing velocity using the ‘egg drop’ concept proved extremely popular.


Another big hit was the Skittles rainbow experiment, mixing different coloured skittles and warm water in test tubes and learning all about dissolving, absorbing and how different colours mix.


Elsewhere, Dr Thompson’s Year 9 STEM students attended a fascinating STEM Day, with the help of Maths Teacher, Ms Blake, learning more about some of the university and career opportunities in STEM, with talks from female STEM ambassadors at UNSW and beyond.

All in all, it was an exciting, hands-on day. A huge thank you to Year 10 for their patience, enthusiasm and generosity in leading different experiments. And of course, a huge thank you to Dr Thompson and all the staff who lent their support to make it all happen!