Chemistry

RoboEars

© ACS

© ACS

The story

I come across a lot of science news stories (as you can imagine) and  have noticed that journalists are attracted to certain topics – ones that they think have a certain ‘sexy’ appeal to their readers I imagine. Bionic body parts seems to be one of them – conjuring imagery of a future where we are all enhanced by ultra-efficient prosthetic body parts like RoboCop.

One of these stories that hit the press recently was the news that researchers in Princeton have created a ‘bionic’ ear. More

Edible diamonds

Image: Mario Sarto @ wikimedia commons

The story

I have been busy in the kitchen for the past few weeks trying to perfect the technique for growing edible sugar ‘diamonds’ and I think I’ve just about cracked it. This is so I can share an activity with you for your KS2 or KS3 science classes that is related to the Queen’s diamond jubilee – the things I do in the name of science!

This is a gem of an activity (sorry!) that you could do as a fun lesson on the last day before the half-term break or you could give it to your students to complete as a homework over the holidays. All the equipment needed for the experiment you can easily find at home. More

Is a gold medal really gold?

The story

There is no doubt that the gold medals for the London Olympic games are beautiful but how much gold is actually in them?

This is might well be the first of a few Olympic themed postings over the coming months. I wanted to come up with some ideas that were a bit different and unusual so this is my first offering: an  enquiry lesson to use when teaching metal properties or density or just as a way of practising maths and science skills. More

What the frack?

Credit: bufivla @flickr

The story

Fracking is a controversial way of mining for natural gas reserves that are buried deep underground in layers of rock. It is been banned in some countries but is being carried out in the USA and UK. A few weeks ago the scheme got the green light to be extended in the UK. More

Space vacation

The story

Getting into space the traditional way, in a space shuttle, is an expensive process but at least we know it works. Is travelling up in an elevator attached to a 36 000 km cable any more cost effective or realistic? More

Plant plastics

The story

A team of scientists from a Dutch university has discovered a way of turning biogas made from plant matter into the building blocks of common plastics.
They used a new kind of iron catalyst made from nanoparticles to make ethene and propene. This new method means that plastics with the same chemical structure, and therefore properties as traditional petroplastics, can be produced using biomass, a renewable resource. More

Chemistry speed dating

Using anthropomorphism is a really useful technique when it comes to teaching the more challenging concepts in chemistry.

After all, atoms behave just like people in a lot of ways, including matters of love.

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Global warming in fast-forward

This video comes courtesy of NASA and shows how global temperatures have changed over the last 131 years.  It would make a great starter to any lesson on climate change.  You can clearly see that temperatures started to showed a significance increase from the 1970s due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, industry and vehicles. Students could be asked to spot this trend and come up with an explanation for it.

Spider-goat, spider-goat…

Credit: the prodigal untitled13 @ Flickr

…does whatever a spider-goat does.

Can she swing

from a web?

No she can’t

she’s a goat…

…however, she can produce spider silk proteins in her milk.

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Hamster Power

Credit: Mylius at wikimedia

The story

Did you know:  The hamster species P.roborovskii have been said to run the equivalent of four human marathons per night?

This interesting but apparently useless fact came to my attention via Guardian blogger Grrl Scientist.  The blog post went on to explain the ways that all this kinetic energy could be harnessed to power electrical devices and I thought that it might be a fun way of teaching about energy transfer.

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