Sunday, 14 October 2012

Some Old Experiments

I know, I know, almost a week and no blog post.

Shocking isn't it how time can fly when you are not paying attention. That said though this weekend has actually felt like two days. Normally it feels like an afternoon!

Trawling through some old photo's on my phone I found some old experimental set ups from my previous science club, as well as some photos and developments with the current experimental garden (still need to think of a cool name for that before 'gardening club' sticks). Being the sharing kind I thought I would write about them in this post. So here goes...

First experiment was following an article here a summary of which is that you might be able to get some electricity from plants. As you can see we managed to get some readings from our flower beds;

Essentially the set up is simple enough. Find some graphite rods or conductors and jam them in the ground around a plants roots. You will get some charged particles kicked out by the roots and you can pick those up on a multimeter set to millimps. 

Experiment number two involves putting a shaped piece of sponge in some sand! Around the sponge you should apply a liberal amount of bath salts. It also helps if when you bury the sponge you pour water with dissolved bath salts around it. Then leave it for about 3 weeks (coarse sponges work best). After about 3 weeks dig out your sponge and hey presto a (almost) fossil! 

What will happen is the bath salts enter into the sponge and crystalise. The process isn't perfect and any major messing about with the sponge will damage the 'fossil' but it's still a fun practical. 

So is making DNA! No I don't mean the extraction of DNA from kiwi's or strawberries...

This one uses sweets to create a model of the structure of DNA! 

Always goes down well! Especially if you have some spare sweets at the end.

Another one, keeping with the DNA theme is the making of protein models using strips of coloured paper. In this one I make each person in the group an organelle or molecule in the protein synthesis process. This helps consolidate the roles of tRNA, Ribosomes etc in the students minds. The small models behind the paper ones were earlier demonstrations to show the folding of proteins and how they have a specific shape based upon the sequence of amino acids. 

I have already blogged on my phototropism experiment with cress, I have set up two new experiments currently. One is testing the growth of cress in water compared to 'tea' water and the other is a dug transect of land to see any succession that might occur. Although I have a feeling grass will be the only thing growing there.

I will blog more on the tea experiment when I have results from it. Other than that my experimental garden is now starting to take shape with more plants in the greenhouse and propergators set up. 

I'm gonna need a bigger greenhouse I think! Once the pond is finally finished I want to build an amphibian shelter and an insect house like these.

Though completing the pond is the first priority! Having said all of this although extra curricular activities and experiments are amazing. They still don't protect from answers like this;


To finish here are some pictures from being out and about today to lift the mood.

Enjoy your extra curricular, whatever it is!

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