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Dissolving egg shells in vinegar- Science experiments during quarantine

So I’ve just been asked to write a blog… Never done one of these so be nice to me!

So I’ve just been asked to write a blog… Never done one of these so be nice to me! I’m told that one of the reasons is my twitter account @ngreenscience (Mr. Green the Science Machine-give me a follow!) so I guess I should start by talking about the reasons I’ve increased my use of it since things all got a bit strange last month.

As with most teachers, my favourite bit of the job is time spent with pupils. As a Science teacher I have the extra bonus of getting to show them how to, and then watch them carry out, loads of experiments. When my academy closed I quickly realised this was something I was going to miss a lot, so I started posting my experiments on Twitter.

Science challenge time! Moments are all about balance. Moment = force X distance from pivot. So can you get your force and distance from pivot right and balance 2 forks and a coin on the edge of a glass? £2 coins work best!

— Mr Green The Science Machine (@ngreenscience) March 30, 2020

It turns out picking which experiments to do can be quite tricky. They have to be safe to be done unsupervised at home. And easy to copy with things that people have lying around. They need to be interesting and fun, whilst at the same time fitting into the curriculum where possible. 

But what else does it work on? Well lots of stuff! Get a plastic comb (unused for while if you're me!) and rub it with a duster/cloth for a few minutes and see what you can move with it. Slowly running water works well. Or an empty drinks can!

— Mr Green The Science Machine (@ngreenscience) April 30, 2020

You’ve no idea how many things I’ve thought of only to realise I don’t have the right stuff at home. Even for a Science Teacher who is used to buying a shelf full of lambs’ hearts for dissections, multiple boxes of eggs and all kinds of other odd purchases, trips to the supermarket are way more complicated than they used to be.

Home has become more cluttered, if you’ve seen my lab and desk at school it’ll probably be no surprise! I’ve found myself not wanting to throw away empty jars and boxes just in case I think of something I can use them for at a later date. Alongside the extra clutter, I’ve had experiment related smells to contend with. My recent experiment, dissolving egg shells with vinegar was a new one.

Give it a rinse on water and if it still feels hard put it back in the vinegar for another few hours. You'll be able to do this!

— Mr Green The Science Machine (@ngreenscience) April 20, 2020

I’ve found myself talking to people about meteor and satellite spotting these last few nights. Which is really hard when you live in an apartment without a garden or balcony- what the neighbours think I’m doing sticking my head out of the window is anybody’s guess!

In truth it’s something I’m really enjoying doing, it takes my mind off the fact I can’t see my pupils or colleagues every day, something I know all teachers are missing. We’ll all be back together soon enough, but in the meantime I, along with everyone else, am just trying to make the best of a bad situation.

So if you haven’t already, have a go at the experiments I’m posting and let me know how you get on with them. Failures are as welcome as successes, as Edison said  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!”