Exploring Matter: Grade 7s Enjoy Scientists in School Experiments

Recently the Grade 7 classes were privileged to participate in conducting four different experiments with the Scientists in School program. All of the experiments were focused around our current unit, Matter (the study of chemistry). 
We first reviewed a few elements and different types of matter, for example pure substances. We were given four different tubes with different “mystery items” and we needed to use magnets and a magnifying glasses to figure out if they were mechanical mixtures or solutions. Then we were challenged to guess what was inside the tubes. 
Next we completed an experiment in which we were given rubbing alcohol, water and oil as well as sugar mixed with different food colouring. We placed a small amount of the sugar and food colouring mixture into the rubbing alcohol, the oil and water all in separate containers. We mixed these items and examined them to see if the sugar, food colouring or both had mixed into the liquid. Then we mixed all the mixtures together. This was probably one of our favourite activities (even though it wasn’t really planned). We mixed all of our different colours together. Then we turned off all the overhead lights and put a few flash lights under our mixture. This was very exciting as the mixture turned into a sort of lava lamp. 
Our third experiment was to separate four different unknown materials using different methods. One example of how we did this was by filling a beaker with water and picking out whatever floated; however, there was another element which then dissolved - salt. 
This all led to our final experiment: cleaning an oil leak. The salt water was supposed to simulate an ocean. We transferred the water from our beakers into a tupperware which would allow a greater surface area on the top. Then our scientist, Chelsea, poured some oil into the tupperware and we were given three to four different methods to clean it up.  This showed us what could help our environment especially as oil leaks are becoming more and more common.

I think I speak for everyone in our classes when I say that we had a lot of fun exploring more about matter in our very educational Scientists in School program!
              by, Abby, Grade 7
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