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Using your science to understand volcanic eruptions
Tuesday 11th Feb 2020, 09.00am

Using your science to understand volcanic eruptions

Volcanoes are present across the Earth, from the barren wastes of Antarctica to densely populated regions in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and are both spectacular and deadly. But what makes a volcano erupt, and how...
Through a simple experimental investigation, the resource encourages students to explore how formation temperature affects crystal size (KS3). Students are then directed to use their findings to explain the difference in crystal size between intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks, review bonding (KS4), and undertake calculations about pressure as applied to volcanic eruptions (KS4).
KS3 (UK) ages 11-15 - Crystal Size Investigation
KS4 (UK) ages 14-16 - Chemical Compounds in Magma
KS4 (UK) ages 14-16 - Pressure Calculations
Through a simple experimental investigation, the resource encourages students to explore how formation temperature affects crystal size. Students are then directed to use their findings to explain the difference in crystal size between intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks, review bonding (KS4), and undertake calculations about pressure as applied to volcanic eruptions (KS4).
This resource uses volcanic activity as a context for engaging students with questions about bonding and structure. Students are asked a range of questions on each of the types of bonding introduced at GCSE (ionic, simple covalent, giant covalent, and metallic) and so this resource is perhaps best suited to a review lesson.
Students will use equations and make calculations related to pressure and depth, pressure, force and area, and Boyle’s Law.
Using your science to reveal how much rain fell on the dinosaurs
Tuesday 11th Feb 2020, 09.00am

Using your science to reveal how much rain fell on the dinosaurs

During the Cretaceous period (145 to 66 million years ago), the world was very different! It was hotter, with more rainfall, and dinosaurs would have roamed the lush wetlands and forests that existed in the UK....

Using these resources - created in collaboration with University of Oxford scientists - students can explore how the science they learn at school can be applied to real life research questions. This set of resources focuses on the work of Ricky Sengupta, a palaeo-climatologist who investigates past rainfall patterns. In these lessons, students will explore the adaptations of plants and animals to their environment (KS2/ages 7-11), learn about isotopes and the structure of the atom (KS3/ages 11-14), and take a deeper dive into how isotopes can help us to explore our planet's past (KS5/ages 17-18).
KS2 (UK) ages 7-11 - Rainfall Now and Then
KS3 (UK) ages 11-14 - Heavy Water
KS5 (UK) ages 17-18 - Isotopes
In this lesson, students will follow Ricky, a researcher, to learn about how our planet’s climate has changed over time and explore the features that make plants and animals well-adapted to their environment.
In this lesson, students will learn about isotopes, subatomic particles and the structure of the atom, linking it to concepts of weight and density.
In this lesson, students will take an in-depth dive into the techniques used by researchers to make new discoveries and learn about how isotopes can tell us about the history of our planet’s climate.
Using your science to explore the climate history of Mars
Tuesday 11th Feb 2020, 09.00am

Using your science to explore the climate history of Mars

Mars today is colder than Antarctica and drier than the Sahara — but scratch just beneath its dusty red coating and tales of a different planet emerge. The young Mars of three billion years ago was an Earth-like place of rain, rivers, and perhaps even oceans. Though long-gone, the rocks remember...

In these resources, students can explore how the science they learn at school can be applied to real life research questions, in this case about the possible watery past of Mars. In these lessons students will test for carbontes (KS3/ages 11-14), make soluble salts (KS4/ages 14-16) and apply Le Châtelier’s Principle to atmospheric conditions on early Mars (KS5/ages 17-18).
KS3 (UK) ages 11-14 - Carbonate Conundrum
KS4 (UK) ages 14-16 - Mars Rocks
KS5 (UK) ages 17-18 - Equilibrium on Mars
In this activity students are asked to design a chemical test that could be used to see if a rock from Mars contains carbonates. In doing so they learn about the acid-carbonate reaction and how to carry out gas tests.
This activity is a suggestion about how a GCSE required practical (making a soluble salt) can be incorporated into a real-life context. Students will explore how the reaction between metal oxides and acids create salts, before applying this to a reaction that may have happened in Martian lakes billions of years ago.
In this activity students carry out an investigation using Le Châtelier’s principle before applying this to explaining how changes in atmospheric conditions on early Mars would have affected the equilibrium of reactions happening in the lakes on its surface.
Cats Animation
Thursday 22nd Aug 2019, 09.00am

When did cats arrive in Britain?

Sunning themselves outside or curled up on our sofas …many of us have a pet cat in our homes. But do we ever pause to wonder where our feline friends came from and how long they have been by our sides?

 

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Researchers looking at ancient DNA have been able to look into the past of domesticated cats in Britain. In these resources students can explore ecosystems and the impact of species introductions (KS3), speciation of cats (KS4), play the role of a conservation consultancy (KS5), and look at real-life scenarios where genetic testing can be used to develop our historical understanding (KS5).
KS3 - Ecosystems and Introductions
KS4 - The Evolution of Cats
KS5 - Conservation of the Scottish Wildcat
KS5 - Genetic Archaeology
This activity uses the concept of species introductions to explore the content of food chains and webs.
This activity provides an opportunity to for students to review their understanding of, and practice their explanations for, evolution by natural selection and the process of speciation.
This activity engages students with interesting real-life scenarios where genetic testing has been vital to developing our historical understanding.
Hardy Crops To Tackle Food Insecurity
Thursday 6th Jun 2019, 09.00am

Hardy Crops To Tackle Food Insecurity

Our world is getting more and more densely populated. By 2050 there’ll be nearly 10 billion people on our planet and agricultural demand is predicted to rise by 70%. So how will we ensure that every human alive gets the food they need?

 

Scientists at the University of Oxford are investigating the action of a single protein associated with the photosynthetic process. In these lessons students can design an experiment and carry out data handling (KS3); create a presentation on food security (KS4); consider the ethical and logistical considerations when choosing a model organism (KS4); and read an article adapted from a primary research paper to challenge their comprehension skills (KS5).
KS3 - Hardy Crops and Photosynthetic Experiments
KS4 - Food Security in the Future
KS4 - Model Organisms in Research
KS5 - Transport Across Membranes
This activity offers students the opportunity to plan an investigation and engage in follow up data handling within the context of current research and with the background of significant real-world issues.
In this activity, students will be introduced to and encouraged to consider some of the major threats to food security in the future. Students will then conduct independent/group research to investigate these issues further and produce a short presentation outlining their research and its implications.
This lesson introduces students to the concept of using model organisms in biological research. Students will be introduced to the reasons for their use and will explore the ethical and logistical concerns that scientists consider when selecting a model organism.
This activity develops scientific comprehension by engaging students with a piece of significant current research within an interesting context. Students read an adapted article, pitched at an appropriate level for interpretation by A-level students.
Immunology
Thursday 7th Mar 2019, 09.00am

Our immune system - the battle within

If we could travel inside our body, shrinking down to a cellular level, we could see how amazing our immune system really is.

Researchers at the University of Oxford are investigating how the immune system works in order to create new treatments for diseases, such as cancer. In these lessons students can review and revise the immune system by looking at the connection between cell structure and function (KS3), creating a stop-motion animation (KS4), exploring how protein shape is important for function (KS4), and playing top trumps to learn about specific immune cell types (KS5).
KS3 - Cell Structure and Structural Adaptations
KS4 – An Animated Immune System
KS4 – Control of Immunity: Cascades of Shapes
KS5 - Immune Cell Top Trumps
In this lesson students will review cell organelle function, predict basic structural adaptations of cells based on their function and explain structural adaptations of cells in relation to organelle function.
This activity encourages students to review the action of the immune system with an emphasis on students considering the importance of shape in the activation and action of phagocytes and lymphocytes.
This top trumps activity is intended to be a fun and interactive way for students to engage with and review the content of immune cells and their function.