Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Black Holes

One of the topics we wanted to learn more about was Black Holes. We started by looking at this video clip:


We used the following website to find out more about Black Holes, from other people's Frequently Asked Questions: HubbleSite

Mr Nicoll used the idea of a balloon to help us understand the forces that cause a large star to collapse and form a Black Hole:

From this, we had two tasks to carry out:
  1. DESCRIBE Black Holes

  1. SEQUENCE how Black Holes are created

Those doing Black Holes as their Research Project have one more important task:
  1. INFER what is inside Black Holes (or on "the other side"). Remember to include evidence in your answer, not just popular Science Fiction.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Astronomy - Unit Planning

As well as our research project, we have a few other things to do:


There are some key ideas that we must have an understanding of throughout this unit. These have been put on SOLO hexagons:

On the back of each card, we need to DEFINE and DESCRIBE each key idea. In the coming weeks, we will learn more about each of these and be asked to EXPLAIN the links between each of these key ideas.


Over the weekend, we were asked to watch two YouTube videos about Astronomy/Space. We also watched the start of a video, called Exodus Earth. Today, we were also given two pieces of paper and asked to write down two idea or questions that we want to know more about.

Mr Nicoll is going to use these pieces of paper to design the "teaching" part of the unit; hopefully we will get to learn about things we are really interested in!!

The key areas of interest are:

  1. The Big Bang Theory
  2. Black Holes
  3. The Death of Stars (not the Death Star...haha!)
  4. Exodus Earth (Why? Are there other options?)
  5. Earth (Its formation and why it is how it is: rotation; tectonic plates; the atmosphere...) 

The format of each lesson will be:
  1. Learn about one of our interests (from the green pieces of paper).
  2. Work on our own Research Project OR
  3. Work on the links between the hexagons

Year 9 Astronomy Research



Research an area of Astronomy that interests you. Ideas include (but are not limited to):
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Phases of the Moon
  • The Hubble Telescope
  • Matariki
  • Navigation
  • Solar Eclipses
  • Lunar Eclipses
  • Space Travel
  • Black Holes
  • Ancient Religions
You will be given a grade based upon:
  1. The presentation of the project.
  2. The clarity of the information.
  3. The relevance of your topic to everyday life (or to the future of the Human Race).
You may present your findings in any way that can be shown to other people. Ideas include (but are not limited to):
  • A3 (or larger) Poster
  • Model
  • Website


Using your research from the Project (Task One) and/or other visual aids (PowerPoint, YouTube, handouts etc), summarise your research. The presentation to the class should be no shorter than one minute and no longer than five minutes.

Ideas for your presentation include (but are not limited to): 
  • Speech
  • Video
  • Narrated PowerPoint

You will be given a grade based upon:
  1. The clarity of your explanation(s) of your research.
  2. How well you answer questions from your peers.


Using the same topic as your Project, produce a one page (A4) summary of your research. Labelled diagrams and/or images should be included.
You will be given a grade based upon the same criteria as the Project (Task One).


Your final grade will be the lower of your best two grades.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Creating a Marking Rubric

Today, we gave feedback on each other's work and created a marking rubric to measure the level of thinking we all showed. We used a padlet to share this:

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Chemical Reactions and Physical Changes

Substances change when they are heated. Sometimes they react with other substances (like the iron and sulfur). This is a chemical reaction. Sometimes, though, the heat just causes the substance to melt, evaporate or sublime. This is called a physical change.

Today, we heated sugar to see if we could melt it. We heated some more sugar to see if we could caramelise it.

Melted Sugar (left)
Caramelised Sugar (right)
Solid Sugar (middle)
SOURCE: George, Alex, Jack G and Thomas B

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Periodic Table of Elements

We were asked to think about the Periodic Table of Elements as a city. The elements "live" in this city. Where do they live? Why are they found there? Who are their "neighbours"? Who are their "friends"? What happens when they spend time with their "friends"?

SOURCE: http://www.periodni.com/download.html

Everyone had to choose one element to research. We have to find out everything we can about the element and present our findings in one of these ways:

  1. A4 or A3 poster
  2. PowerPoint presentation (no more than 3 slides)
  3. Creative writing (pretending to be one of the elements)
This is due at the end of Friday's lesson.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Mixtures vs. Compounds

The ingredients of a cake can be described as a mixture (before it is baked). If we had the equipment, we could separate the ingredients again. After it is baked, though, we cannot separate the ingredients. Why?

We did an experiment where we mixed some iron and sulfur, then heated them which made a new substance, called iron sulfide.