At the start of Semester 1, Grade 8 have been focusing on developing their core scientific skills in Chemistry. Some of the questions that we have been encouraging students to ask themselves are:

  • What safety precautions are necessary?
  • Can I visualize the steps that I need to do in order to complete the task?
  • Do I have the manipulative skills necessary to complete the task successfully?
  • How do I make scientific observations?
  • How do I draw professional scientific diagrams of my apparatus?
  • Can I use the technical vocabulary correctly in my reports?

Students were provided with the opportunity to put what they learned into practice. They successfully completed the following exciting task.

The Mission

You are a highly skilled undercover secret agent who, together with Doc ‘S’ has been given the task of obtaining the secret plans for a new highly explosive fuel. The fuel is desperately needed by Saint Maur to blow up an enormous hole on the recreation area so that a new swimming pool can be built (complete with waterfall, jacuzzi, surf machine and free Mars bar dispenser). The plans are presently held in a ‘chemical’ safe by your arch rival at *********** High School. In order to open the chemical safe, pure salt, iron filings and sand must be poured into three tanks on the safe. If any substance is poured into the wrong tank, the safe will self-destruct.

You have been provided with a salt/sand/iron filings mixture. Your mission is to separate them into separate pots and pass them on to Doc ‘S’, who then under cover of darkness will liberate the plans from the safe.

Look at the photos and judge for yourself how well they did!

Steps in the right order
Students discussing how to carry out the mission
Separating iron
Students collect the iron that they have separated with a magnet
Safe flames
Students safely light the Bunsen burner
Students stir the mixture to dissolve the salt
Students filter mixture to remove sand

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