Light

We’ve been doing a bit of work on the subject of Light this week. So, what exactly is light?

Light doesn’t just consist of the light we can see. Light is all around us even when it’s dark. The different parts of light can are all part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies (the spectrum) of electromagnetic radiation and their respective wavelengths and photon energies.

The electromagnetic spectrum covers electromagnetic waves with frequencies ranging from below one hertz to above 1025 hertz, corresponding to wavelengths from thousands of kilometers down to a fraction of the size of an atomic nucleus. This frequency range is divided into separate bands, and the electromagnetic waves within each frequency band are called by different names; beginning at the low frequency (long wavelength) end of the spectrum these are: radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays at the high-frequency (short wavelength) end. The electromagnetic waves in each of these bands have different characteristics, such as how they are produced, how they interact with matter, and their practical applications. Gamma rays and X-rays are classified as ionizing radiation as their photons have enough energy to ionize or remove electrons form an atom. These are in the upper end of the electromagnetic spectrum and have very high frequencies(in the range of 100 billion billion hertz) and very short wavelengths (1 million millionth of a metre).

Radiation in this range has high energy. It has enough energy to strip electrons from an atom or, in the case of very high-energy radiation, break up the nucleus of the atom.

Each ionisation releases energy that is absorbed by material surrounding the ionised atom. Ionising radiation deposits a large amount of energy into a small area. In fact, the energy from one ionisation is more than enough energy to disrupt the chemical bond between two carbon atoms. 

There are three main kinds of ionising radiation:

  • alpha particles, which include two protons and two neutrons
  • beta particles, which are essentially electrons
  • gamma rays and x-rays, which are pure energy (photons).

Alpha particles and beta particles are not part of the electromagnetic spectrum; they are energetic particles as opposed to pure energy bundles (photons).

Light can be created by making an electron oscillate, which creates an oscillating magnetic field and an oscillating electric field, which is an electromagnetic wave, or light.

The part of the electromagnetic spectrum we can see is Visible Light. Human eyes usually respond to wavelengths from 380 to 740 nanometers.

Different colours in the visible light spectrum have different wavelengths, with violet having the shortest wavelength and therefore the most energy and red having the longest wavelength and the least energy.

In 1666 Isaac newton proved that white light was made of the colours of the rainbow by shining light through a prism. When the white light was refracted it split into colours of the rainbow. He then passed it back through another prism where it reconstituted into white light again. He worked out that colour is a property of the light wave hitting it and not of the object itself. Can also demonstrate this by spinning a colour wheel, which will show the colours blending into white light.

Here’s how to make a colour wheel, otherwise known as Newton’s disc or a reverse rainbow!
White light passed through a prism defracts into the colours of the rainbow.

Although humans can only see the visible light spectrum , birds, bees and some animals can see ultra violet light, which makes plants particularly attractive to them.

Plants look even more beautiful to bees as they detect UV light

So how do we detect colour? The retina in our eyes contains cells called rods and cones that are sensitive to different colours of light.

And have you ever noticed you can’t see colour in the dark or in very dim light? That’s because the sensing rods and cones in your retina are both sensitive to light. The rods allow us to see in very dim light but cannot detect colour. The cones allow us to see colour but don’t work in dim light!

Newton observed that colour is not inherent in objects. Rather, the surface of an object reflects some colour and absorbs all the others. We perceive only the reflected colours. The colour an object appears depends on the colours of light it reflects.

E.g. A red book only reflects red light.

Here’s a great video explaining this

Vid by Edmund Scientific

Because we can’t see in different wavelengths, it’s usual to have instruments that can. An example of this is telescopes. Telescopes in different wavelengths allow us to see things in space that we wouldn’t usually be able to. This is a pic of the sun taken with telescopes of different wavelengths, each one allowing us to see different aspects of the sun.

So obviously we’re all now thinking how cool it would be if we could see in different wavelengths! Well, if we could see radio waves, we’d constantly be bombarded with light from all directions, as our smartphones, pcs, TVs and satellites in space all emit radio waves!

X-ray vision sounds cool though right? Well yeah, if you like looking at people’s bones.

Microwaves? We’d have light shooting at us from all directions as we see the afterglow from the big bang! Our brains would have a hard time processing that!


Cosmic Microwave background http://wmap.gsfc.nasa.gov/media/101080

If you’re a teacher and looking at Light with your class, book one of our light workshops!

http://www.labrascals.co.uk/

Have a great weekend!

Katie, Carol, Anita and Sarah

The Lab Rascals Team xx

Holiday workshops!

We’ve had a busy 2 weeks delivering half term holiday workshops in Grimsby, Barton, Brough and Cottingham. Our themes this holiday were dry ice and slime.

We can have lots of fun with these themes, especially over Halloween! Lots of potion and bubble making! The holiday workshops were 1.5 hours long but full of experiments to keep the childen entertained!

Slime is as popular as ever! And goes very well with the Halloween theme! Have you ever managed to make a bubble this big with your slime?

We’re back in schools this week, delivering more wind energy and states of matter workshops!

Have a good rest of your weekend!

Katie, Carol, Anita and Sarah

The Lab Rascals Team xx

Holiday time!!

Our summer holiday workshops are now in full swing! This week we’ve been delivering workshops on volcanoes in Hull and Dry Ice in Beverley. We aim to make our science workshops fun and fully hands-on as we believe children learn better through  play and interactivity. 

The volcanoes workshop is great fun and involves a bit of creativity. We start by finding out what children know about volcanoes and then we discuss the different types of volcanoes on Earth and on other planets and moons. Children are always amazed at the idea of cryovolanoes! They then get to build and design their own volcano! We love the fact that parents always get involved! It sometimes gets very competitive! 

Then it’s time to erupt the volcanoes! We use dry ice and hot water to erupt ours. It looks great and has the added bonus of creating a rumble effect, like an earthquake! We then add in a bit of washing up liquid to create bubble lava, which always gets a big “WOAH”!!

This workshop is also popular in schools when children are studying volcanoes as a topic. More details on our website www.labrascals.co.uk

Today we’ve been at the Parks Children’s centre in Hull providing science fun at a family fun day! We made UV bracelets, slime and provided dry ice experiments. We were incredibly busy with slime being extremely popular as usual.

On Friday we’ll be in Flemingate, Beverley with our dry ice workshop. This is really a lesson on the states of matter, but the children have so much fun with the hands-on experiments they don’t realise they’re learning a fairly complex topic. We have a number of experiments that the children complete themselves after a health and safety briefing. There are always lots of “WOW”moments. 

We’ve got lots more holiday workshops to come over the next couple of weeks in Hull, Beverley and Scunthorpe, including bath bombs, slime, volcanoes and planetarium! Book now to avoid disappointment!

https://bookwhen.com/labrascals#focus=ev-se55-20190809100000

All of our workshops are available to book for schools. Have a look at our website for more details! www.labrascals.co.uk

Have a great weekend!

Katie, Carol, Lauren, James and Anita

The Lab Rascals Team xx

Half Term Science Fun

It’s been half term for most schools in East Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire this week! But there’s no rest for us! We’ve been out and about delivering science workshops!

On Wednesday we were based at Burnby Halls and Gardens for their Community Day. After the terrible weather at the beginning of the week we were happy to see the sun shining!

Burnby Hall belonged to Percy and Katherine Stewart. Between 1906 and 1926, Percy and Katharine completed eight world tours, covering North America and Canada, Africa, India and the Far East, Europe, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands with Percy using his trips to hunt, shoot and fish. He and Katharine brought back souvenirs and trophies which now form the Stewart Museum collection. These are an eclectic mix of statuary, hunting trophies and curiosities.

Katharine died in April 1939 and Percy remained at Burnby Hall for the remainder of his life. He lived until the grand old age of 90, assisted in later life by his faithful housekeeper Miss Tibbott.

Both he and Katharine had no children and decided to leave the estate in trust to the people of Pocklington when they died.

On his death in 1962, these wishes were complied with and the Stewart Trust, established in 1964 was set up to run Burnby Hall Gardens and to administer the Stewart Museum collection.

The gardens feature 2 lakes which hold a national collection of Waterlilies

So it was a stunning location for delivering our slime workshops! We delivered 2 workshops throughout the day, both being fully booked really early in the day! The children made 2 different kinds of slime and learnt the science behind the slime. Everyone had a great time and we had some lovely feedback from the parents.

On Thursday we travelled to Scunthorpe to the Engineering University Technical College, where they hosted a Primary Lego STEM event, for Year 5 pupils. We delivered our LEGO wind energy workshop to a really enthusiastic group of children! They had excellent LEGO building skills and worked really well together in teams.

This was a really successful workshop. All the children really enjoyed it! And so did we!

We’ve spent the rest of the week working on a new Astronomy course we’re putting together, to be delivered in our planetarium. Watch this space!! (see what I did there?)

Have a great weekend!

Katie, Carol, Anita and Lauren

The Lab Rascals Team xx

Practise makes perfect!

We’ve been out and about with the planetarium again this week! We’ve had a student working on a planetarium project for the last few months. She designed a show about Earth, which she then presented at Healing Primary on Tuesday. The children in KS1 loved the show. They learnt about the weather, seasons and took a trip around the world.

We also had a practice run of our brand new planetarium show, One Giant Leap, with Healing Primary year 5 and 6. We think it’s really important to have a day of practice before a new planetarium show is launched for a number of reasons. Working on a show on a pc screen does not replicate what it will look like in the planetarium dome. So a test of the visuals is essential. Also, as with any interactive performance you really can’t judge how interactive it will be until you actually perform it, which then results in timing changes and parts being removed etc. This was also the first time we’d used sound for a planetarium show and we had a few technical issues with the speaker, which we could then fix during the practice shows.

We performed the show 4 times throughout the day and by the end of the day were really happy with the show. We aim to make the children think and I think we succeeded as they had some amazing questions afterwards. And we got some great feedback from the children.

Next up, we’re developing a show on “Volcanoes of the solar system”

If you’d like to book any of our planetarium shows go to http://www.labrascals.co.uk and book online or contact labrascals1@gmail.com

Have a good weekend!

Katie, Carol, Amanda, Lauren and Anita

The Lab Rascals Team

Easter science fun!

It’s Easter weekend and we’ve reached the end of our Easter holiday workshops! We run science workshops most school holidays and they are very popular with children and parents alike!

We deliver a different set of workshops each holidays. This time we covered dry ice, slime, planetarium and volcanoes! So plenty to choose from for everyone! Each workshop lasted an hour in different locations; Hull, Beverley, Scunthorpe and Grimsby.

Although our science workshops are very educational, we make this fun and this is our primary aim in holiday workshops, children have fun while learning.

So what do we do in each workshop?

Dry ice

We love dry ice! It can make simple experiments look dramatic! We use dry ice to demonstrate the states of matter and the children love getting hands on with the experiments.

Slime!

All children love slime and we don’t just make slime, we teach them the science behind the slime! This is still one of our most popular workshops and the children particularly love blowing bubbles with their slime!

Volcanoes!

The children learn what volcanoes are and make their own! We always get some very creative volcano designs, which are then erupted using dry ice! There’s lots of teamwork and creative design involved in this workshop and we love seeing the children work together to create some amazing looking volcanoes!

We also did a number of planetarium shows at all locations. These were extremely popular as usual! This time the children learned all about stars, what they’re made of, how they’re formed, what a nebula is and the planets that orbit our star, the sun. This show is brilliant for younger children as it involves lots of looking at the stars and storytelling.

Not only have we been delivering public workshops, we also delivered some workshops on dry ice for Hull Children’s University.

Our brand new planetarium show One Giant Leap is now ready to go into schools! We’ve been working hard to make it a real celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing! Contact us for details or book on our website for schools and public events! http://www.labrascals.co.uk

Happy Easter from all of us at Lab Rascals!

Katie, Carol, Anita, Amanda and Lauren xx

Wind Energy

We love Lego, here at Lab Rascals! So we were ecstatic to be able to put it to educational use in our workshops. We are in the unique position of being able to teach science in schools in a fun way, so we were delighted to receive sponsorship from EON and Siemens to deliver wind energy workshops in schools in North Lincolnshire and Hull. Both these companies are big wind energy employers in the local area so we could really see the importance of promoting renewable energy sources and how the local area contributes to this.

We received funding to deliver 1 workshop each to 10 low income schools. Siemens workshops were offered to schools in Hull and EON workshops were offered to schools in North Lincolnshire. They were all snapped up instantly!

We begin the workshops by asking the children what they already know about wind energy and wind turbines, and then explain exactly how a wind turbine works. We have a large piece of turbine cable which we let them pass round. They’re always really surprised at how thick it is!

They are split into groups of 3 and then the building begins! We use LEGO Education Renewable Energy add-on kits, and they build a wind turbine tower, the blades and nacelle and a lego car. Some children are a whizz with lego and can build their part really quickly, others need a little help! Luckily we usually have help from Siemens and EON employees, and I’m sure they love it as much as the children do!

Once the turbines and car have been built we attached batteries to the turbine ask the children to find out how we get the most energy from the turbines by using desktop fans on different speed settings and using different numbers of blades. We then use that information to power our Lego cars.

These half day workshops are such good fun and allow the children to learn about important topics like renewable energy in a fun and engaging way! Watch this space for details of more wind energy workshops soon!!

Katie, Carol, Amanda, Lauren, Anita

The Lab Rascals Team xx