Curriculum Feature: Science

Miss Forshaw’s Year 7 Science class was full of intrigue and curiosity yesterday as students became sleuths in a ‘whodunnit’ pollution incident, investigating PH levels in soil on behalf of Mr Tweed.

Four fictional businesses were suspected of dumping/releasing industrial waste on Mr Tweed’s agricultural land, polluting the soil and destroying all of his crops.

The four fictional businesses were:

  • Mr Mears’ Milk
  • Denzel’s Dishwasher Powder
  • Mr Smith’s Oven Cleaners
  • Mr Jane’s Drain Cleaners

Students were briefed ahead of the practical that this is a science experiment that often gets used in real-life pollution incident through organisations like the Environment Agency.

Working in small groups, the students started by testing the PH levels of the possible contaminants using pipettes and universal indicator. The possible contaminants were milk, dishwasher powder, oven cleaner, and drain cleaner.

The results from their first test were as follows:

  • Milk: Acidic
  • Dishwasher Powder: Acidic
  • Oven Cleaner: Alkali
  • Drain Cleaner: Alkali

To complete the practical, our Year 7 detectives last had to confirm which soil samples were polluted. Using new pipettes and taking great care not to cross-contaminate samples, students confirmed the following:

  • Soil Sample A: PH 5-7 (potential mild acidic pollution)
  • Soil Sample B: PH 1-2 (severe acidic pollution)
  • Soil Sample C: PH 7 (no pollution)

And with that, the students concluded that either Mr Mears’ Milk or Denzel’s Dishwasher Powder were the likely culprits for polluting the land. Well done to our Year 7s for narrowing down the suspect list and for providing their report findings to the Environment Agency (aka Miss Forshaw)!

Lucy in Year 7 said:

“I really enjoyed it, I liked watching the colours change when you add the Universal Indicator.”

When asked about other fun practical work, Ethan in Year 7 said:

“Earlier in the year we did an experiment about putting metals in acid, studying the reactivity of metals. Some of the metals fizzed and made bubbles.”

Miss Forshaw finished by saying:

“My Year 7 class love Science! They love getting stuck into their work and I couldn’t ask for a better group of students.”

This experiment was a part of Year 7’s Acids and Alkalis unit. If you would like to know more about what your child is currently learning, including the full Year 7 Science curriculum, please visit our curriculum pages.

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