Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 25 - Still Experimenting

So the science teachers have taken all of the science equipment out of the cabinets and spread it out on the tables so we can easily see what they've got. We looked through it a bit yesterday, and the thing is, while they have a lot of cool stuff, they don't have some of the basics.

There's one two-pan balance, but it looks like it's never been used.

There's no sink in the lab.

No beakers smaller than 250 mL.

At least they have pipet bulbs that fit the droppers, unlike in Matendla.

They do have a small book of simple science experiments plus a kit of materials to show concepts like surface tension, the Bernoulli principle, sound waves, etc. Apparently the science teachers all attended a little training on how to do these experiments with the students. Well, hopefully this can be shared with the Matendla teachers if they come to visit.

Today, we're doing some circuits stuff with the 10th graders. We've found some little lights in the cupboard, like Christmas lights but smaller. The great thing is, these lights work with very little voltage/current, and we can easily string them up in series, because, well, they're already in series.

After lunch, we try out electroplating because they have some nice big copper plates for electrodes, instead of just pieces of copper wire. As soon as we add copper sulfate to the water, it turns a cloudy blue, and a white precipitate begins to form.

Uhhh...that's not supposed to happen...

Adding a little H2SO4 returns the solution to its normal clear blue. I have no idea what's in the water, but it can't be good for the kids to drink.

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