In the Science unit on Chemical Reactivity and Solutions, our Grade 8 students performed an experiment to study the activity of an enzyme called catalase found in the cells of many living tissues; such as the liver and potatoes (including humans). Students discovered the importance of how catalase speeds up a chemical reaction in which it breaks down hydrogen peroxide, a toxic substance that our cells produce as a byproduct of respiration, into two harmless substances; water and oxygen.
As a part of their Science unit on Matter, our Grade 6 students performed a skills-based experiment to discover the chemical composition of various unidentified materials by using several tools available in the lab; such as an electronic balance to find the mass of each sample and calculating the volume of the objects by using graduated cylinders. With the set of quantitative data they obtained, students were then able to calculate the density of each sample which then gave them the necessary clues in figuring out the identity of each object through research.
Our 8th grade students took an experiment outdoors to investigate the Earth’s albedo effect on how the surface of the Earth influences its ability to reflect or absorb heat. They used temperature probes inside of soda cans covered in brown paper and white paper and took measurements of each can over a 15 minute period and compared the changes in temperature for both under direct sunlight. The importance of this lab was for students to understand that the albedo effect has a significant impact on our climate. The lower the albedo, the more radiation from the Sun that gets absorbed by the planet, and temperatures will rise. If the albedo is higher, and the Earth is more reflective, more of the radiation is returned to space, and the planet cools. On average, the Earth has a global albedo of about 30%, which means it reflects about 30% of the sun’s radiation. However, deforestation and the melting of ice sheets have on large scale started to change the global albedo.