Monday, July 21, 2014

Hands on Chemistry

During the school holidays I attended one of Nathalie Thomas' (Science for Home Educators) Chemistry courses at Wintec (Waikato Institute of Technology). We did 80% of the experiments that you do in years 9 and 10 if you went to school.

On the first day we learnt about laboratory rules and more specifically how to use a Bunsen burner correctly. We had to wear laboratory coats and goggles at all times and completed some experiments in pairs using the Bunsen burner. We also learnt the correct names for lots of other items you use in a lab.

The next day we observed a chemical reaction by burning Mercury metal which made a really bright flash which stayed for about a minute and then turned to ash.  That was fun! Another few experiments was making and testing for Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide.

We also had the challenge to separate sawdust, sand and salt from each other. We had five different processes we could choose to complete this and it was left to us to decide how to do it. My partner and I decanted to get the sawdust, then we filtered the salt from the sand and finally evaporated the saltwater.  


Another test we did was where you blew through a straw into lime water and the oxygen turns it cloudy. Nathalie joked that this test proved you weren't an alien if it went cloudy. My water went cloudy so this proved I am not an alien, although my parents are still not entirely convinced. I even had my mum take a picture to prove to my dad who likes to joke I am an alien ... Dads!

Our final tasks covered the pH table and we did some Acid-Based tests. We used a lot of chemicals we wouldn't have at home.  

I really enjoyed the course. Nathalie is a really good teacher and so friendly and cheerful. She makes science so easy to understand and you can tell she likes science which makes you like it too. I learnt a lot and the fact that we could do all the experiments ourselves instead of just watching was pretty awesome.

I just love getting a certificate at the end too!



  1. What a great experience! Glad to know you're not an alien :)

    1. My dad simply won't believe the evidence ... lol

  2. What a wonderful opportunity!

    1. The only thing wrong with it was, that it was really early to be up and about. I am glad I am not having to do that every day! Hana


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