On Wednesday the 21st of May my school class 5/6B went to Gtac. Gtac is a place where they do science and help with solving crimes like murder crimes. We had to catch public transport to get there first we had to catch a bus then we caught a tram to get there. When we got inside we went to the top floor using a staircase which was shaped like DNA, then we got inside and got lab coats on and safety goggles on. The scientists that would be teaching us had a lot of interesting stuff to do today. First we did a balloon experiment which was led by a scientist called Simon; the activity was to see how many balloons could fit in a large can with liquid nitrogen fewer than 196 degrees below 0.
We had to guess how many balloons could fit in it; I guessed that 10 balloons could fit in it. When Simon placed the first balloon in it went in easily so he put another and another into the liquid nitrogen. The total that could fit in it was 10 and when he pulled them out they reinflated back to normal. He said that the liquid nitrogen had compressed the gas particles inside the balloon which made it shrink and get all crackly. Then we had to draw on a piece of paper what we think an inflated balloons gas particles were doing and what the gas particles in the compressed balloon looked like. Then we did another activity which was to see what would happen if you placed a glass beaker with a balloon stuck on it, and then place it on a heat block, and to think of what the particles are doing inside it. So when it was placed on the heat block very slowly the particles started to float up into the balloon which made it inflate and grow bigger.
After that we had recess then after that we started doing activity’s with some other scientists, my groups first activity was to find out what was causing a big problem in Port Phillip Bay, it was a problem in the bay, it had caused an Algael bloom. They are giant floating underwater islands but it is a very bad problem. We had to find out what had caused it and it was a chemical reaction from shampoo and dishwashing detergent.
Then we did another one on oil spills in the sea and what it does and how to solve it. We got showed some photos of a tanker ship in the middle of the ocean which had spilled A LOT of oil. We got a beaker with some water in it and then got some oil, it was cooking oil not ship oil and poured it into the beaker. When it got poured in it sank but then floated back up and sat on top of the water and stayed there.
So that’s when we were showed what happens to marine animals and birds in the water. We got a feather and placed it in normal water a birds feathers make it float and the water just goes through there slick feathers while oil got stuck in the feather which could cause the bird to get stuck in the water. Also fish and sharks would die because of the oil clogging up their gills; they need water to breathe so with clogged gills they would drown.
Then we did an experiment to see what could get rid of the oil fastest, we had three chemicals; soap, paper towels and plastic spoons. We did a race of who could get rid of the oil fastest. First place was the soap, second was the plastic spoons and third was the paper towels, so the fastest way to get rid of oil is to use soap. After that we had our lunch, and then we did our last two experiments.
We had to go downstairs to the next activity. They were based on the same thing, which was how water from lakes gets turned into the water we drink. So we got a sample of dirty water and looked at it through a microscope and we saw dirtiness and little water bugs. Then we zoomed in on a couple of water bugs and saw a lot of interesting things on it, we saw scales, its legs and its eyes and head. Then we went back upstairs and did our final activity.
It was based on the same thing we did downstairs, how water from lakes gets turned into normal. First lake water gets through a process which is called Flocculation which is when dirty particles connect to the clean water particles. Then the dirty particles get put through another stage when the dirty particles get detached, it is called Settle. Then after that the dirty water particles get put through a filter where the dirt gets caught in a net like object while the clean water goes through.
Then finally you put chlorinate in it and then it is fine to drink but it takes a while to do that process. Then finally we had to fill out a sheet of paper which asked a few questions about the day and if you loved the day or you did not like it at all. I chose the I loved it face because it was a really fun day at Gtac because of the sciencey stuff that we did, they were all very interesting to do, to look at and to watch and then to experiment on. All in all we did over six experiments and all of them were very interesting and some were a little bit tricky but others were quite easy to learn about. So then we walked out to the tram stop and waited for the tram to arrive, then we caught the tram to a bus stop and caught the bus back to the school. So that was our exciting day at GTAC.