Physics in Primary Schools: Solids 
Physics in Primary Schools: Solids
by University of Sheffield / Gillian Gehring
Video Lecture 5 of 10
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Views: 2,060
Date Added: December 17, 2009

Lecture Description

Solids: Snowflakes and Bubbles

Supports National Curriculum, Key Stages 1 and 2, Units 4D, 5C and 5D

Suitable for years 4, 5 and 6

The time for the session is approximately 1 hour. The length of the session can be varied by modifying the PowerPoint presentation once downloaded.

Outline of content

Aims to:

* establish what the children already know, using a demonstration

* explain differences between solids and liquids (different materials change from liquid to solid at different temperatures)

* solids remember how they grew

* there are two types of frozen water, formed in different ways: a) snow and b) ice

* a) formation of snowflakes using an on-line computer simulation

* b) formation of (close packed) crystalline solids using a game and bubble rafts

* bubbles are very different to either water or air because they are a sandwich

* special solids can be grown using MB (Molecular Beam Epitaxy) which are used in computer chips etc.

Points to note:

Please read the notes about risks and agree the assessment with the teacher before the session!

Cross References

* The slides in the PowerPoint presentation are referenced in the plan.

* As the presentation may be running throughout the session some simple slides provide a suitable background, alternatively switch to a black screen.

* Apparatus details are linked to the relevant sections.

* Notes about safety are included with the actitivties.

* Vocabulary: The presentation uses expressions included in the KS 1&2 strategies

* (NB. It also uses terms not introduced until KS 3.)

Misconceptions to be corrected

* Crystal surfaces are not formed naturally.

* Ice, snow and water are different materials.

* Solids such as crystals cannot be melted.

* Freezing and melting are not reversible.

* Children often confuse melting and dissolving. This presentation explains melting.

Link to:

* Activities

* Apparatus List

* Safety Notes

* Solids PowerPoint Presentation

* Download Overview, Activities, Apparatus List and Safety Notes as a combined Word document for ease of printing


Course Index

Course Description

This site is for physicists - to interest children in physics. The material covers topics suitable for use when visiting primary schools. A joint venture triggered by the Institute of Physics Women in Physics Group. Material is provided by a team from the University of Sheffield with EPSRC funding.


* to enthuse young children with the enjoyment and excitement of physics.

* to support the primary school teachers with the extensive Key Stage 1 and 2 science curricula involving numerous abstract concepts.


* Electricity

* Forces and Gravity

* Forces and Magnets

* Sound

* Solids

* Light

* Solids, Liquids and Gases

* Sunlight and Space Travel

* Forces and Springs

* Earth and Solar System

* Electricity Generation Part 1

* Electricity Generation Part 2

Young children love science and enjoy doing practical work, your scientific expertise will be greatly appreciated and the children will have lots of questions for you to answer. You may be surprised to find how much you enjoy it.

The Sheffield team: Professor Gillian Gehring, Professor David Mowbray, Dr Susan Cartwright, Dr Richard de Grijs, Dr David Lidzey, Ann Marks.


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