Science Department News March 2018

Science Department News March 2018
Science Department News March 2018

GHS Science Department News

March 2018


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Prairie Burning

GHS has its own prairie plot behind the school and a healthy prairie needs a good burn in the spring. Why burn a prairie? It helps manage weeds, puts nutrients back into the ground, stimulates the growth of productive plants, and encourages seeds to sprout.

As you can see in the pictures below, the GHS prairie had accumulated a lot of dry growth that needed to be managed. When used carefully, fire is the perfect tool for the job. Shovels ready?

The team worked together, keeping the fire small enough to control and headed in the right direction.

But wait … there’s more!

A Watched Beaker Never Boils

Is it boiling yet? Now is it boiling? How long will it take? Mr. Baxter’s students learned how to safely use a Bunsen burner and adjust it to produce a clean, hot flame. In these photos, you will barely be able to see the flames because they are correctly adjusted to a faint blue color that quickly delivers a lot of heat.

Boiling Water in a Paper Cup?

Imagine trying to heat water in a paper cup over an open flame. Paper cup? Open flame? This sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at least a bit of a mess. But Mr. Baxter’s students were amazed to see that it actually works. The water boils but the cup doesn’t burn (much).

This demonstration was used to show how temperature stays constant during a phase change even while heat is being added. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius (that’s 212 F) but paper won’t ignite unless it reaches 233 degrees Celsius (that’s Fahrenheit 451, sound familiar?). The cup of water gets stuck at the temperature of boiling water and won’t increase beyond that until all the water is boiled away.

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