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Sir Gustav Nossal would be proud

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June 5, 2018 by admin

Chain reaction: Year 11 student Adam watches the ‘elephant’s toothpaste’ in one of the laboratories at Nossal High School. Picture: Sam StiglecTHERE were bubbles, screams, explosions and things flying across the room at Berwick’s Nossal High School last week.
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The school, named after the distinguished Australian research biologist Sir Gustav Nossal, held a range of activities for its maths and science week, including two performances of ‘the chemistry show’ by staff.

Science teacher Jenna Richards said the school had excellent participation rates in chemistry – 150 of its 200 students are taking the subject – so the week was more of a celebration of science than anything else. “For chemistry, it’s a chance for us to pull our box of tricks.”

The chemistry show included a demonstration of ‘elephant’s toothpaste’, which was made by adding potassium dioxide to hydrogen peroxide and quickly grew into a foamy green mess.

Ms Richards said the experiment was essentially a sped-up version of the decomposition of bleach. “We add food dye to make it more foamy and colourful.”

Jelly babies were also made to scream by putting them in a test tube and applying heat to oxidise the sugar inside. “None of the science staff like the green jellybabies.”

Other experiments included launching an ethanol-fuelled rocket, collecting and exploding helium inside balloons and blowing the lid off an energy-drink tin from the inside.


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