14 Apr 2011

Making Own Speleothem Experiment

Last week was our final week on Cave Science. Over four weeks we covered
1) how caves are formed
2) Speleothems
3) Living Creatures in Caves, creating a robotic Bat
 4)  Cave Art
5) Adventure to Gua Tempurung

There's lots more to cover, but this will do for now I guess. It's the process of learning that's more important anyway. :)

We finally succeeded with our speleothem experiment. Initially the liquid ran too much, causing a mini flood. Then we adjusted the cloth and distance of bottles, and the growth of the crystal was overly slow. We adjusted it a third time, and walla it worked!

For the experiment,
-we made a saturated solution of Epsom salt and water and poured the solution into 2 bottles. We added a little red colouring to this solution.
-Then we cut a thin strip from an old cotton shirt and tied both ends to nails. We dipped the whole cloth into the solution to wet it first, before dropping each nail, cloth attached into separate bottles. 
-I added the saucer at the bottom after we had the mini pool created by the over dripping of the solution.
-Finally we added sticky plaster (in green on photo) to mark where the original level of the solution was before the experiment began.

Here's the pictures of our own speleothem
see the liquid at the bottom? it eventually hardens to form part of the stalactite. If water runs too quickly, it will not form.

To avoid breaking, coz it's really fragile, experiment should be placed in a quiet place away from running children.
Almost a column. Below (not seen clearly in picture) is a VERY tiny stalacmite forming
Full column, which broke, coz Jo got curious and got too close up.

Well..children really enjoyed watching the speleothem grow over the days! Nel recorded solution level and growth of speleothem daily. To conclude these weeks of learning will be...Caving! :)
*Nel: When I grow up, I want to be an animal rescuer or a vet.

1 comment :

gail said...

Excellent! I love learning "hands on."

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