Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mr. JR.'s Science Stop: Matter Matters!

Today Mrs. Yollis' and Mrs. Ranney's second and third graders teamed up with Mr. JR's high school chemistry students via a Google Hangout.   The high school students gave a fabulous science demonstration about matter.

 The two main topics of the session were science lab safety and learning about the 
 pure forms of matter called elements.

Click on the Periodic Table of Elements to enlarge. 


Mrs. Yollis met Mr. JR at the Google Teacher Academy in NYC,
  and they planned these science segments when there.

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First, Mr. JR came on and introduced himself. Next, we got a chance to meet a few of his students. They all talked about the importance of being safe in the science lab.

Meet Kevin. He showed us how to to be safe in the lab by wearing safety goggles and having short sleeves.

Meet Grace. What do you notice about Grace? Is she ready to safely work in the lab? 

Finally, Mr. JR had his students demonstrated how elements react when placed in a Bunsen burner flame. Look at  all the different colors the elements turn when  placed in the flame. Fireworks come in different colors based on what elements are added!

 During the science session, Abbey, Heather, and Chloe typed notes for the class

Here are the important main ideas and details 
typed by the talented trio:

Notes for Matter:

1. When matter is pure it is an element.
2. Sodium is an element. It is salt.
3. Today they talked about lab safety.
4.  Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
5. Always tie back your hair so it will not catch on fire.
6. No long sleeves because your clothing can catch on fire.
7. Shoes. No bare feet in case something spills.
8. Kevin and Grace gave us a demonstration in their chemistry lab.
9. Elements are like fingerprints; they are all different.
10. Matter is found as a solid, a liquid, or a gas.
11. Be observant. Notice color variations.
12. Lighting lithium nitrate can be interesting.
13. We saw flames from the Bunsen burner in the dark!
14. We’re seeing a lot of different chemicals reactions. When they go into the flame they show different colors.
15.  Copper makes flames green. Copper is found in pennies and the Statue of Liberty is made of copper.
16. Purple fireworks are made of potassium. Potassium is found in bananas!

Some vocabulary terms that were written on the board and discussed before the demonstration.

 Here is a video of Mr. JR's lesson. Watch how different elements react in the flame from the Bunsen burner. Each element is different, like a fingerprint.

Check out these colorful chemical reactions!

At the end of the HangOut, we chanted our matter motto for our new high school science friends:  
Matter matters because it has mass and takes up space. 

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Mrs. Ranney has a wonderful post with all the matter experiments done during this unit. There is a slide show and a fabulous video. Watch the students turn a solid and a liquid into a gas! 


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Do you have any questions about matter for Mr. JR and his chemistry students?

What was your favorite element?


  1. What a great time! I hope your kids learned a ton and had fun as well. My students and I look forward to doing more science with all you again soon!

    1. @ Mr. JR and his chemistry students,

      Wow! Thanks so much for that enlightening demonstration! (We used the word enlightening because it means to give knowledge AND it has the word light in it like your Bunsen burner!)

      Some students would like to ask a few questions:

      1. Katelyn (and the class) would like to know, what is chemistry?
      2. Jenna: Mr. JR, how many years have you been teaching chemistry?
      3. Savannah: What other equipment do you have in your science lab?

      We know you are not experts at making fireworks, but we have a few question that we hope you might know.

      1. Mallory would like to know which element burns blue?
      2. Savannah wants to know how to make white fireworks.
      3. Abbey: Why are some fireworks sparkly?

      We look forward to learning from you in the future!

      Your new friends,
      Mrs. Y♥llis and class

    2. Dear Mr. JR,

      I am one of Mrs. Yollis' students, but I'm only in second grade. You may not have seen me, but I was typing the steps and the questions.

      I would like to be an expert of science. How long have you been doing science? Where did you learn science?

      I want to be a expert like you. Why did you want to be an expert at science?

      Your new science-loving friend,


    3. #1. Hi Katelyn! Chemistry is the study of matter (which is everything!) and the changes that happen to matter. It is the study of the elements and what happens to them.

      #2. Hi Jenna! I've been teaching Chemistry since 1998. Can you figure out how many years that is?

      #3. Hi Abbey! I have a lot of different things in my lab. I have balances which measure matter, rulers, burners, chemicals, and lots of stuff made of glass. We use them in so many different ways to study the elements.

      Mallory: To get something to burn blue, you have to mix 2 chemicals together. They are Copper and Chlorine! Copper is what is on a penny, and Chlorine is what ou put in swimming pools!

      Savannah: White fireworks are usually made of Magnesium or Aluminum. One interesting thing about the color white is that white isn't really a color. It's a mix of ALL the colors!

      Abbey: Some fireworks are sparkly because of what they put in the firework itself.

    4. Hi Chloe!

      I've been doing science since I was a kid your age! Science is really about being observant and interested in what's around you. For example, you may notice that when leaves fall from a tree, they only fall if they have a different color. I always wondered why that happens, so I went ahead and tested it myself.

      That's what science is! It's observing something around you, asking "WHY?" and then figuring it out yourself or with friends. It's like solving a problem. I love solving problems, and that's why I became an expert at science.

      Your friend,

  2. You guys are awesome!! How cool is that!?!?! Love it!

  3. Hello Mr. JR,

    I am one of Mrs. Yollis' second graders. It was lots of fun skyping with you and your students. Sometime during this year, I would like to learn how to do some science experiments.

    How did you become an expert at science?


    1. Hi Aashi! I worked really hard and studied a lot. The most important thing about being an expert in science, is that you are always interested in something. I'm always interested in EVERYTHING! so I always make it a point that I learn something new everyday. If you learn something new everyday, imagine how much you'll know when you get bigger!

    2. Dear JR,

      We love science! What is your favorite experiment? What is your favorite type of matter?

      Our favorite kind is liquid. We would love to chat with you again! We loved the different colored flames that you showed us. We both loved the red one.

      What was your favorite color?

      Mrs. Ranney's students,
      Cinthia and Jules

    3. My favorite experiment is when you you make a solid turn into gas without becoming a liquid! Maybe I can show you that in the future.

      My favorite color is the green one because I like green!

      Mr. JR

  4. Mrs. Yollis and Class!
    It was so fun skyping with you guys last week! I am so impressed with how much you already know about science! You were all so great at answering Mr. JR's questions and I noticed you are all fantastic at observing. Good scientists are ALWAYS observant. I remember second grade and we never learned the cool things you are learning right now. I love your matter motto: Matter matters because it has mass and takes up space! You are all super scientists! Keep up the hard work and I can't wait till we can have another science experiment again!

    1. Daniel, Chloe, and KatelynNovember 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      Dear A Johns,

      It was so fun skyping with you too! Did you learn anything about science? We learned a lot about science.

      Yes, Matter matters because it has mass and takes up space. We never new that fireworks we're made like that. How could fireworks be made like you did? My favorite element is gold. What is your favorite element?

      your friends,
      Chloe, Daniel, and Katelyn

    2. Dear Chloe, Daniel, and Katelyn,
      I have learned a lot about science!!! Just like Mr. JR taught you guys, I learned that every element has it's own "fingerprint" just like we all have our own fingerprints. The "fingerprints" for elements is their color. You guys saw that when we put the elements into the fire. They would be orange, red, green, etc. Pretty Cool Right!?!

      My favorite element would probably be oxygen because that is what we use to breathe! I do love gold as well because it looks really good in my jewelry! I'll have to ask Mr. JR about the fireworks because I'm not so sure how they make them but I'll get back to you guys on that!

      I here you are learning about magnets in your class right now! Is there anything really cool that you could tell me about magnets? I would love to know! Keep up the great work! (:

      your friend,
      Aly (:

  5. It was fun doing the science demonstration with all of you! I can't wait until next time!

  6. Dear Mrs. Yollis' class,

    Wow! Skyping with Mr. JR's class seems like a huge treat! I think it's amazing how people from all parts of the country and all age groups can come together and learn from each other. I especially liked the photos of the chemistry students showing off their safety skills. Grace looks fantastic, however, she's not properly dressed for science class. That beautiful scarf of hers could easily catch fire in the Bunsen burner. I believe it's safest to wear fitted clothing around the chemistry classroom. Loose, flowing clothes aren't the safest choice.
    I remember chemistry class very well. Bennett's Dad and I took it together. Sometimes, we were partners. Mostly, he teased me about being nervous to light the Bunsen burner. After much practice, I overcame my fear and was able to maneuver around the chemistry class safely.
    Mr. JR taught me something new today. I've always loved watching fireworks, but I never really thought about how they got their colors. Now I know that different elements create different colors when they are lit. My favorite color was the beautiful green from the copper. What was your favorite color?

    (Bennett's mom)

    1. C♣llin, Se♣n, and BennettNovember 14, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      Dear Catherine,

      Thank you for a lovely comment. You asked us what our favorite colors are. Bennett's favorite color is blue. Collin's is green. Sean's is red.
      We wish you were there. What is your favorite element and why?

      Bennett, Se♣n, and C♣llin

    2. Dear Collin, Sean, and Bennett,

      I thought that Chemistry experiment was very interesting. Just think, once you get to high school, you'll be the ones experimenting with Bunsen burners and elements!

      My favorite element is oxygen. Without it we couldn't live. We need oxygen to breathe and without oxygen, there would be no water. Imagine that! I'm looking forward to some more amazing science from yours and Mrs. Ranney's classes.

      Warm regards,
      (Bennett's mom)

  7. It was a pleasure demonstrating to the kids about how elements have their own different "fingerprints." Hopefully we will be able to have more opportunities to teach the kids about everything that we know and will learn real soon. I hope that we've inspired many of the kids to develop an interest in chemistry!

    1. @ Jenny Son,

      Thank you for teaching us and for leaving such an excellent comment!

      What is the hardest thing to do in chemistry? How long have you been in chemistry class? What is the easiest thing to do in chemistry?

      Jenna and Savannah

  8. Hello Mrs. Yollis and class,

    Science, like many things in our world, is an interest of mine. My science degree wasn't majored in chemistry but it did included chemistry as one of my courses.

    From the very start, safety was stressed in the lab. We were sometimes using very dangerous chemicals in experiments. Safety goggles, lab coats and even gloves were a must as we special cabinets to contain possibly poisonous fumes.

    As part of some special effects in a play, I once had to mix gunpowder. Observing safety rules meant I was able to do this safely.

    What was the special effect? A fairy was meant to appear on stage in a cloud of smoke. I had set the gunpowder in a safe container. When I set it off, a cloud of white smoke came up. The fairy stepped from behind a curtain and seemed to appear in the cloud of smoke.

    I was glad to see you were shown and discussed the need for safety in the lab. We should never play with chemicals when we don't know how, even when we are adults.

    Your question...

    What was my favorite element?

    This is easy. My favourite element is the simplest and first on the periodic table. It is hydrogen.

    Why the simplest when we have cool sounding names like promethium, plutonium and neptunium?

    Hydrogen is the building block of our universe. It's what our sun burns to give us light and heat and is the most abundant element in our universe. From it, reactions in suns over billions of years have made the other elements. Did you know that means we are made of matter once in the centre of suns?

    Hydrogen is pretty cool for such a simple element.

    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

  9. Dear Mrs. Yollis and Class,

    It looks like you guys had an awesome time learning about chemistry with Mr. JR and his high school students. In fact, I am in high school studying chemistry as well! I got to do the exact same lab demonstrated by Mr. JR and his students, except my teacher did it slightly different. Instead of using compounds (two or more elements together) that had nitrate, or nitrogen, in them, we used ones with chloride, or chlorine, in them!

    My favorite element is probably Carbon. It is extremely unique and is what makes up many different things. We, or people, are made of carbon, and so is graphite (the stuff in your pencils).

    Chemistry is such a fun subject that I decided to take it two times a day instead of just one! I hope you guys like chemistry as much as I do.

    Sean's big sister Sabrina

  10. Kiern♣n, Peter and Se♣nNovember 28, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Dear Sabrina,

    We did not know that carbon is in people! That's interesting. What other elements are found in people?

    We agree that chemistry is a fun science subject too.

    How many elements are there? Sean thinks there are 50 elements. Kiernan thinks there are 70 elements. Peter thinks there are 50 elements. Who is correct? Who is closest?


    Peter, Kiernan, and Se♣n

  11. Peter, Kiernan, and Sean,

    Some of the other elements that are naturally found in the body are oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorous, sulfur, nitrogen, calcium, sodium, and potassium!! A lot of these elements are what makes our bodies work!

    Kiernan is the closest. There are 117 elements on the periodic table!! That's a lot of elements!

    Sean's big sister Sabrina

  12. I can't believe the conversation is still going! It was really awesome to be a part of your learning.

    I have two favorite elements: Hydrogen and Oxygen. Did you know that if you put two hydrogens and one oxygen together, you get WATER? That's why water is called H2O! I love water because I surf in the ocean. I also like the rain and snow. All these things are made of water, and that's why I like Hydrogen and Oxygen because they make up water!


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