Paignton Library STEM Group

CanSat Contest

The UK CanSat Competition 2023/24 is open for registration. Don’t miss out on your chance to enter, the deadline is the 17th of October 2023.

CanSat provides students with the opportunity to have practical experience working on a small-scale space project. Students (14+) can enter the CanSat competition and design their own satellite simulation in a soft drink can.

Note: *The above text is taken from the all about stem website. I am just reproducing here for the purpose of promoting the contest.



CyberCenturion competition

Another good opportunity and teams could use the STEM group and code club to work on projects. I NEED extra adult help for this as I am limited to what I can help with.

Synopsis from STEM website

CyberCenturion is a national cyber education initiative for 12-18 year-olds in the UK and UK overseas territories. The program is designed to excite, educate and motivate students to pursue further education and careers in STEM and cybersecurity, which helps to build a diverse talent pool to supply the UK’s workforce needs.

Its objective is to deliver an inspirational competitive education experience, which provides:

  • Practical learning about cyber in the real world
  • Development of technical and employability skills that are useful in any industry
  • Motivation to pursue Cyber/STEM subjects and careers

Teams participate in a series of virtual competition rounds against one another and the clock and are tasked with securing a range of computer systems.

CyberCenturion is brought to the UK by Northrop Grumman.

Percentage Composition in Chemistry 2

I have remade the video where I explain how to calculate percentage composition. Here I am using Methane as a worked example.

Hopefully it gets the idea across, I will make more and give different examples, hopefully in doing so I will learn and gain confidence in making these videos.



Fresh solutions

I have just made up a fresh batch of 0.1 M Citric Acid for use at a future STEM Group meeting. Hope to make more up then on the 14th October I can take these down to the Library.

I need to find other chemicals to take down. I will have 10 x 125ml bottles by then so will have more receptacles for solutions.

STEM GROUP – October 2023

The October event, scheduled for the 14th October has been Cancelled. This will allow me some time to stock take resources, and prepare properly for future sessions. It will also allow the library time to reach out and get some more help in to run sessions.

I was asked about the Horrible science kit (see below). This kit has about ½ of what is needed, the other ½ needs to be sourced. I need too work out what is practical to do during a session and also source these items accordingly. I can't get or buy everything.

chaos chem

September STEM Group Write up

The September STEM group was fairly quiet. I had one attendee at first and we attempted the planned experiments. These were

1 Add Bicarbonate of Soda to vinegar in a zip lock back, to demonstrate air pressure 2 Repeat but put holes near the top of the zip lock bag, this releases the CO_2 pressure and should produce an endothermic cooling.

ready to go

In both cases the expected reaction took place. I don't think there was enough ingredients for the size of bag being used.

This is exactly why I need more help, so that I have someone who can help suggest ideas and improvements to experiments.

We also undertook some other experiments including adding Magnesium Ribbon to Vinegar and also added some to Copper Sulfate to demonstrate displacement. This needs to be repeated with better explanation however.

I have also made up a new solution of 0.5 M Citric acid at 100ml volume. This can be used for later sessions.

I also carried out an experiment to compare the reactions of antacid Rennie, in both CItric Acid Solution and White Vinegar. The videos for these are linked below.

I tried to use a Lime and some of the copper / zinc sheets I sent for to make a battery again this needs further experimentation and investigation(s).

There was a 2nd attendee in the afternoon, however all we could do is a basic acid / alkali experiment due to lack of resources.

Making a Sodium Chloride Solution attempt 3

This is part one of my Third attempt. I am adding the Sodium Chloride to a beaker, to weigh out 2.92g, I get to 2.91, which as I said in the video text is close enough.

For the record I have managed to get to 2.92g. However taking this and adding to the beaker so I can make a video seems to end up at 2.91g

Making a Sodium Chloride Solution attempt 2

Further to my previous attempt. I have made a second attempt at this, with a minor modification as I decided to change the concentration to 0.5M requiring 2.922g of Sodium Chloride.

In my previous attempt, I add too much water. Solution here was to use a dropper to make up the solution as it gives more precise way to make up the solution to 100ml.

This is my second attempt, This again failed as I attempted to add the salt to the volumetric flask with a funnel, however inserting the funnel made it wet. So the salt stuck to the side. Hence I say at the end, 'problem with the funnel'. Video can be found here

While I failed at getting this right, I did identify the issue and can make improvements next time.

I am again sharing anyway as it just demonstrates learning and developing the right technique so I get it right. Hopefully others can learn from my errors.

So next time I will add the salt first then make up the volume of water by adding the water, to just under the 100ml mark THEN topping up with the dropper.

So new Method is

  • Weigh out sodium Chloride and add to flask
  • Add water to just under 100ml
  • Use dropper to make up exactly 100ml

I may make a series if videos for this, rather than a single video as if a mistake is made I just need to re-do that part of the practical and make the video.

Percentage Composition in Chemistry

In this video, I try and explain and give a worked example of calculating percentage composition.

Hopefully it gets the idea across, I will make more and give different examples, hopefully in doing so I will learn and gain confidence in making these videos.



Making a Sodium Chloride Solution attempt 1

So using the calculations we did in the previous video. I attempt to make this up.

This attempt worked well, as I had the solution at what looked like just under 100ml, I have to go by the meniscus on the water, so attempting to add a tiny drop more of water, I ended up going right over.

I have included anyway, and will make a second, learn from my previous effort and attempt to avoid the error by using a dropper for the final few millilitres of water. .