Fun experiments raise interest in science

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 February, 2007, 12:00am

What can be made from a pig's liver, detergent and hydrogen peroxide?

A group of aspiring scientists used these materials to create a simulated volcano.

Last week, 120 students from 19 primary schools learned to conduct experiments at the University of Hong Kong.

They were guided by a group of secondary students at the workshop, which was organised by the Joint School Science Exhibition Preparation Committee.

The activity was aimed at teaching students to put into practice the scientific concepts they have learned at school.

The 20 secondary students prepared for the workshop by looking up information in books and on the internet.

The students decided to use a protein enzyme from pigs' livers to separate hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water. They then added detergent and pigments.

Powered by chemical reactions, the paper volcano exploded, releasing a slimy substance and red foam that resembled magma.

The primary pupils were amazed.

Besides learning to build a volcano model, the primary students also tried their hands at rocket-making.

Divided into 12 groups, they drew their designs on paper. They attached propellers and parachutes to plastic bottles, which were used as rockets.

Filled with water, the 12 devices successfully took off, with some reaching as high as the fourth and fifth floors of the building.

To reward the students for their hard work and creativity, the organisers gave out awards for the best design, the most creative inventor and the rockets which stayed airborne for the longest time and reached the highest height.

The primary and secondary students exchanged views and ideas. The annual event helped boost their interest in science.

'Students always complain that the science found in their textbooks is boring. By making models and conducting fun scientific experiments, they will realise that science is a lively and interesting subject,' said director of the committee, Hidy Chan Ming-chung.