Study Hall - continued 1

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States of Matter

Date prepared: 30/10/2020 


There are four natural states of matter: solids, liquids, gases and plasma. The fifth state is the man-made Bose-Einstein condensates. (But, researchers recently identified three other phases of matter.)

Parents remember that when they were school kids they were taught about three physical states: solid, liquid and gas. A fourth state is hot, charged gas (plasma), which consists of positively charged ions and free electrons. There are now as many as eight states of matter. The number keeps going up as science advances. 

Matter is the "stuff" that makes up the universe — everything that takes up space and has mass is matter. All matter is made up of atoms, which are in turn made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. 

Atoms come together to form molecules, which are the building blocks for all types of matter, according to scientists. Both atoms and molecules are held together by a form of potential energy called chemical energy. Unlike kinetic energy, which is the energy of an object in motion, potential energy is the energy stored in an object. 

In a solid, particles are packed tightly together so they don't move much. The electrons of each atom are constantly in motion, so the atoms have a small vibration, but they are fixed in their position. Because of this, particles in a solid have very low kinetic energy.

Solids have a definite shape, as well as mass and volume, and do not conform to the shape of the container in which they are placed. Solids also have a high density, meaning that the particles are tightly packed together. 


In a liquid, the particles are more loosely packed than in a solid and are able to flow around each other, giving the liquid an indefinite shape. Therefore, the liquid will conform to the shape of its container.

Much like solids, liquids (most of which have a lower density than solids) are incredibly difficult to compress. 


In a gas, the particles have a great deal of space between them and have high kinetic energy. A gas has no definite shape or volume. If unconfined, the particles of a gas will spread out indefinitely; if confined, the gas will expand to fill its container. When a gas is put under pressure by reducing the volume of the container, the space between particles is reduced and the gas is compressed. 


Plasma is not a common state of matter here on Earth, but it may be the most common state of matter in the universe, according to the Jefferson Laboratory. Stars are essentially superheated balls of plasma. 

Plasma consists of highly charged particles with extremely high kinetic energy. The noble gases (helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon) are often used to make glowing signs by using electricity to ionize them to the plasma state. 

Going through a phase

Adding or removing energy from matter causes a physical change as matter moves from one state to another. For example, adding thermal energy (heat) to liquid water causes it to become steam or vapor (a gas). And removing energy from liquid water causes it to become ice (a solid). Physical changes can also be caused by motion and pressure.

Melting and freezing

When heat is applied to a solid, its particles begin to vibrate faster and move farther apart. When the substance reaches a certain combination of temperature and pressure, its melting point, the solid will begin to melt and turn into a liquid. 

When two states of matter, such as solid and liquid, are at the equilibrium temperature and pressure, additional heat added into the system will not cause the overall temperature of the substance to increase until the entire sample reaches the same physical state. For example, when you put ice into a glass of water and leave it out at room temperature, the ice and water will eventually come to the same temperature. As the ice melts from heat coming from the water, it will remain at zero degrees Celsius until the entire ice cube melts before continuing to warm. 

When heat is removed from a liquid, its particles slow down and begin to settle in one location within the substance. When the substance reaches a cool enough temperature at a certain pressure, the freezing point, the liquid becomes a solid.

Most liquids contract as they freeze. Water, however, expands when it freezes into ice, causing the molecules to push farther apart and decrease the density, which is why ice floats on top of water

To learn more, visit this entertaining website:



Multitasking and the Brain

Date prepared: 17/09/2020 




•         Paper

•         Pen

•         Ruler

•         Something to read

•         Something to count



Experiment with various tasks to learn how different parts of our brain carry out different tasks




➢ Turning your foot clockwise


➢ Turning your arm anti-clockwise


➢ Reading


➢ Listening to someone talk


➢ Counting


➢ Listening to someone else count



THE EXPERIMENT - What we did

1. We first patted our heads and rubbed our tummies at the same time to see if it was difficult


2. Then we formed pairs of 2 and carried out different combinations of tasks together - for this we used the list of tasks given above


3. One of us would read a storybook, while the other would talk 


4. One of us would count backwards from 50 while the other would read


5. One of us would talk while the other would count forwards from 20




I found it easy to do _______________________________ and _______________________________ at the same time

I found it easy to do _______________________________ and _______________________________ at the same time

I found it difficult to do ____________________________ and _______________________________ at the same time

I found it difficult to do ____________________________ and _______________________________ at the same time


How difficult was each pair of tasks to do?

Do you think all of your brain is controlling everything?

When might you have to do these two things in real life?

Why does this happen?

Tasks which require the same part of the brain (like speaking and reading) interfere with each other-- and that’s why its difficult to do them both at the same time!


To learn more, watch this entertaining video:



How to assemble:

Cut out both hemispheres. Then snip in on the “V” lines. Don’t snip on the dashed lines, just the solid lines. Then pull the “flaps” you have created over to their dashed lines and secure with glue or tape.  After you have pulled all the flaps over to their dashed lines, it should then take on a half-round shape.  To put these two halves together, simply choose one side to overlap just slightly onto the other (1/8” or less is enough, but use more if you are trying to shrink the size of the hat) and secure with tape.

TIP: You might want to write RIGHT and LEFT on the inside of the hat pieces before you cut them out.





 left with answers



 right with answers



left blank


right blank


Your Amazing Brain

Your brain controls everything you do. Different parts of the brain control different functions.

You carry around a three-pound mass of wrinkly material in your head that controls every single thing you will ever do. From enabling you to think, learn, create, and feel emotions to controlling every blink, breath, and heartbeat—this fantastic control center is your brain. It is a structure so amazing that a famous scientist once called it "the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe."

Your brain is faster and more powerful than a supercomputer.
Your kitten is on the kitchen counter. She's about to step onto a hot stove. You have only seconds to act. Accessing the signals coming from your eyes, your brain quickly calculates when, where, and at what speed you will need to dive to intercept her. Then it orders your muscles to do so. Your timing is perfect and she's safe. No computer can come close to your brain's awesome ability to download, process, and react to the flood of information coming from your eyes, ears, and other sensory organs.

Your brain generates enough electricity to power a lightbulb.
Your brain contains about 100 billion microscopic cells called neurons—so many it would take you over 3,000 years to count them all. Whenever you dream, laugh, think, see, or move, it’s because tiny chemical and electrical signals are racing between these neurons along billions of tiny neuron highways. Believe it or not, the activity in your brain never stops. Countless messages zip around inside it every second like a supercharged pinball machine. Your neurons create and send more messages than all the phones in the entire world. And while a single neuron generates only a tiny amount of electricity, all your neurons together can generate enough electricity to power a low-wattage bulb.
Neurons send information to your brain at more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour. 
A bee lands on your bare foot. Sensory neurons in your skin relay this information to your spinal cord and brain at a speed of more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour. Your brain then uses motor neurons to transmit the message back through your spinal cord to your foot to shake the bee off quickly. Motor neurons can relay this information at more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) per hour.
When you learn, you change the structure of your brain. 
Riding a bike seems impossible at first. But soon you master it. How? As you practice, your brain sends "bike riding" messages along certain pathways of neurons over and over, forming new connections. In fact, the structure of your brain changes every time you learn, as well as whenever you have a new thought or memory.

Exercise helps make you smarter.
It is well known that any exercise that makes your heart beat faster, like running or playing basketball, is great for your body and can even help improve your mood. But scientists have recently learned that for a period of time after you've exercised, your body produces a chemical that makes your brain more receptive to learning. So if you're stuck on a homework problem, go out and play a game of soccer, then try the problem again. You just might discover that you're able to solve it. 


To learn more, visit this web page:



Nutrition and the Brain


Your brain is like a car. A car needs gasoline, oil, brake fluid and other materials to run properly. Your brain also needs special materials to run properly: glucose, vitamins, minerals and other essential chemicals. For example, the fuel (energy) for your brain is glucose. You can get glucose by eating carbohydrates or other foods that can be converted to glucose.

Your brain must manufacture the right proteins and fats to do things such as grow new connections or add myelin, the fatty sheath to axons. You do this by digesting proteins and fats in food and using the pieces, that is, the amino acids and fatty acids, to make the new brain proteins and fats. Without the correct amount and balance of particular building blocks, your brain will not work properly. Too little (deficiency) or too much (overabundance) of the necessary nutrient can affect the nervous system.



Amino Acid: building block of proteins; an organic compound

Protein: a large molecule made from amino acids. Examples of proteins are enzymes and hormones.

Vitamin: substance from food that is necessary for the proper function of the body. Many vitamins assist in enzymatic processes.

Essential Vitamin or Mineral: vitamins and minerals that are needed by the body but are not produced by the body. Therefore, these materials must be taken in as part of the diet.

Lipids (fats): not all fats are bad for you. In fact, some fats are essential for proper brain function. Two lipids important to the brain are the n-6 and n-3 fatty acids. Low levels of n-3 fatty acids in a diet can cause visual problems especially by affecting the retina. Studies in animals have shown that diets without n-3 fatty acids cause learning, motivation and motor problems and may affect systems that use the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in the frontal cortex. The n-6 fatty acids are also important in proper brain function because they affect neurotransmitter release and they also influence the ability of neurons to use glucose.


Skill Matcher

Skills are something that you can learn and are good at.  Skill Matcher helps you to make plans about the future based on the skills you enjoy using or are interested in learning. Consider the list below and choose the skills that interest you the most:


Data and information

  • Administration
  • Managing finances
  • Mathematical
  • Planning and organising
  • Working with computers



  • Advising
  • Caring for people
  • Counselling
  • Customer service
  • Demonstrating and presenting
  • Managing and supervising
  • Motivating
  • Negotiating
  • Sales and persuading
  • Teaching and instructing



  • Analysing
  • Artistic and creative
  • Designing
  • Languages
  • Performing
  • Researching and investigating
  • Writing



  • Building and assembling things
  • Food handling and preparation
  • Operating vehicles
  • Physical activity
  • Repairing and maintaining things
  • Working with animals
  • Working with plants
  • Working with tools, machinery and equipment
  • Working with your hands


For more information on the topics covered, please visit:





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