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Fooling Our Senses

Gruesome Gut!

10 Key Facts you learnt in today’s session:

  • We get energy from the food we eat and it’s important to have a balanced diet.
  • There are four main food groups: Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, Vitamins & Minerals.
  • Carbohydrates give us energy, but fats give our bodies energy that can be stored and provide a layer under our skin to keep us warm.
  • Proteins help our bodies to repair themselves, and Vitamins and minerals help with all sorts of jobs around our bodies such as healing wounds, building strong bones and teeth, making blood and keeping our brain working!
  • Digestive enzymes break up the molecules in food so that they are easy for the body to absorb.
  • Your body makes enough saliva each day to fill a 1 litre bottle!
  • Your small intestine is 6 metres long; over 5 times as long as your large intestine.
  • Undigested food and swallowing air are common causes of farts!
  • Your Kidneys clean your blood and make sure it’s perfectly balanced with the proper minerals.
  • Food hangs around in your large intestine for approximately 1 day before it’s ready to get pushed out!

Wonky Vision!

10 Key Facts you learnt in today’s science club:

  • Your eyeball weighs approximately 1 ounce, which is equivalent to 18 hummingbirds!
  • The pupil is the hole in the centre of the eye that lets light in.
  • The cornea is the outer part of the eye that protects the pupil.
  • The coloured part of your eye is called the iris, which controls how much light enters by expanding or shrinking the pupil.
  • In dim light, your pupil gets bigger to let in more light. In bright light, they get smaller, so you don’t get dazzled.
  • The lens is the part of the eye that lets us focus on things either near or far away.
  • We see things when light enters our eyes through the pupil, passes through the lens and focuses it on a light-sensitive area at the back called the retina.
  • This area sends signals to the brain and the brain tells you what you see!
  • Each eye sees a slightly different view which allows us to judge distances and achieve depth perception.
  • An optical illusion is where your brain processes the information from the eye to give a false perception of what is physically there.

Sounds Like Music!

10 Key Facts you learnt in today’s science club:
  • Sound is a vibration which travels through matter as a wave.
  • Your outer ear channels sounds into your ear. When the sound hits the tightly stretched eardrum, it wobbles passing ripples through the tiny bones of the middle ear to the snail-shaped cochlea.
  • These vibrations are converted into signals by nerves and sent to the brain where is tells you what you’ve heard.
  • Sound travels quickest through a solid where the molecules are tightly packed together.
  • Sound waves have a wavelength, frequency, speed and amplitude.
  • Pitch is determined by the frequency of the vibrations that we hear; a high frequency = high pitch, a low frequency = low pitch.
  • Amplitude determines how loud the sound is.
  • Sound waves move at approximately 344 meters/second or 770 miles per hour at room temp of 20°C in air.
  • Because sound is the vibration of matter, it does not travel through a vacuum or in outer space.
  • Your ears also help you balance. Three tiny loops called semi-cicular canals are filled with liquid. When you move your head, this liquid swirls and sends signals to your brain about the position of your head and helps you to balance.

Light Up The Way!

10 Key Facts you learnt in today’s science club:

  • White light from the sun or a light bulb is made up of light waves of different speeds which are all the colours of the rainbow; ROYGBIV.
  • The fastest moving light waves look violet to our eyes. The slowest light waves appear red, with all the other colours of light in between.
  • Raindrops diffract the white light from the sun into all the colours of the rainbow – just like our diffraction glasses do.
  • Light travels in straight lines and cannot bend, but we can get it to change direction using a mirror.
  • LASERs are made from only one wavelength of light so we see it as only one colour.
  • Ultraviolet or UV light from the sun travels faster than violet light and is not usually visible to us.
  • UV light can be in the UVA, UVB or UVC region. UV B and C is the part of sunlight that damages our skin and cause sunburn.
  • UVA (black light) however has a slightly longer wavelength and lower-energy so it doesn’t harm us.
  • Many things fluoresce under UV light such as a bank note, bank card or driving license. This is a security feature to protect them from forgery.
  • Objects that give off light are called luminescent. Sometimes two chemicals react and give off light called chemiluminescence, such as seen with glow sticks.

Tantilise YourTaste Buds!

10 Key Facts you learnt in today’s science club:

  • The surface of your tongue is covered with thousands of tiny bumps called papillae, with contain taste sensors. We call them taste buds.
  • There are about 10,000 taste buds on your tongue.
  • Each taste bud contains 50-100 cells that can identify four main tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter.
  • They can also pick up a fifth taste called ‘umami’ which is Japanese for ‘pleasant tasting’ and is described as an appetitive savoury taste.
  • We can only taste things that are small enough to be detected by our taste sensors. Saliva helps to dissolve and break down food so we can taste it.
  • Smell and taste are closely linked. If you have a blocked nose, you’ll find that your food doesn’t taste as good.
  • Fizzy drinks are made with the addition of gas bubbles. The gas added is called carbon dioxide, which is the gas we breathe out - not surprising it makes us burp!
  • Sherbet can be made with a careful combination of icing sugar, citric acid and sodium bicarbonate.
  • The fizzy sensation you get from sherbet is caused by a reaction between citric acid and sodium bicarbonate and releases carbon dioxide.
  • The chemical reaction doesn’t begin until the dry ingredients become wet. So keep your sherbet dry so that the reaction doesn’t start before you eat it!

Germy Microbes & Gloopy Mucus!

10 Key Facts you learnt in today’s science club:

  • There are many living things that are very small, microscopic even, and can live on us. We call them mirco-organisms.
  • Some of these micro-organisms really help us, by breaking down food, or stop more dangerous germs growing all over us. We call these symbiotic.
  • The dangerous ones are called parasites or pathogens and they need us to live, but they can damage us as well.
  • Skin and eyelash mites live on us and feed on dead skin and sweat. They keep us clean and are not usually harmful to us.
  • Dust mites feed on flakes of human skin and don’t directly harm us but nearly 10% of the population have allergies triggered by them.
  • Threadworm/pinworm is a parasite that primarily affects children and is typically characterised by symptoms including an itchy bottom!
  • Some bacteria and moulds are helpful: Yeast has been used for about 6 thousand years to make beer and bread. Penicillin (fungi) is useful as an antibiotic to fight some infections. Yogurt is milk fermented with particular strains of common bacteria (Lactobacillus sp.)  and it has been made by Middle Eastern populations for thousands of years.
  • Some bacteria and viruses are harmful: rhinovirus is the most common cause of colds, the Orthomyxovirus causes flu, Streptococcus pneumonia (bacteria) often causes ear ache, pneumonia or even meningitis.
  • Although we are lucky enough to have medicines to help us recover when we are ill, our bodies have sophisticated defence mechanisms by which it can protect itself from germs, called the immune system.
  • One line of defence is to produce sticky mucus that protects all areas of our body that come into contact with the outside world; skin has oils, ears have wax, eyes have tears, mouths have saliva and noses have snot!

Congratulations, you have made it through the ‘Fooling Our Senses’ programme! We hope you enjoyed your journey of science exploration and are inspired to continue to investigate the world we live in and discover how things work.

Take a look at our online science resources for ideas of science experiments you can do at home.

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