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Issue 10 activities: mad scientists!

"Issue 10 cover Alphabet Soup"We’ve updated the ‘Activities’ page! (You’ll find the page on the menu across the top of the blog, under the header picture).

ISSUE 10—AUTUMN 2011

ACTIVITIES

1. PLAY with chemistry online. Check out ChemiCroc—a cool website for primary school kids, with online activities.

2. Check out the International Year of Chemistry 2011: Australia website. There are some chemistry-related word searches and activities.

3. HANDS-ON CHEMISTRY: Visit the CSIRO website to see how you can make your own bath bombs. (Give as gifts, or drop one in your own bath and watch it FIZZ!)

4. TRY a YUMMY EXPERIMENT: experiment with reactions—visit the Science Wizard’s website to find out how to make your own sherbet. Yum! (You’ll find citric acid in the grocery store,  near tartaric acid.)

5. READ some chemistry-themed books! We like George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Can you think of any others? Click here to tell us your favourites, and we’ll add them to the list!

MUSIC LISTENING LIST

Our listening list is compiled by Danielle Joynt, from Cantaris. Danielle has also included comments for some of these pieces. (Tip: Ask about CDs at your public library—libraries often have a good collection of CDs for loan if you prefer not to buy.)

1. MUSIC FOR THE ROYAL FIREWORKS—GEORGE FREDERIC HANDEL

"Music for the Royal Fireworks cover"This is a suite—originally for wind-band and later re-scored for orchestra—composed by George Frederic Handel in 1749. The music was commissioned by King George ll of Great Britain to celebrate the end of the War Of Austrian Succession and the signing of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

The music was first publicly performed in rehearsal on 21st April 1749 in Vauxhall Gardens, London. Over twelve thousand people attended the rehearsal, causing a three hour traffic jam of carriages, after the central arch  on the newly built London Bridge collapsed.

During the actual concert on the 27th April, the musicians were housed in a purpose-built theatre which caught fire after the collapse of a bas-relief scultpure of King George during the fireworks!

2. VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS SCORED INTO MELODIES

In 2003, researchers in Italy began transforming the low-frequency seismic rumblings of volcanoes into musical scores in an effort to predict when the volcanoes would erupt. Researchers created a concerto from the underground movements of Mount Etna in Sicily and created melodies from Tungurahua in Ecuador. By correlating music with precise volcanic activity, researchers hope to learn the signature tune of an imminent eruption.

3. CARL PHILIPP EMMANUEL BACH (1714-88) compared the music of his father’s generation with “overly-spiced cooking”.

Erik Satie likened the chromaticism of Wagner’s music to sauerkraut!

Sergei Prokofiev compared the cloyingly sweet berries he sampled on a visit to the country with Chopin’s “effete” nocturnes.

4. POPULAR MUSIC

Love Potion Number 9 is a classic popular song written in 1959 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was originally performed by The Clovers that year. The well-known version was recorded by The Searchers in 1963.

5. THE ENGLISH COMPOSER EDWARD ELGAR is said to have believed that the tune of the first of his “Pomp and Circumstance” marches would “knock ‘em flat”. As an amateur chemist, he proved that literally …

"Pomp and Circumstance cover"His friend, the conductor and composer William Henry Reed, tells how Elgar delighted in making a ‘phosphoric concoction’ which would explode spontaneously when dry—possibly Armstrong’s mixture, red phosphorus and potassium chlorate, used in toy cap guns. One day, Reed says, Elgar made a batch of the stuff but then musical inspiration struck. He put the mixture into a metal basin and dumped it in the water butt before returning to the house.

‘Just as he was getting on famously,’ wrote Reed, ‘writing in horn and trumpet parts, and mapping out wood-wind, a sudden and unexpected crash, as of all the percussion in all the orchestras on earth, shook the room … The water-butt had blown up: the hoops were rent: the staves flew in all directions; and the liberated water went down the drive in a solid wall. Silence reigned for a few seconds. Then all the dogs in Herefordshire gave tongue.’

 

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 9 (summer 2010).

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 8 (spring 2010).

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 7 (winter 2010).

Author:

Rebecca Newman is a children's writer and poet, and the editor of the Australian children's literary blog, Alphabet Soup. rebeccanewman.net.au.

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