On Thursday 16th November Years 4-6 were lucky enough to take part in a science workshop entitled Gases, Mud and Explosions! This was run by Wychwood school, Mrs Johnson came and worked with us helping us to learn lots about WW1 both from a historical and scientific point.
As part of the workshop we got to learn lots about WW1 finding out about the horrific conditions that the soldiers endured, we were read poetry written by soldiers and also got to experience some of the gases and explosions.
First of all we learnt about a metal called sodium, it is really soft and you can easily cut it; it also reacts with water so Mrs Johnson kept it stored in oil. When she put some in water we heard and saw our first explosion.
We then found out that because trenches were so long they used flares to signal to each other. Different metals were added to the flames to create red, green and purple flames – it was very exciting! We also saw what happens when metal filings were added to the flames and sparks started flying around!
Next we found out about Chlorine gas and the horrible effect that it would have on people, we learnt through this that you can drown without even being in water. Mrs Johnson told us about how deep the trenches were and about just how much mud was in them; we learnt that the soldiers wore wool socks and leather boots which didn’t dry out and that they ended up with trench foot as their feet rotted away! We got to smell the box of “trench mud” it was truly awful and our noses are still recovering.
Finally we ended up with a really big explosion – nothing compared to those the soldiers would have experienced but still big to us.
We all really enjoyed the workshop, especially the way that Mrs Johnson mixed poetry with historical and scientific facts; we especially loved seeing all the flares and explosions!