Pop, Bang! 6 super-simple science experiments

It’s World Science Day on 10th November.  Part of the purpose is to highlight the relevance and importance of science in our daily lives. 

Here we’ve compiled six of our favourite experiments.  They’re really easy to follow and you will find all of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard or local supermarket.

Go ahead and stoke the fire of enthusiasm by amazing your child with the magic of science!

Animated Stickman

You will need:

Dry wipe marker pen

Glass bowl or plate

Water

Instructions:

  1. Draw a stickman on the plate or the bottom of the bowl with the dry wipe marker.
  2. Slowly pour water into the bowl or onto the plate and watch the stickman slowly rise.
  3. Gently swirl the water around to see the stickman move.

What happened?

Marker pen ink contains alcohol and different pigments.  The alcohol dissolves leaving behind the pigments as a solid.  The solid slides about when the glass gets wet because glass is so smooth.

Bag Explosion

You will need:

Bicarbonate of soda

Cellotape

Mixing bowl

Tablespoon

Toilet paper

Vinegar

Ziplock bag

Instructions:

  1. Make a bicarbonate of soda pouch by putting one tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda on a square of toilet paper.  Fold the toilet paper and cellotape closed so that the bicarbonate of soda doesn’t leak out of the sides.  Don’t overdo the cellotape though!
  2. Pour 75ml vinegar into the ziplock bag.
  3. Zip the bag so it is almost closed, but there is enough of a gap to fit the bicarbonate of soda pouch in.
  4. Insert the pouch into the bag but don’t let it touch the vinegar.
  5. Zip the bag tightly shut.
  6. Carefully place the bag in the mixing bowl.
  7. Swish the bowl about to mix the chemicals and watch what happens.

What happened?

When vinegar and bicarbonate of soda mix they react to produce carbon dioxide, water and sodium acetate.  The carbon dioxide builds up and is trapped in the bag and so the bag explodes!

Fizzing Snowballs

You will need:

Bicarbonate of soda

Pipette

Tablespoon

Teacup

Vinegar

Water

Instructions:

  1. Fill the teacup 1/3 with bicarbonate of soda.
  2. Gradually add water to the teacup until the bicarbonate of soda forms a compact snowball.
  3. Place the snowball in the freezer overnight.
  4. Take the snowball out of the freezer.
  5. Pipette drops of vinegar onto the snowball to see it fizz.

What happened?

When vinegar (an acid) is added to bicarbonate of soda (a base) they react to produce carbon dioxide.  Change the experiment by warming the vinegar before squirting it onto the snowball.  You could also try freezing the vinegar instead of the bicarbonate of soda and sprinkling the bicarbonate of soda onto the vinegar. 

Lava Lamp

You will need:

Alka Seltza tablet

Clean, empty lemonade bottle

Food colouring

Torch

Vegetable oil

Water

Instructions:

  1. A quarter fill the bottle with water.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle up, almost to the top, with vegetable oil.
  3. Add a few drops of food colouring.
  4. Drop half of the Alka Seltza tablet into the bottle.
  5. Turn off the light and shine a torch at the bottle as you watch the lava fizz!

What happened?

You will notice that the oil floats on top of the water – that’s because oil is less dense than water.  The food colouring sinks through the oil and mixes with the water because it is the same density as water.  The Alka Seltza tablet dissolves producing carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide is lighter than water and so it floats to the top bringing some of the coloured water with it.  When the carbon dioxide is released from the coloured water the water becomes heavy again and sinks.  This process repeats until the Alka Seltzer tablet has completely dissolved.

No-pop Balloon

You will need:

Balloon

2 pieces of cellotape about 6cm long

Sharp needle

Instructions:

  1. Blow up the balloon.
  2. Make a cross shape on the balloon by sticking the two pieces of cellotape.
  3. Stick the needle into the centre of the cross and leave it there.

What happened?

The cellotape stops the balloon from popping quickly.  What causes a balloon to pop is not the sudden release of air but the widening of the hole.  As the balloon’s hole gets bigger the balloon rips and pops. The cellotape slows down this process.  You can try experimenting with different sized balloons and different sorts of tape to compare what happens.

Storm

You will need:

Food colouring

Dessert spoon

Pint glass

Teacup

Shaving foam

Water

Instructions:

  1. Half fill the pint glass with water.
  2. Spray shaving cream onto the water until the glass is 3/4 full.
  3. Spread the shaving cream evenly over the top of the water with your finger so that it’s flat.
  4. Half fill the teacup with water and add 10 drops of food colouring.
  5. Add the coloured water, spoonful by spoonful, to the shaving cream and watch a storm form under the foam!

What happened?

Like the shaving foam in the glass, clouds in the sky hold onto water.  When the water gets too heavy for the clouds it falls out (precipitates) as rain, hail or snow. 

Does your child need extra help with science?

TutorMyKids can put you in touch with an experienced science tutor who can help your child to understand tricky concepts and rekindle their enthusiasm.  To talk about your child’s requirements, please call us for a chat.

How-long-should-my-child-have-a-tutor-for?

How long you engage a tutor for will very largely depend upon the outcome or purpose of the tuition and the academic starting point of your child. Tutor My Kids provides tutors in Ely, Cambridge and surrounding areas and work with a huge variety of students from age 6 to 18.

Purpose and outcomes of tuition

There are many reasons that you might choose to engage a tutor to work with your child. It might be because of upcoming exams where you’ll need a GCSE tutor to support your child through the exams, or following a dyslexia or dyscalculia screening or assessment or concerns raised by your child’s school teacher that they’re below expectations for their age. The length of time that you work with a tutor can vary hugely, depending on the reason for seeking help in the meantime.

For GCSE tuition, we tend to suggest that year 10 is a good time to start looking at this. It’s not unusual at Tutor My Kids for all our GCSE tutors in key subjects to be fully booked by September of the year preceding the exams, so it’s good to think about this sooner rather than later. It may be that in fact, your child doesn’t actually need help until year 11, but by getting in touch with a tutor or tutoring company early, you can get on a waiting list early. Equally, if they’re struggling and not keeping up, there may be value in doing some groundwork in year 9 to put them in the best possible position to succeed in years 10 and 11.

You may find out at a parental consultation or end of term report that your child has fallen behind and is below age-related expectations. This means that they’ve not attained the knowledge and skills that would be expected for their year group. There may be many reasons for this: summer-born children can be behind because they’re younger and less mature when they start school, your child may have missed school due to illness when some key areas were taught – this is particularly prevalent with maths and can create maths gaps (take a look at maths gaps – why they occur and the problems they cause). There may also be general or specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, global delay, ADHD, Autistic Spectrum disorders which make it much harder for students to concentrate, process information, retain information and therefore be at or ahead of age-related expectations.

Dyslexia, dyscalculia and other learning difficulties can make it really hard for students to learn at the same rate as other students.

Length of tuition

The length of time that you have a tutor is really largely dependent on their academic starting point. For GCSE tuition, if they’re just a grade off where they need to be, to start in year 11 is usually fine. If they’re well below the level that they need to be in year 11, then earlier intervention is invariably better.

If your child is behind because of gaps, and no learning issues, then tuition usually fills those gaps and no further tuition is needed after that initial period, unless other gaps in learning occur.

Learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia can make it incredibly hard for students to keep up at school and it’s not unusual for attainment to remain below expectations for many years, through no fault of the student, teacher or parents without help. Additional tuition can make it easier for your child to learn and retain the information. One-to-one tuition can make a massive difference in situations such as this, but often this help will be needed for many years in order to get the students the grades they need to pursue their goals.

If you’d like more information on dyslexia or dyscalculia screening, or tuition please contact Tutor My Kids at hello@tutormykids.co.uk or call the office on 01223 858421.

If you’re a teacher who is interested in beoming a tutor in Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket or Huntingdon, please take a look at our tutor page and get in touch by email to arrange an informal chat to discover if it might fit with your present commitments.

Daytime-tuition-the-game-changer-to-make-private-tuition-an-alternative-to-classroom-teaching

Tutoring during the daytime can be the real game-changer when considering if you could earn enough from tuition alone. Tutor My Kids, provide one-to-one tutors in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon and Newmarket for private and school clients. We’re increasingly working with local schools and have opportunities for great teachers to teach some fabulous kids during the daytime.

Daytime work

We support schools in Cambridgeshire with a variety of teaching and tutors during the daytime, during the school day. Students have the benefit of additional teaching from our private tutors in Cambridge, Ely and surrounding areas. Sometimes these sessions of tuition are at local schools and sometimes they are in the parents/carers’ homes.

These students are having extra lessons for a variety of reasons: additional sessions to supplement their learning ahead of exams, teaching outside of the classroom because they’re unable to join mainstream classes. Often this is due to anxiety and occasionally due to behaviour. The interesting thing is that invariably the behaviour stems from poor self esteem, personally or educationally and in the vast majority of cases these children thrive in a one-to-one situation.

All our tutors in Cambridge and surrounding areas, tell us just how rewarding it is to work with these students. We change lives.

Which subjects are most in demand?

As with most of our clients, we have the most need for English, maths and science tutors in Cambridge and Ely. Generally, we recruit qualified teachers, but we also have opportunities for non-teachers who have the right experience and aptitude.

Most students are KS3 and KS4, so an understanding of the GCSE maths, English and science curricula are important. Sometimes there are gaps stemming from the primary curriculum, so primary school teachers who are able to tutor the GCSE subjects are particularly useful. In fact, increasing numbers of our primary tutors are skilling themselves up to meet this need.

What personality traits are needed?

The students we work with need warmth, encouragement and support to bring out the best in them. Some need firm boundaries and expectations set. Sometimes the anxious students are able to engage with the tuition one day but unable to do so another day, so flexibility and understanding is key to keeping the tuition going for a period of weeks or months.

How do I find out more?

Please email Rachel Law to arrange to have an informal chat on the phone to find out if this might suit you.

Are-you-happy-at-work?

As regular readers of my blog will know, catching up with our amazing tutors at Tutor My Kids is one of my favourite parts of my work. See the best bit of my job, if you need any further proof!

Following a chat yesterday with one of our teachers, who is one of our tutors in Ely, I was reminded just how much I enjoy what I do and how much the tutor does too. Which got me pondering as to what it is that makes us happy at work. A little research later showed the following things:

  • Recognition
  • Autonomy
  • Interesting work
  • Flexibility

Recognition is the highest of them all!

In our busy lives, we forget to say thank you to our employees, employers and colleagues. Work gets in the way. In some cultures, e.g. teaching with which I’m most familiar with, there is such a pressure from senior management, governors and parents that much of what is communicated is what is not right and needs changing, rather than what is good and needs celebrating.

At Tutor My Kids, we’re really lucky that our parents and schools really appreciate what we do and especially the extra mile that our tutors go to ensure the very best lessons for our students. This is an old blog, but one of my favourite because it illustrates this point exactly – when was the last time a parent said thank you to you?

So, action for today: Thank someone for doing their job well!

Autonomy

Autonomy – being in control of your own workload is another key one. If you’re feeling stressed at work, it may be down to wanting more control over how you do your work.

One of the key things that I think makes the tuition at Tutor My Kids most effective, is that we trust our teachers to plan the lessons to match the needs of our students perfectly, so our students get the very best tuition and our tutors are using their professional skills and experience to get the best results for their students.

Could you explore being able to tackle the tasks in your job in another way? Are there ways to lose the less important tasks altogether and focus on those that will make a bigger difference?

Interesting work

We all have bits of our work that are less interesting, but research shows that if we are intellectually stimulated that we are happier at work.

With less paperwork to do, our tutors can get on with the business of teaching. One of our amazing tutors was kind enough to offer this testimonial for us:

Working for Tutor My Kids has reminded me why I originally wanted to teach – to make a difference in children’s learning and confidence, and see them progress.  As a senior manager for the last twelve years of my full time career, I got further and further away from the children and deeper and deeper into paperwork about why they weren’t progressing fast enough. Each child is an individual, has different needs and responds to different learning styles. The pupils I work with through TMK all benefit from a plan that I design specifically for them and deliver on a 1:1 basis. I see them progress and gain confidence through small steps – and realise that what I am doing is making that difference. Being a tutor with TMK is so rewarding – I have regained confidence in my teaching ability, working with delightful children and parents who enjoy seeing their children progress.

Sue, one of our heavenly maths tutors in Ely and Cambridge.

Are there bits of your job you can delegate, put off, minimise or remove to enable you to do more of the things that you are good at and love?

Flexibility

In our increasingly, varied and marvellous world, we all have demands upon our time. Maybe you’re a parent, or a carer and have to juggle these aspects of your life with your work?

Being a private tutor for Tutor My Kids is a great alternative to teaching for many teachers who are wanting more flexibility. We have teachers who tutor just an hour a week and those who work throughout the day with our school clients, so they can be at home for their kids after school. And those who tutor after school so they can indulge hobbies such as gardening in the daytime, care for relatives and a whole host of other things.

I read recently about a company that had introduced results-driven work patterns – they allowed their employees to chose their working hours, so long as the work got done. So some empoyees came in early so they could leave early and collect their kids from school, others later because it suited their night owl personalities. Not everyone has work or employers that has this flexibility, however in what ways could you approach your work differently to allow yourself greater flexibility?

Be grateful

Research also shows that we get more of what we focus on – in the same way you suddenly see loads of a car you’re thinking of buying on the roads.

So, focus on the great things in your life and you’ll see more of them.

And if you are a teacher who’s interested in finding out more about tutoring in Cambridge, Ely and surrounding areas, do take a look at our tutors page and get in touch to arrange an informal chat to see if it might be right for you and give you more recognition, autonomy, interesting work and flexibility!

Have a great day!!

Why-a-maths-assessment-is-key-to-getting-the-best-tutor-for-your-child

At Tutor My Kids, tutors in Cambridgeshire, a maths assessment is a usual part of our process of putting in the right tutor for your child. It enables us to assess your child’s abilities, their maths gaps and how they approach their work. The importance of getting the right tutor in terms of personality and approach, who will bring out the best in your child is, in our opinion, an integral part of getting the best tutor for your child.

Whether your child is struggling with the basics or the more advanced work makes a huge difference in finding the best maths tutor for them. A strong mathematician may benefit from a tutor who can really question and stretch them, whilst an underconfident student needs a much more gentle, encouraging approach. Establishing this can make the all the difference between ‘ok’ tutoring and exceptional tutoring.

Establishing where your child is with their learning

How confident a student is with their maths is a key determiner to the kind of tutor who will work best with them. Students who are working on the higher paper and are looking to get the best grades for sixth form, invariably need a supportive approach, but one which challenges them to think strategically to tackle the type of questions at level 8/9. A student who has always thought of themselves as a weak mathematician will need someone who can fill in missing gaps, gently, to raise their confidence and enable them to gain the marks they need to pass their GCSE maths. The new GCSE exams need a particular set of skills – see What’s different about the new GCSEs and what skills are needed?  Whilst dyscalculia is rare, it can be a problem. At Tutor My Kids, we do offer dyscalculia screening. Take a look at How dyscalculia screening helped a parent. So, it’s absolutely key to establish where your child is with their learning. Then we can look at the personality match between the student and the tutor.

Getting the personality match right

At Tutor My Kids, we think that getting the right personality match for your child is absolutely key to great tuition. We always meet you and your child in your home, to get a feel for your home ‘culture’ and your child’s personality. We establish what kind of approach will best support your child. We meet all our tutors at Tutor My Kids face to face and know the kind of students that they most prefer to work with – some love pushing the most able students, others simply adore helping the students that don’t ‘get’ maths. This joint knowledge and personal approach helps us to get the best possible match of tutor for your child and your family.

Putting it all together

This is where the magic happens. We put together your child’s level, approach to learning, confidence and personality and bingo we get a great tutor matched to your child to help and support them in their goals. It’s brilliant when we get this right! Student’s simply fly! See our client testimonials and tutor testimonials for a taste of this.

If you’d like more information on tutors in Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket and Huntingdon, take a look at our For Parents page, email Rachel or call Rachel on 01223 858421.

If you’re a teacher interested in finding out how to join our amazing team and working with really well assessed students, please take a look at our For Tutors page, email Rachel or give her a call on 01223 858421.

 

We’re hiring!

We’re busier than ever, which is a massive testament to the fabulous work our teachers do, tutoring students in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon, St Ives and Huntingdon.

Rewarding work

One of the favourite parts of my job is following up with parents and tutors once tuition is underway because I just love hearing how well the students are progressing, how much the tutors are enjoying it and what a good match there is between tutor and student. Many teachers come to us feeling a bit tired, stressed and unappreciated. It’s a joy to see them restored to their former glory and I think one reason is that the parents that we work with really value their skills, time, commitment and care and say ‘Thank you for teaching my child.’ Have a look at what our tutors say about tutoring through Tutor My Kids.

Flexible work

Only 39% of the UK population look forward to going to work. That’s scary! Work life balance can make a huge difference, and working flexibly is a way to improve your work life balance, fit in exercise and other interests. At Tutor My Kids, our tutors work when and where they want to, some choosing mostly daytime work and some mostly evening, depending on their circumstances.

Curious?

It’s just the start of the new school year, but you may be interested in asking a few questions for the next academic year. You may have just taken early retirement and already feeling a bit bored and wondering if there is a way you can keep your hand in. You may be on maternity leave and considering your options. Whatever your situation, take a look at our tutor page, email Rachel or call Rachel Law on 01223 858421 for an informal chat.

 

 

 

Why-getting-the-right-tutor-is-key-to-successful-tuition

With so many sites advertising tutors on the internet, getting the right tutor can be like finding a needle in a haystack, and getting the right tutor for your child is absolutely key for maximising the success of tutoring. Many sites advertise university students with stunning academic credentials, but are they able to teach? Not everyone is. This is particularly important if you’re looking for tuition at primary age as the methods taught (as you may have already realised) are very different from how you were taught. Experience of the marking schemes of exams is also key to maximising grades. Picking a tutor from a list of pictures and some information is a bit like (I guess) Tinder or Grindr. There are better ways! And last but by no means least, how can you be sure that they are a safe person to be working with your child?

Academic qualifications and teaching experience

I do realise that we have a biased view at Tutor My Kids because it was founded by a teacher and almost all our tutors are qualified teachers. Teachers spend years presenting information in ways which make it easier for the students to learn, adapting until they find an approach that works for each student. Highly qualified students lack the experience to be able to do this and can lack the ability to engage with students who find it hard when they have found it so easy. With the new 9-1 GCSEs and A levels, knowledge of the new curriculum and marking schemes is of particular importance now.

Understanding of the exam marking schemes

Understanding the marking schemes has always been important but with the new GCSE and A levels, it’s even more important to understand the marking schemes and grade boundaries. At Tutor My Kids, our tutors know the new marking schemes and can advise where to write at length and where to write concisely to ensure the maximum number of marks are obtained. Technical vocabulary and language is a key part of the exams now and incorporating the correct terms can make a noticeable difference to the number of marks awarded. Applying subject knowledge to a problem is a new facet of the exams too, so students need to understand their subjects very well. They also need to be able to apply this knowledge to other contexts and problems.

Attitude, Rapport and Trust

The attitude of the tutor and the rapport that they build with your child is probably the most important factor that affects the success of the tuition. At Tutor My Kids, we’re all driven by wanting to help; for us and our tutors, money is not our or their primary motivator at all, it’s a real desire to make a difference. Because we’re small and because of the processes we go through before we start tuition, we get exceptionally good matches with our students and tutors – look at our testimonials and tutor testimonials for a feel. Kids find it hard to ask questions in class, so it is so important that they’re working with someone they trust and have a good rapport with.

Safeguarding

As teachers, safeguarding is rather hard-wired into us. At Tutor My Kids, all our teachers have a current enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service Check). This means that any criminal convictions, spent or not, are disclosed to judge if they are safe to work with children or vulnerable adults. We also take up recent references which include any questions about any safeguarding concerns. For our teachers, we’re also able to check their qualified teacher status (QTS) and ensure that they’ve not been ‘struck off’. We are as thorough as we can be in preventing unsuitable and unsafe tutors from tutoring children.

Get in touch

We love welcoming teachers into our happy team, if you’re interested in becoming a tutor, please take a look at our tutor page, and Are-you-a-teacher-who-has-forgotten-what-a-joy-teaching-is.  For information on finding a tutor, please see our parents page, email Rachel or call Rachel Law on 01223 858123.

 

Can-you-unpick-poetry?

If you’re a teacher who can help unpick poetry, we’d love to hear from you.

With the new English Literature and Language exams we’ve got huge demand for GCSE English tutors in Ely, Cambridge, St Ives, Huntingdon and Newmarket who can simplify Shakespeare,  de-mystify Dickens, Klarify Keats (my alliteration fails me with Keats!) and unpick poetry.

We’d love to hear from you.

Do take a look at our For Tutors page, one of our recent blogs – Are you a teacher who’s forgotten what a joy teaching is? To find out what some of our tutors think of working as a Tutor My Kids tutor, take a look at their stories. For an informal chat, please email Rachel Law or call her on 01223 858421.

Can-you-keep-up-with-Keats

Private tutor Cambridge

If you’re a teacher who can help kids Klarify (sorry!) Keats, we’d love to hear from you.

With the new English Literature and Language exams we’ve got huge demand for GCSE English tutors in Ely, Cambridge, St Ives, Huntingdon and Newmarket who can simplify Shakespeare,  de-mystify Dickens and untangle Keats (my alliteration fails me with Keats!).

We’d love to hear from you.

Do take a look at our For Tutors page, one of our recent blogs – Are you a teacher who’s forgotten what a joy teaching is? To find out what some of our tutors think of working as a Tutor My Kids tutor, take a look at their stories. For an informal chat, please email Rachel Law or call her on 01223 858421.

 

Can-you-simplify-Shakespeare?

With the new English Literature and Language exams we’ve got huge demand for GCSE English tutors who can simplify Shakespeare,  de-mystify Dickens and untangle Keats (my alliteration fails me with Keats!).

We’d love to hear from you.

Do take a look at our For Tutors page, one of our recent blogs – Are you a teacher who’s forgotten what a joy teaching is? To find out what some of our tutors think of working as a Tutor My Kids tutor, take a look at their stories. For an informal chat, please email Rachel Law or call her on 01223 858421.