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Last week during Natural Sciences our Grade 8s were learning about elements and compounds and being introduced to chemical bonds and chemical reactions. We used simple electrolysis and heating to demonstrate some decomposition reactions like this one showing the thermal decomposition of potassium permanganate.

Using a bunsen burner to heat potassium permanganate (KMnO4) results in a chemical reaction that produces potassium hypomanganate, manganese(IV) oxide and oxygen gas. A test for oxygen gas is done using a glowing splint. The glowing splint ignites in the test tube in the presence of a high concentration of oxygen. 

(video credit to Dr de Roo)

The Natural, Life and Physical Sciences subjects have strong practical contexts which we embrace and encourage at Pinelands High School. We have a dedicated lab technician who ensures that lab work enhances learning, is innovative, fun and done more and more regularly.

Physical Sciences in Action

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Grade 12 Physical Sciences students investigating the effect of concentration on reaction rate using the reaction between sodium thiosulphate and hydrochloric acid.

When hydrochloric acid is added to a clear solution of sodium thiosulphate, one of the products formed is yellow sulphur. Sulphur turns the clear solution cloudy. If a piece of paper with a cross marked on it is placed under the reaction flask, the time taken for the cross to disappear can be used to calculate the rate of the reaction. The experiment is repeated with different concentrations of sodium thiosulphate solution. This experiment complements theoretical teaching done in class and forms part of each student's school-based assessment mark.



Grade 11 Science and Innovation Fair

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A Science and Innovation Fair by our Grade 11 Students will be held in the Kent Hall on Thursday 2 May 2019.

Following on from the Pinelands High School Science Fair, projects are chosen to attend the Regional Eskom Expo for Young Scientists in Cape Town.  Each year a number of projects from Pinelands High School are then chosen to attend the International Science Fair in Johannesburg.  

Erica Verticillata Flowering in our Biodiversity Garden

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In 2018 Pinelands High School created a Biodiversity Garden. One of the areas of the garden is the 'Garden of Extinction', showcasing locally indigenous plants on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  Erica verticillata is a species of Erica that was naturally restricted to the city of Cape Town but is now classified as Extinct in the Wild. Here you can see a plant of this beautiful species that we planted last year in our garden of extinction finally starting to flower after a long dry summer (its flowering period is usually from January to March). If you would like to read more about this beautiful species, you can go to this link:

An ongoing aspect of the Life Sciences curriculum is to study the human impact on biodiversity and the natural environment. The Garden of Extinction is a tangible way to illustrate the effect we have on biodiversity. The Biodiversity Garden was made possible through the generous support of the Rowland and Leta Hill Trust.  


Don't Miss the Singers' Soirée - Wed 17 April

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The Singers' Soirée is an evening of song, performed by the Pinelands High School vocal students, choir and staff.  The evening will start at 18h00 in the Kent Hall Foyer on Wednesday 17 April.

The Soirée promises to be filled with light Classical Music and Musical Theatre, including solos and duets.