Caving Conundrum - Science Lesson & Activity

Caving Conundrum - Science Lesson & Activity
Caving Conundrum Investigation - Science Lesson & Activity

Based on a mock newspaper report about a Chemistry teacher that nearly dies whilst caving.  Due to the wide-ranging nature of this lesson - it proves ideal to use as a Science Week activity or project.  

Pupils use/develop their understanding of chemical reactions and reaction rates to find out what may have nearly killed Mr Calvin Seum!   The article is full of leads for pupils to identify and follow in their quest to solve the conundrum.

The challenge requires pupils to work well in a team, conduct targeted research, organise classroom experiments, detail relevant chemical equations and deduce the 'scientific logic' behind a phenomenon called 'Foul Air'.  It will lead them to explore and analyse acid rain formation and effects.

Our PowerPoint presentations cover targeted scientific criteria but also develop thinking skills, communication skills and problem solving techniques. The teacher facilitates the lesson(s) using the onscreen presentation, supported by a detailed teacher guide.   If your aim is to encourage thinking skills rather than rote learning and reward the process of problem solving rather than the correct answer alone - this presentation saves you time in planning and preparation.

Extension Activity - Practical Investigation 

The practical activity can be carried out using standard labware to complete the Marble Chip investigation. However, it can also be a fantastic way to introduce MicroScience - drastically reducing the experimental time it commonly takes to complete the investigation, reducing time wasted in movement around the lab and reducing the amount of chemical wastage.

Presentation Options:

Download PDF Version - £9.99  


Teacher Guide, Lesson Summary & Suggested Answers
Photocopiable Student Worksheets to print out

Static Full Colour Screen Shots to project using a PC projector

PowerPoint Version - Posted on a DVD - £14.95 + Free Postage


Teacher Guide, Lesson Summary & Suggested Answers
Photocopiable Student Worksheets to print out
Full Colour Animated Screens to project using a PC projector
You can also edit the PowerPoint screens as required*

Presented on a DVD within a case

Online Quiz/Test Options:

Access for 30 Pupils - £3.00
We will send you a password to issue to your students and a school code to use within a user name each player creates.  It will enable them to access the quiz, gain immediate feedback about their answers and award a score at the end.

Access for 100 People + Email Reports - £15.00

We ask that you email us a list of the names** you wish to register from Excel. 
We create login details for each student listed and email them to the school within 5 working days.
When your students take the quiz - they receive the immediate feedback as in the basic quiz and we send a report detailing their scores to the school within 5 working days.  The report also shows the which questions they submitted a correct answer for and which they did not.  Marking made easy! 

Please note:  This option allows your school to receive 5 reports within a year of registration.

* A registered copy of PowerPoint is required.  We recommend that you edit a copy of the original presentation received.
**  Names must be submitted at one time.  Subsequent lists will be charged


Activity Overview:

You can use the presentation to select the activities best suited to your students and build your ideal lesson

Activity 1: Looking for Clues.

Read a newspaper report with your students - from which they need to identify the clues to follow up and research.  There are a multitude of clues - some easy to identify whilst others require higher levels of thinking.

Activity 2:  Targeted Research

If you have online access, students can follow their own research paths from the clues identified, but if not - we include relevant information sheets to print out as hints and tips.  Once the information has been found and processed - your students can complete a quiz in order to categorise the information and demonstrate their level of comprehension.

Activity 3: Preliminary Practical Investigations

Students can carry out a range of experiments to make observations and start to deduce the chemistry behind the deadly threat.  Experiments are easy to set up using existing labware or you can opt to purchase the Micro Chemistry kits to make it a unique experience.   Using them make this activity even easier to deliver whilst saving money on consumable chemicals.  But, most importantly - the new equipment engages pupils on an individual level and makes the science practical even more 'fun'.

Activity 4:  Working a Theory

Mr Seum (the near victim) has constructed a flow chart to explain his own theory about what happened in the caves and the cause of the danger.  Can your students use the clues to complete the same logic chart?  It is a quick but challenging activity - to help guide pupils' thinking in order to move on to higher level challenges if relevant.

Activity 5:  Deeper Investigations

The Marble Chip investigation is given new life by the scenario that has unfolded beforehand.  It makes it a relevant - pupils want to apply their practical and analytical skills in order to solve the mystery.  Students should work in pairs or teams to test effects of changing surface area, concentration and temperature - in order to determine if this chemical reaction with the cave walls and floor could have been the cause of the symptoms Mr Seum experienced.  Is the theory correct - or is Mr Seum missing something?  This part of the challenge allows you to include an assessed investigation if you wish - or formally develop experimental skills.

Activity 6: Scientific Explanations

Students will need to explain each part of a completed flowchart outlining the stages that led to Mr Seum's near death.  They will be given formulae and equations to use, but to be able to prove or disprove the theory will require students to demonstrate a deep understanding of the chemical reactions involved and the causes of acid rain.

Once complete, they can face the final quiz - a conclusion for the entire activity that reveals the truth.

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