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  1. Peter Sigsworth

    Edexcel exam board Algal Balls

    Tips to be successful with Algal Balls. I find there are five (six) things you need to get right to a get a result in an average double lesson: 1. The algae need to be as concentrated and as large a volume as possible - so you have to culture them up, it's no good just using the supplied stock...
  2. Peter Sigsworth

    Restrictions on on-line ordering of chemicals

    Why has a certain well know school supplier restricted on-line ordering of chemicals? I haven't used this supplier for a while due to their prices but when I saw bromine at a very competitive price, I opened my account to make an order only to find I couldn't as they have stopped all on-line...
  3. Peter Sigsworth

    MRS agar - what is it, what is it used for, what are the issues?

    I'm told if you want to grow yoghurt bacteria on agar plates you have to use MRS (de Mann, Rogosa and Sharpe) agar, not nutrient agar. I made some MRS agar plates last week and got the kids to streak them with normal plain yoghurt (diluted in sterile water) - didn't work very well, poor growth...
  4. Peter Sigsworth

    Algal balls

    This year's batch of balls half done - ready for Wednesday
  5. Peter Sigsworth

    The most dangerous toy ever

    Just looking through radioactivity kits and came across an historical toy from the 1950s The Gilbert u-238 atomic energy lab Sold as a toy for children in the USA in the 1950s. Kit contains the following radioactive sources: Four glass jars containing natural uranium-bearing (U-238) ore...
  6. Peter Sigsworth

    Bromine Ampoules - no longer available?

    Has anyone had trouble sourcing bromine in 1ml ampoules? It appears that most supplies no longer stock them. Don't fancy buying a risky 100ml in a single bottle. Anybody know where we can get them?
  7. Peter Sigsworth

    Particle theory - a different way

    I've been setting up the old experiment where the students mix known volumes of alcohol and water to get a final volume less than expected providing evidence for the particulate nature of matter.. I came across this version which some of you may be familar with, but it is shows this in a much...
  8. Peter Sigsworth

    Quality of chemical supplies

    I wonder if it is just me but have any of you noticed a decline in the purity/quality of chemicals we are being supplied - without naming suppliers, have you any examples such as mine: bromothymol blue which didn't change colour Completely inert H2O2 Soluble starch which isn't soluble. What do...
  9. Peter Sigsworth

    SYC Secure Your Chemicals

    Just came across this (attached) in an unrelated thread - ( If you want to discuss put all your comments on this thread so others can pick up what is said
  10. Peter Sigsworth

    Deputy head attempting to bully

    Here's one for you all - I am monthly tested for COVID antibodies (as part of the Oxford Uni/ONS research scheme) - the last two tests show me having no COVID antibodies in my blood. My booster isn't due until after 2nd Nov. We have a large number of students testing positive for COVID 20% + at...
  11. Peter Sigsworth

    SciChem deliveries and billing for things that haven't arrived

    Is anyone else having problems with SciChem - as they are taking ages to deliver and sending demands for payment when the stuff hasn't even arrived yet. I know they have just been taken over by Inivos- so must be trying to set up new protocols?
  12. Peter Sigsworth

    Using face mask strings to saw through plastic chairs

    There seems to be a it of a trend at the moment for pupils to cause damage to plastic chairs by using the strings from disposable masks as saws to cut through plastic. Be vigilant and pass to your colleagues. The little darlings.
  13. Peter Sigsworth

    Great to be appreciated when Biology goes well

    Here is an email from a non-biologist teacher thanking us for doing a great job Algal balls Iodine stained variegated geranium - In dark, in light and original unstained.
  14. Peter Sigsworth

    ISAN-8 COVID disinfectant

    Has anyone come across this lot: Looks too good to be true - anyone had any experience with these products
  15. Peter Sigsworth

    How soluble is soluble starch?

    Just coming to the end of my 'soluble starch' which I make up as 2g dissolved in 100ml distilled water heated to produce a clear liquid. I use this in amylase practicals and it gives a clear (in both meanings of the word) complete end result. Made up some 2% starch today using the same recipe...
  16. Peter Sigsworth

    Request to only work when children and staff are not at school

    What's your views on this. I am nearer 70 than 60 male and overweight. The latest guidance from the governement over lockdown 2 states: 'If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronovirus. You: should be especially careful to follow the...
  17. Peter Sigsworth

    LabLogger user group

    The LabLogger user group is now up and running with approaching 30 members already.
  18. Peter Sigsworth

    Mobile demonstration teacher bench - all that use gas cylinders unsafe to use in schools (according to CLEAPSS)

    Do any of you use these? We need to source one for each of our labs because it looks like we are going to have to demonstrate nearly all practicals. Here is an example of what we are looking at made by a reputable company, Irwin: To our shock and dismay CLEAPSS say that 'there are no mobile...
  19. Peter Sigsworth

    LabLogger user group poll

    If enough people vote for it. I'll set up a user group Sorry,@Hannah B - I had to resubmit to correct the typos so you'll have to vote again LabLogger is an online system designed to help science departments to manage their labs, equipment and experiments. It is used by technicians and teachers...