Lab and Dig Site


On Friday we ended up in the lab for the whole day. Here we worked with Eirik Krogstad and Ian. The work started with us drying our samples in an oven for an hour. While that was taking place we measured out a recipe of flux and oxidizer (flux material was made of Lithium Borates and Lithium Bromide. Oxidizer was Ammonium Nitrate). The flux is used to bind the the sample and prepare it for fluxer (Fluxer used to prepare samples for Xray Fluorescence analysis).

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Our sample was mixed with the recipe to create a material that would be inserted into a “fluxer” instrument. Here the mixture would be melted into a disc which could be used in a lab XRF. Before we could do this, we had to grind the samples into fine powder. We used a SPEX  mixer/miller. The sample was placed into a tungsten carbide mixing vial and then grinded down to a powder. There was a lot more to the procedure, but for this entry I’ll only cover the basics. In the fluxer the mixture would be melted at high temperatures. The eventual product was a clear disc that would be placed in the XRF unit for analysis. DSC_0216


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Our research was based on the assumption that we would see an elemental change among the strata. Which we could plot in detail through use of the XRF. Our mentor hoped we would find a pattern between layers and a correlation to the pre-service teacher’s results.  I’m really trying to write this as simple as possible. I will post our presentation at a later date. We didn’t finish all our samples and had to come back on Monday to complete them. I think one of the most important things I’m learning is that there are fun and not so fun jobs (sound like a kid here), but the bottom line is you have to follow all the steps to reach a conclusion. Something many students would rather not do and skip steps. Also you need to work as a team, one person can’t do everything and it’s important that you work together to seek an answer. Collaboration! Nothing new about this, very similar to my other experiences.  

The weekend came upon us a bit too fast since we had not finished every thing. On Saturday we took a tour of the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility in Ellensberg WA and the Gingko Petrified Forest. The wind farm was very interesting, we had a chance to go inside the tower of one of the wind turbines. The improvement on the wind power is amazing. There was hardly any noise from the turbines, a definite improvement on the technology. One the most amazing things was the view of the cascades and Mount Rainier.

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The Gingko forest had some interesting species.


Sunday morning we went to the dig site to help out for a little while. It was really interesting learning how to properly dig and wash the soil. We ended up staying for a few hours and leaving the site later in the morning. DSC_0367DSC_0368


The end of the day was ours to do whatever we wanted.  To relax a group of teachers went boating on the Columbia River and it was great. We went swimming and boating on the river for about two hours. This ended the weekend and another week was upon us. 7 days down and 7 more to go. Friday the 26th we would leave so this was the last week. So the next entries would be the last.


Keep an eye on the blog for conclusion to our Siemens experience.


About rippie77

Science Teacher at Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh NC.

Posted on July 23, 2013, in Class Ideas, Labs, Siemens Stars, Teacher Ideas, Teacher Workshop and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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