About Mrs.Binnie

Support for Learning/Chemistry Teacher at Preston Lodge High School

S3 biology students ex-cell…

S3 Standard Grade Biology pupils have recently been learning about cells as part of their studies. Class teachers Miss Macauley and Mrs Binnie and visiting teacher, Mr Scott, set the pupils a challenge of demonstrating what they know about cells by making a model of an animal or plant cell for homework.

The pupils concerned are a creative bunch but they ex-celled (see what we did there) in showing off their knowledge and demonstrating their creativity too. House points were up for grabs in this particular activity and there was more than just pride at stake.

Some of the cell models can be seen below…

In 1st Place, winning points for GRANGE, was CIARA HARVIE

In 2nd place, also winning points for GRANGE was LAURA O’BRIEN

In 3rd place, shy and retiring Amy from Seton was reluctant to appear on camera but she still secured house points for the reds.

Here are some of the class efforts – we are certain everyone will enjoy their creativity. We should point out also that the winners were selected by the class through a secret ballot – with each pupil peer reviewing the models against success criteria agreed before the task was set.


Dr Voge’s Equatorial enigma…

Dr Voge is travelling by ship from south of the equator to the north.

He has a nice little second class cabin which has a bathroom, but no window.


Dr Voge has no compass or any other scientific instruments.

Yet, without leaving his room or talking with anyone, Dr Voge knew exactly when the ship crossed the equator.

We all know how clever he is – but how did he know?

Answers on a postcard…


Not so much a science teaser…

More of a corny Chemistry joke befitting of other departments!

Surely something to register on the Whatcott Scale, perhaps even the Kiernanometer…

A chloride ion steals a sodium’s electron.

Sodium calls the police and reports his electron stolen.

The policeman asks “Are you sure?”

Sodium yells “Yes, I’m positive!”

Toxic problem…

There is a chemical that is very dangerous. If this chemical is inhaled, it can be fatal. Under certain conditions, contact with the skin may cause a burn. However, once a person’s body becomes dependant upon this chemical, prolonged separation will almost certainly cause death. Although scientists are well aware of this chemical and it is found in nearly every drinking source, nothing is being done to try to eliminate it…

But what is this chemical?

A race to the bottom…

A solid block of iron and an equally heavy iron sphere are released from the top of a slope.

Assuming that the friction from the slope has a negligible effect on the velocity of the block and the sphere, which of the two will get to the bottom first?



Puzzle Tower

Suppose you have an infinite number of bricks and no cement or another material to connect the bricks to each other. You would like to build a tower like the one in the figure. How many bricks do you need in order to build a tower in which the highest brick is shifted three bricks with respect to the lowest brick?

7 day count down!

The Chemistry Standard Grade exam is on Thursday May 1st – exactly 7 days from now!

All pupils should already be working hard on their self-revision – and bringing in any questions or problems or requests into class during the day, so that teachers can advise or assist.

Please remember that there are a number of resources available to you in making your revision rigorous, varied and worthwhile. These include:

  • Past Papers
  • Revision guides
  • Bitesize books and website (www.bbc.co.uk)
  • Teacher worksheets
  • Evans Chemweb (see link from here)
  • Peer revision – get together with a classmate and test (and learn from) each other!
  • After school revision (the Wednesday 3.45pm classes have run all term)

Good luck with your revision! Remember the short term pain working at home for this coming month will be worth it – your exam marks will reflect your effort in revising!

An Archimedes riddle…

Archimedes was no slouch! The Greek mathematician was also a physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer in his spare time!

He is most well known for his “Eureka moment”…

The most commonly related anecdote about Archimedes tells how he invented a method for measuring the volume of an object with an irregular shape. According to Vitruvius, a new crown in the shape of a laurel wreath had been made for King Hiero II and Archimedes was asked to determine whether it was of solid gold – or whether silver had been added by a dishonest goldsmith. Archimedes had to solve the problem without damaging the crown, so he could not melt it down in order to measure its density as a cube (which would have been the simplest solution).

While taking a bath, he noticed that the level of the water rose as he got in. He realised that this effect could be used to determine the volume of the crown. For practical purposes water is incompressible, so the crown would displace an amount of water equal to its own volume. By dividing the weight of the crown by the volume of water displaced, its density could be obtained.

In other words, the density of the crown would be lower if cheaper and less dense metals had been added…

Archimedes then took to the streets naked  (so excited by his discovery that he had forgotten to dress!)  crying “Eureka!” (“I have found it!”)

So what is your Archimedes Riddle?

You are sitting in a rubber boat in a swimming pool. In the boat lies a stone. You throw this stone from the boat into the pool. Will the water level in the pool rise or drop?

Over to you…