Monthly Archives: Jun 2017

Making indicators

It is really easy to make your own indicators to show if a chemical is an acid, neutral or alkali. This experiment can be done without a Science lab, and can be adapted to be a sensory experience as well.

You will need:

beetroot, red cabbage and/or blackberries. Boiling water. A range of acids/alkalis to test.

To make the indicator, chop up your beetroot etc into small cubes. Add to boiling water and let stand until the colour has come out into the water.  Remove the lumps, preferably by filtering (practice those practical skills) and let the coloured liquid cool.

You can then add this to a range of acids/alkalis and look for the colour change. These work best if they are colourless and can include:

acid – lemon juice, vinegar, lemonade

alkali – bicarbonate of soda, glass cleaner

To make this a more sensory experience, encourage students to smell each of the chemicals that are being used. They can taste the acids, before they add a bit of their indicator to observe the colour change.

You can make all three indicators and then compare results, which do students think is the best? Can they think of any applications for this?


Leave a comment

Filed under School, Science

What does sewing mean to me

This is my response to the question posed by Naomi – What does sewing mean to you?


I sew because I am (was) a Guide. This is the first sewing project I really undertook, although it is not (quite) all my own work. It was my Grandad’s army blanket – my sister has the matching pair – and my Nan sewed on the first 20 or so badges. I have had it since the age of ten, and now, at 39, it is ‘finished’. Well, it’s never quite finished, but I think it’s full. Over the years I have sewed on badges that have been swapped at local, national an international levels, those that I have bought at camps or events or places I have visited, and those that have belong to other people. It started with a ring of badges around the edge, and has worked it’s way to the middle, with many badges having been re-positioned over the years. It is a talking point on camp, a conversation starter as we compare badges, and a gigantic memory of fun times with others. It was on my bed when I was at university, as a way of staying connected to home.

My stitches have definitely improved over the years!


As you can see, this piece was completed in the summer of 1996. I was 18, and had just started work on my Queen’s Guide Award. One of the sections required that I started a new personal skill, and developed it. My Queen’s Guide Advisor enjoyed cross stitch, and suggested this was something that I could do. I liked the poem, and designed the whole piece. Each of the images around the edge mean something and are related to that summer – Orchestra tour, first aider on Brownie pack holiday, camping with PHAB, a trip to Dominican republic and a summer romance. The mice also have a meaning, but I cannot recall (or find the piece of paper that explains it, which I thought was attached to the back. It’s probably inside the frame…). There’s a bee amongst the flowers, and finally my initials and a reminder it was for my Queen’s Guide.


I completed a couple of large scale kits during my time at University, and then life as a teacher got in the way. About five years ago, I started taking regualar train journeys with a friend. Some days we’d sit and chat, other days we’d gaze out of the window, but most days we’d do both, which meant reading was out of the question. I found instead a small cross stitch kit that I had, and tucked that into my bag. I can sew and chat at the same time, and it feels like I’m keeping busy. This moved on to sewing on the train regardless of who I was (or wasn’t) with; it’s a good conversation starter, if that is what you are after. I find that stitching helps me to switch off, you have to be concentrating or else it all goes wrong, and feel a sense of achievement when I finish, as I have never been particularly ‘arty’. Once framed though, these cross stitches become art, and are something to be proud of.


Filed under Other than school