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Get Festive with LaBLiFe

Get Festive with LaBLiFe

Get ready to deck the halls and light up the minds of your students!

We asked you to share with us your creative and festive classroom ideas with us.

Whether it’s a dazzling experiment with a holiday twist, a lesson plan that sparkles with seasonal magic, or a classroom décor idea that spreads cheer, we want to hear from you!

Thank you for your fantastic submissions.

Congratulations to Sarah Peak, Chemistry Technician at Beneden School, a bundle of LaBLiFe merchandise, including our infamous lab coat patch, T-shirt, button badges and a pin badge will be on its way to you!

Winning Festive Twist: The Silver Mirror Test with Tollens’ Reagent by Sarah Peak

“Our Year 12 students are doing the Tollens silver mirror test, so I have brought in some 6cm glass baubles to add a Christmas element. I have used the RSC glucose method and scaled it down by 5 in order to have the quantity for the volume of the bauble I bought.”

You will need:

  • Splash-Proof Goggles
  • Disposable Nitrile Gloves
  • 6cm Glass Bauble
  • Rubber Stopper to Fit the Bauble
  • Beaker 100cm3
  • Measuring Cylinders 10cm3, 50cm3
  • Dropping pipettes
  • Glass rod
  • Access to a Fume Cupboard
  • Silver Nitrate 0.1M
  • Potassium Hydroxide 0.8M
  • Glucose Solution (2.2g glucose per 50cm3 purified water)
  • Ammonia


  1. Place 30cm3 silver nitrate solution in a beaker
  2. Working in a fume cupboard, add conc. Ammonia drop by drop and stir until a brown precipitate appears. Keep adding the ammonia drop by drop until the precipitate re-dissolves to give a clear, colourless solution.  Do this step carefully as you will need less than 1cm3 of ammonia in total.  This solution then contains the colourless complex ion [Ag(NH3)2]+(aq)
  3. Add 15cm3 of the potassium hydroxide solution. A dark brown precipitate of silver(I) oxide will form
  4. Add more ammonia solution drop by drop until this re-dissolves to give a clear, colourless solution. Again, do this carefully as you will only need to use around 1cm3.  This solution is known as Tollens’ reagent.
  5. Remove the top of your bauble and check you have a stopper that fits the opening. It needs to fit snugly but you need to be careful not to force it in too far, breaking the glass.  Pour your solution into the bauble.
  6. Measure out and add 2.5cm3 of glucose solution to your bauble. Stopper the bauble and swirl the solution so the whole inner surface is wetted.  The solution will turn brown.  Continue swirling until a mirror forms.  This should take around 2 minutes.
  7. Wash the solution down the sink and rinse the bauble and your glassware thoroughly several times.
  8. When the bauble is completely dry, the top can be put back on and your bauble hung on the Christmas tree in the science atrium!

Important safety precautions:

  • Wear splash-proof goggles and disposable nitrile gloves
  • DO NOT prepare the solution in advance. It is likely to explode on standing.
  • Silver Nitrate – Irritant to the skin and eyes
  • Potassium Hydroxide – Corrosive to the skin and eyes
  • Ammonia – Severely corrosive to the skin and eyes, may cause respiratory irritation, dangerous for the environment
  • Rinse out all beakers of solution and the inside of the baubles immediately after use and within 30 minutes of mixing the solutions. This is to avoid any chance of the formation of a deposit of silver fulminate, a dangerously explosive substance.  Make sure the baubles are rinsed out thoroughly several times and stand them to dry before putting the tops back on.
  • The baubles are made of thin glass. Be careful putting the stopper in them as the glass can break.

Highly commended:

Lorraine Freeman’s – Science Club activity (KS3) – a LaBLiFe patch is on its way to you!

Twas the night before Christmas and all around the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse but there was a fight in Santa’s workshop!
It’s that time of year, all the elves have been very stressed, there is tension in the workshop, Santa has been stressed with his upcoming flight around the world delivering toys singlehandedly, one of the reindeers has a bad cold and Mrs. Claus has gone to her mothers, so there won’t even be Christmas dinner when he gets back!!
Finally tensions boiled over and a fight broke out!! As elves ran in all directions, Santa lashed out but which elf got a bloody nose?
No witnesses have come forward as all the elves are in hiding, and as we know Mrs. Claus is spending the holidays with her elderly mother.
Using blood spatter techniques can you solve the puzzle, Which elf did Santa hit?

  1. Olaf, a happy go lucky elf, small even by elf standards, standing at only 50cm, however at 74 he is still very young and may grow.
  2. Gellan, boisterous and opinionated, rosy red cheeks, a little chunkier than his twin brother Schinkel. Height 61cm.
  3. Schinkel, a skinny elf with large ears and a friendly smile, younger than his twin by two minutes, but taller by 2cm.
  4. Ruidi, the gentle giant of the workshop, 160cm tall and well over general elf height, possibly a genetic disorder such as Marfan’s syndrome, but no opportunity for genetic testing at the North Pole.

Four different elves are listed with their unusual characteristics, and blood splat samples are given, students then drop blood (red ink) from different heights to establish what height the sample spatter came from so determining the individual elf. This is an old activity, comparing blood spatter, I just rewrote it last year to make it an amusing Christmas activity.


Thanks everyone, for sharing with us your festive twists and ideas!

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