Experimenting with Our Electricity Kit

donna_giachettiBy:  Donna Giachetti

A Lesson on Electricity… with Elmo

Even babies understand the difference between ON and OFF.  After mastering peek-a-boo, turning a switch on and off is one of a toddler’s favorite games.  What will happen if I press here?  Where did that light come from?  Who made that noise?  Something nearly always happens when a button is pushed, and it leaves children wanting to know more.  At least that’s how it went in my house.  My son wasn’t satisfied squeezing Tickle Me Elmo’s belly to hear the little guy giggle.  He soon figured out how to switch Elmo on-off-on-off so rapidly that the poor fuzzball appeared to have a bad case of the hiccups.

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KenByrneby: Ken Byrne

How many people have been struck by meteorites falling from the sky? The fact of the matter is that we all have been…repeatedly! While injuries from fallen meteorites of significant size are extremely rare, falling all arMicrometeoriteound  us and onto us each day are the meteorites smallest siblings, micrometeorites. Read the rest of this entry »

20 Musts for Every Elementary (Science) Teacher

Tami O'Connorby: Tami O’Connor

Okay, so you’re a new (or not-so-new) elementary teacher, and you need to teach science.  Some teachers feel apprehensive when they think they have to teach science, but let me assure you, it’s the easiest subject to teach in elementary school. Why? Because the kids are totally into it!  Children are born with that natural curiosity.  As infants, everything goes into their mouths to taste, feel and discover their surroundings.  It’s only when we kill this curiosity that kids begin to dislike or even fear science class.  Here are 20 easy tips for all elementary teachers that will foster your students’ love of science.

Elementary Science Teachers, Take Note!

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P1010735 2by: Evan Jones


The SpillNot

How the SpillNot works:

When you hold a cup of juice while walking, the juice tends to spill because the cup accelerates forward (ax, FIG.1, green arrow) and backward (-ax) with each step. The juice tips in response to that acceleration, and may spill over the rim of the cup. The Spill Not automatically tips the cup so that its top stays parallel to the juice surface (FIG.2). For example, if the juice surface tips to 30 deg, but the cup stays horizontal, the juice could spill. But if the cup also tips to 30 deg, we get no spill! Note that there are only 2 forces on each portion m of juice…the weight mg down, and the buoyancy force Fb of the juice pushing at a right angle to the surface. These two forces result in a horizontal accelerating force ma (in red). We see from FIG.1 that





Experiment 1. Build a Circular Carnival Ride Read the rest of this entry »

Gyrocopter Lesson

Tami O'Connorby: Tami O’Connor

As an elementary and middle school teacher and Girl Scout leader, I had a bag of tricks that I dug into frequently…  One of my favorites was the gyrocopter.  I always kept a template in my files and when teaching about air, friction, forces symmetry or flight, out it came.  It was simple enough for kindergarten students to build, yet complex enough to hold the attention of eighth graders as we discussed principles of drag, the characteristics of flight or even just isolating variables in an experiment.

Nearly 400 years before the invention of the helicopter, Leonardo da Vinci sketched out a machine designed to compress air in order to obtain flight.  When Igor Sikorsky designed the first successful helicopter in the late 1930’s, da Vinci’s spinning wing was his inspiration.

Today, you can easily build gyrocopters with your students to explore different designs and variables.

How Does It Work?

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