Micro LEDs and Motion


Bruce Yeanyby: Bruce Yeany

The micro LED lights  known as Rave lights have become popular with students at dances and parties.   With the  lights turned down, kids have these lights on their hands or in gloves, and the results are totally awesome when they wave their hands around.  Watching this phenomenon takes me back to the era of the disco ball and laser light shows.  It became apparent to me that these little lights would be fantastic when incorporated into the study of motion. Using these lights and a digital camera, it would be fairly easy to record the motion of moving objects for closer study.  Rolling, spinning , swinging, falling, projectile motion, etc. can all be captured using a camera and these little lights.

Can you figure out how these were done?

Micro LEDs and Motion

Moving Lights

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Learning by Degrees: Demonstrating Thermal Expansion


Jonathan Smithby: Jonathan Smith

I’m a big fan of applied science.  Whenever possible, I like my labs and demos in my Physical Science classes to be as “real-life” as I can make them.  One rich area for science application is the topic of thermal expansion of solids.  Once students understand the underlying principles of why solids expand as they warm, I can choose from a plethora of great examples to teach the concept.

Over the years I have put together a walk-around laboratory experience where students can see the concept of thermal expansion of solids in action.  Of course I have the standard bi-metallic strip and ball and ring demos, but I also include thermostats, a taken apart toaster, and my absolute favorite, the Large Scale Thermal Expansion Apparatus from Educational Innovations.

This demonstration dramatically shows the effect of temperature change on standard household plumbing. The apparatus comes as a set of 4 segments of plastic pipe with easy twist-connectors.  One end of the apparatus fits a standard plastic funnel; the other has a downward turned drain spout.  One of the segments has a “foot” attached to it, which allows the funnel end to be firmly clamped to a table or counter top.  demonstrating Thermal Expansion

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