UV Sensitive Putty: Wonder and Curiosity in a Can

Electricity from Mud?! Educational Innovations Blogby Nancy Foote

It’s always fun to put a new item on the curiosity table to see how my students will react.  The newest addition was Arctic Flare UV Sensitive Putty, a gift from our friends at Educational Innovations.

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Teaching Electric Circuitry with the Electri-Putty Kit

linda-dunnavant-headshot-for-blogMy Electrical Secret

by Linda Dunnavant

I have a dirty little secret.  As a teacher, I have been asked to teach concepts that I don’t personally understand very well.  Electricity is one of those topics for me.

When I was a new teacher, I remember standing in front of a class of fifth graders and attempting to explain how circuits work.  Not only did I confuse my students with my explanation, I think I also confused myself!  I remember feeling embarrassed about my lack of understanding when it came to the topic of electricity, and like my students, I could have benefited from a hands-on approach to learning about electric circuitry.

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An Introduction to the Plasma Globe

donna_giachettiby Donna Giachetti

I have the great fortune of working for a company that inspires—indeed, requires—me to learn something new every day.  I’m constantly scouring online science journals for tidbits on the latest in nanotechnology, the wonders of electrochemistry, or even something as relatively simple as the ultraviolet spectrum.

I’m not claiming I always understand everything I learn… but I try my best.  (Hey, I was an English major in college, so I’m not as scientifically inclined as most of my colleagues.)  Luckily, I can count on my trusty coworkers to help me out.

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Demystifying the Poly Density Bottle

Dr. Kenneth Lyle, Duke University Department of Chemistryby Dr. Kenneth Lyle

The demonstration

The Poly Density Bottle is a fascinating demonstration primarily due to the phenomena being counterintuitive to what one would expect.  The bottle containing white and blue beads suspended in a clear and colorless liquid is shaken vigorously, distributing the beads randomly throughout (bottle A).  Upon standing, the beads separate from one another (bottle B) with the white rising to the surface while the blue sink to the bottom (bottle C).  Then, the two sets of beads move towards one another (bottle D) meeting near the middle (bottle E).  This demonstration can be easily repeated again and again.  And, once prepared, it can be stored for subsequent use year after year.  No additional preparation is required. Read the rest of this entry »

The “Magic” of the Soother Ooze Tube

KenByrneBy Ken Byrne

Someone once told me that all magic is science, and all science is magic.  To me, a magic show is a series of puzzles for me to solve, trying to figure out just how they pulled off an illusion.  My favorite science demonstrations are much the same.  I love those demonstrations that make me scratch my head and ask, “Why?”

Here is one of my favorites that is easy and inexpensive.  It feels like a magic trick, but it is all science.  It simply involves rolling a cylinder down an inclined plane.  Sometimes the cylinder will roll down quickly.  Other times it will crawl down slowly. Read the rest of this entry »