Teachable Moments with the Static Snowstorm


by Priscilla Robinson

What can a teacher do when the season’s cold, wet, or snowy weather makes curious and rambunctious children go stir crazy?  This was exactly the predicament I found myself in with my five-year-old grandson last year.  After sledding and playing in the snow, Henry and I looked for something else to do.  I reached deep into my Nana brain and unlocked my inner teacher.  “What’s your teachable moment today, Nana?” I murmured.

Teachable Moments with the Static Snowstorm - Educational Innovations BlogAll weekend long, we had been experiencing the crackle and pop of static electricity as a result of the house’s warm, dry air.  Henry himself had been zapped a half dozen times.  Petting the family dog, he marveled as her hair stood on end.  He was curious:  what was this invisible power?

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Fidget Spinners, Physics, and Sir Isaac Newton


by Ted BeyerTed Beyer, Educational Innovations, Inc.

Fidget spinners are the latest fad to sweep, seemingly, the world. Love them or hate them, they are everywhere—on playgrounds, in backyards, living rooms, and even schools, although many schools have banned them as being distractions.  But wait just a minute here!  For once, let’s see if we can’t use a fad to teach something.  You see, there is actually a fair bit of science lurking in those spinney things.

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Join Our Elementary Science Club Today!


Tami O'Connorby Tami G. O’Connor

As elementary school teachers, we are expected to help our students become scientifically literate (among many other things), but let’s face it:  too often we have limited time for science instruction during the school day.  Still, we know that kids just love science!  They’re always eager to learn more about the world around them, especially when the material is taught in fun and creative ways.

But what can we do when our science teaching time is so limited in school?  How do you get students involved in scientific discovery outside the classroom?  Sure, you can give them homework, but many kids find simply reading about science unappealing.  You want your students to LOVE learning more about science… not dread it.

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Classroom Fun with the Static Electricity Electroscope


Educational Innovations Blogby Nancy Foote

The latest addition to my classroom’s Curiosity Table is a Static Electricity Electroscope.  The fact that it looks a bit odd made it even more intriguing to my students.  Once they began to play with the electroscope, they couldn’t stop. Read the rest of this entry »


The Chemistry of Currency


Dr. Kenneth Lyle, Duke University Department of Chemistryby Gabrielle Hodgins and Dr. Kenneth Lyle, Duke University, Durham NC

The wonders of magnetic ink!

INTRODUCTION

Demonstrating the magnetic ink used in printing US currency has proven to engage audiences of all ages because of its relevance to everyday life.  Nearly everyone has used machines that distribute and/or accept currency but few understand how the machines distinguish between the various denominations.  The key is in the face of each denomination.  Magnetic ink is used in the printing of the currency.  Each denomination has a different face and, therefore, a different magnetic signature.  Similar to a bar code reader, the machines recognize the denomination by its magnetic signature.  A strong magnet, such as a neodymium magnet, can be used to demonstrate the magnetic character of US currency.

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