Introducing the Home Science Lab!


donna_giachettiby:  Donna Giachetti

Albert Einstein famously said,

The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

At Educational Innovations, we agree wholeheartedly.  Our company was founded by a master teacher in 1994.  Today it’s still run by a dedicated crew of teachers who share a passion for science… and for fostering curiosity in kids.

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At Halloween, Science Is Cooler than Ever


donna_giachettiby: Donna Giachetti

In the spring
a young man’s fancy
lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

 —Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred may have a point, but these days our thoughts turn to darker, spookier things—zombies, ghouls, witches, monsters and ghosts (more about them later, scroll down to the end of the blog).

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Why is autumn one of our favorite times of year?

Let us count the ways:

  •     A new school year…
  •    Cooler temperatures…
  •    Warm, cozy sweaters and boots…
  •    A procession of colorful fall foliage…

But best of all, there’s the anticipation of HALLOWEEN! What a wonderful time to be a mad scientist! Read the rest of this entry »


Film Canister Capacitors


6769_100121036671012_100000193470961_521_4265928_nby: Norm Barstow

This is a guide on how to make a Leyden Jar that makes awesome sparks with materials you may even find in your house. It’s inexpensive, basically harmless and fun.

Here is the list of materials you will need:

  • An empty film canister with lid.  These are available at Educational Innovations.
  • Multistrand insulated wire; eg. type HPN Heater Cord
  • Single conductor/solid un-insulated wire, about 1.5 mm in diameter (16 gauge copper wire).
  • Some aluminum or copper foil. (NOTE: Any conductive foil will work. Copper foil is thicker and easier to work with than aluminum foil, but aluminum foil works. Heavy duty aluminum foil works best.
  • A bolt (10/24) with a round head that is shorter than the film canister’s height. Two nuts that fit the screw.  Washer is optional.
  • Scotch tape.

Film canister Capacitors

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No-Pop Bubbles!


Ron Perkinsby: Ron Perkins

At first glance No-Pop Bubbles may seem like any other bubbles.  While the bubble solution is a bit more viscous, one blows No-Pop Bubbles like any other bubble.  The small bubble wand suspends a bubble film which, when air is blown through it, releases small bubbles into the air.  These bubbles, however, are no ordinary bubbles.  No-Pop No-Pop BubblesBubble solution begins as a regular soap and water bubble solution.  Added to this solution is a small amount of a non-toxic water soluble polymer.  When No-Pop Bubbles are first blown, the bubbles behave like ordinary bubbles.  As the water evaporates from the bubble’s surface, however, an extremely thin plastic ‘bubble skeleton’ remains.  It is this plastic bubble skeleton which has the properties for which No-Pop Bubbles are named.

No-Pop BubblesBlow No-Pop Bubbles up into the air.  Observe the colors (interference patterns) in the bubbles as they float.  In approximately 10 seconds (depending on the relative humidity) the colors in the bubbles will begin to disappear.  When the bubble are colorless, they may be caught on your finger without popping! Read the rest of this entry »


Film Canister Leyden Jars with Video


Tami O'Connorby: Tami O’Connor

During my 16 years in the classroom, my students and I have accumulated a plethora of fond and one or two not-so-fond memories. One memory that still makes me cringe deals with the amount of time I spent traveling from one film-processing center to the next, in search of those perfect little containers I made such great use of within the walls of my science Rocket Film Canistersclassroom. I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about…those little containers, which could be used for everything from conveniently and securely storing small amounts of solids or liquids to acting as the engine compartment of the well-known makeshift paper rocket.

What versatile things those film canisters are…

Thanks to Bob Morse of St. Albans, we have found yet another use for those mini containers. In this short segment, Bob demonstrates how to construct a simple Leyden jar that is large enough to produce a nice spark, yet small enough to be perfectly safe, and best of all, durable enough to reuse over and over again! The only materials needed are a film can, a small strip of aluminum foil, a paper clip, a small section of PVC pipe, a cloth or piece of fur to rub on the pipe and a small amount of water.

How to Build a Leyden Jar

Rocket Film CanistersIn this age of digital cameras, 35mm film canisters are becoming a thing of the past. Educational Innovations can supply you with clean film canisters to use in your home or classroom. Check out the other activities we have for film canisters, and please feel free to share your own ideas with us.