A Light at the Smithsonian: Notes from a Spectroscopist


Alex Scheelineby Alex Scheeline

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, on the national mall in Washington, D.C., has an especially fascinating exhibit on Thomas Edison.  The exhibit highlights the development of electricity and lighting, and, more generally, invention.  In late 2017, I visited an area that featured a set of lamps—including a low-pressure sodium vapor lamp, a mercury lamp, an incandescent lamp, and a compact fluorescent lamp.

Read the rest of this entry »


Science Fair Lesson – The Scientific Method


Lesson - Educational Innovations Blog

What is the scientific method?  It’s one of the stepping stones your students need to cover before starting any science fair project.

As this helpful primer from Science Buddies states, “Whether you are doing a science fair project, a classroom science activity, independent research, or any other hands-on science inquiry, understanding the steps of the scientific method will help you focus your scientific question and work through your observations and data to answer the question as well as possible.”

Read the rest of this entry »


All about Science Fair Judging


By Dr. Maille Lyons

Judges are the “referees” in the sport of science fair. As with most refereed sports, the losing teams will often blame the referees for failure and, in some cases that is accurate.  In other cases you just got beat.

Since there is no appeal process, no coach’s challenge, and no instant replay for review, the science fair judges’ decisions stand (and will not be explained no matter how much you beg…). SO KNOWING THAT, your project must be well executed and well communicated so that the “bad calls” are minimized.

Read the rest of this entry »


You Said It! Thermal Energy Product Reviews


You Said It! Product Reviews - Educational Innovations NewsletterTo put it simply, we think thermal energy is cool!  Many of our best-selling discrepant event demos are related to thermal energy, as you’ll see from the reviews below.  With our Ice Melting Blocks, you can ask your students to predict which block will melt an ice cube more rapidly…  Use a Chemical Heat Pack to challenge your class to figure out how heat—usually associated with melting—can be produced by a reaction that turns a liquid into a solid…  Or dazzle them with Nitinol Memory Wire that changes shape upon heating!

If you have a favorite Educational Innovations product, send us a comment below.  We’d love to share your review with your fellow teachers and science lovers.

Read the rest of this entry »


Summer Science Humor


Educational Innovations Newsletter - Humor

Relax!  School is out and it’s time for some fun. Pour yourself an ice-cold lemonade, get settled into your favorite chair (or hammock) and enjoy our sizzling collection of summer science humor.  You might also get a kick out our UV Light humor page, from a previous issue of our newsletter.

If you have a favorite cartoon or joke, we invite you to share it as a comment below.

Read the rest of this entry »