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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Hydrophilic Polymers Lesson


Lesson - Educational Innovations BlogHydrophilic superabsorbent polymers are so much fun to use in the classroom.  Young and older students alike love working with Growing Spheres that expand by more than 300 times their original size.  And who doesn’t love an avalanche of Instant Snow?

We know that the best lessons are those that keep your students engaged in genuine, hands-on scientific exploration.  We believe that students learn more when they’re having FUN… and that’s precisely what happens when you bring any hydrophilic material into your classroom.

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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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Electricity from Mud?! Introducing the MudWatt Kit


Electricity from Mud?! Educational Innovations BlogBy Nancy Foote

When a little kid comes up to you and asks you do science, it’s hard to say no.  But when you’re a science teacher, and that little kid is your granddaughter, you know you have to come up with something fast.

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Molding a Thermoplastic Polymer


Dr. Kenneth Lyle, Duke University Department of Chemistry

By Dr. Kenneth Lyle, Duke University, Durham NC and Elaine “Lainey” Williams

 

Molding a Thermoplastic Polymer - Educational Innovations BlogThermoplastic Polymers for All!

When thermoplastic polymer became available a couple of years ago, we purchased a bottle to see if it would be a viable addition to our chemistry outreach program.  Since then, literally hundreds of people, young and old, have experienced molding the thermoplastic, taking their creations home in Zip-loc® bags.

And now, with the availability of dyes, a whole new world of creative design has opened up.  The molding of a thermoplastic activity has been incorporated into our “Polymers” and “Chemistry of Crafts” hands-on outreach presentations, and has been used as a stand-alone station.

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