Inspiring Curiosity with the Atmospheric Mat

Electricity from Mud?! Educational Innovations Blogby Nancy Foote

A curiosity table.  That’s what I call it.  Whenever my students have a free minute (which rarely happens), I encourage them to investigate the materials on the curiosity table in our classroom.

Today I added something new—an Atmospheric Mat.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Plasma Globe, Inside and Out

Ted Beyer, Educational Innovations, Ted Beyer

Nikola Tesla.  Amazing guy.  He came up with a huge number of inventions, but outside the scientific community he is largely overshadowed by his better known contemporary, Thomas Edison.  Tesla developed a stream of innovations that we use every day—things like AC power, fluorescent lighting, on and on.

What you might not know is that Tesla, when working on electric light in February of 1894, came up with the concept for what we now call the Plasma Globe.

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 »