Jan 08 2009
I enjoy giving science demonstrations and classes to elementary school children. I come wearing my official lab coat from the Cosmos Research Center dragging my science wagon behind me with my experimental equipment. My goal is to inspire children to continue their interest in science, instill a curiosity, and help them discover the “joy of finding things out.” I put lots of science goodies in the wagon for students to explore.
Some of my prepared experiments and equipment are:
Microscope. I have a 20-50 power dissecting microscope with a video camera that I can plug in to the classroom projector. I can bring pond water to show amoeba and wiggly things. Students can bring in their own samples of bugs, leaves, or other objects.
Sound. I can connect my computer to the projector with a program that analyzes sound. I can then show sound waves in an oscilloscope as well as a spectrograph, showing the various frequencies. We can listen to classroom noises or musical instruments, and the class can see the effect of their noise on noise levels. I talk about hearing loss and my hearing aids, and reasons for being careful about iPod earbuds. I have a program listens to classroom noises and shows a happy face when the class is being quiet and an unhappy face when it is noisy.
Heat and Light. I bring lights with me to show how electricity is turned into heat and light. I turn on an incandescent light and a compact fluorescent light, letting students walk in front of them to feel the heat. Then I measure the temperature of the lights, as well as the watts used on a watt meter. I talk about conservation, cost of electricity, and clean technology.
Planets. I can project a computer display of the planets, and fly in a simulated spaceship around the solar system, talking about astronomy in general as well talk about the cosmos in general.
Science from 1600; Science from today. I bring a 1605 French anatomy book Historia Anatomica Humani Corporis by André DU LAURENS, showing some of the first anatomical drawings of humans, and talk about what it was like at the beginning of the Age of Reason. Students can walk past the book (but not touch) and we can look at how the book presented questions and debate, rather than dogma. Then I move to the latest nanotechnology, demonstrating Quantum Dots.
Fossils. I bring a fossilized Mastodon tooth, talking about history and evolution.
Other demos… I’m always looking for new projects and demonstrations, and am happy for suggestions.
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