Workshops for the Orlando Science Center

I presented many hands-on science explorations to High School and Middle School science teachers on 24 August, 2002. Here are links the on-line versions of those activities.

Spin a Koosh, Throw a spinning kooshball into the air to see the equatorial bulge of a planet.

Spoon Rattleback, Bend a soup spoon and start it spinning, it will stop spinning then reverse direction in seeming violation of the law of conservation of angular momentum.

Magnetic Tape make a digital magnetic tape recorder from pieces of cassette tape. (This activity is also in the book 'Square Wheels" by Paul Doherty and Don Rathjen.)

Magnetic Silent Collisions, collide two donut magnets on a pencil and see interesting things.

Magnetic Atmosphere Model, stack 5 magnets on a pencil and see density versus height for an atmosphere.

Slow waves on a Phonecord, send wave pulses down a phonecord, notice how they invert when reflected from a fixed end.

Harmonic Phonecord, Explore the resonant motions of a phonecord.

Drop a Slinky,The top of a slinky held by its top and then dropped falls faster than the acceleration of gravity. Here is magazine article I wrote on this topic. Falling faster than g

Floating Coins, Float aluminum coins on the surface tension of water using a plastic fork.

Two Head Harp , wrap a head with one turn of string and pluck the string to study musical resonance of strings and their dependence on tension.

Whirly, explore the singing tones of a corrugated plastic tube.

After the lecture we went out on the floor of the museum and used exhibits to explore science. Here are write-ups of those exhibit activities.

We first went to the laser light section:

Interference, Laser , put a laser beam through two slits and see that light plus light equals dark.

Laser CD, reflect laser light from a compact disk and measure the spacing of the circles of pits on the disk.

Laser Light, study the properties of laser light, single frequency, phase, direction etc.

Scan a laser, use a laser to illustrate the laws of optics.

Scan a Laser: Lens use a laser to investigated how a lens bends light.

Magnetic optical bench mount a laser in a binder clip then use a magnet to mount the binder clip to make your own magnetic optical bench.

Moon illusion, how big is the angular diameter of the full moon? How many full moons appear to fill the bowl of the big dipper.

Then to the electricity section.

Quiet Lightning, investigate the plasma sphere.

Neon Tubes, neon glow tubes glow orange at very low currents and high voltages.