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In this demonstration, amaze learners by performing simple tricks using mirrors. These tricks take advantage of how a mirror can reflect your right side so it appears to be your left side. To make the effect more dramatic, cover the mirror with a cloth, climb onto the table, straddle the mirror, and then drop the cloth as you appear to "take off." This resource contains information about how this trick was applied during the making of the movie "Star Wars."

Subject:
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
NEC Foundation of America
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
12/01/2012
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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This trick from Exploratorium physicist Paul Doherty lets you add together the bounces of two balls and send one ball flying. When we tried this trick on the Exploratorium's exhibit floor, we gathered a crowd of visitors who wanted to know what we were doing. We explained that we were engaged in serious scientific experimentation related to energy transfer. Some of them may have believed us. If you'd like to go into the physical calculations of this phenomenam, see the related resource "Bouncing Balls" - it's the same activity but with the math explained.

Subject:
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Paul Doherty
The Exploratorium
11/07/2012
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this optics activity, learners discover that when they rotate a special black and white pattern called a Benham's Disk, it produces the illusion of colored rings. Learners experiment with the speed of rotation and direction of rotation to observe varying patterns. Use this activity to explain to learners how our eyes detect color and how different color receptors in the eye respond at different rates.

Subject:
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
Don Rathjen
NEC Foundation of America
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
10/31/2012
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, learners burn a peanut, which produces a flame that can be used to boil away water and count the calories contained in the peanut. Learners use a formula to calculate the calories in a peanut and then differentiate between food calories and physicist calories as well as calories and joules.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
Paul Doherty
The Exploratorium
10/31/2000
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this demonstration, cook a cake using the heat produced when the cake batter conducts an electric current. Because of safety concerns, this activity should be conducted as a demonstration only and learners should be kept at a safe distance.

Subject:
Chemistry
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
The Exploratorium
10/31/2005
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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Cardboard Automata are a playful way to explore simple machine elements while creating a mechanical sculpture. This activity was inspired by the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, a group of automata builders based in England. Artists like Paul Spooner, Keith Newstead, and Carlos Zapata build beautiful narrative pieces using elegant mechanisms based on cams, gears, springs, and linkages. Working with simple materials, this activity is easy to get started, and may become as complex as your mechanical sculpture ideas.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
12/01/2012
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, learners use crayons to draw conclusions about rocks and the rock cycle. Learners form crayons ((which can be "weathered"--heated, compressed and cooled--like rocks) into models of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.

Subject:
Geology
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Eric Muller
The Exploratorium
11/07/2004
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this fun gardening activity, learners discover their soil type. There are three basic soil types: sand, silt, and clay. Using only a jar, water and a bit of water softener, learners will sort their soil into its parts. The activity includes a "What's going on" section as well as information about what makes a soil ideal for gardening.

Subject:
Agriculture
Career and Technical Education
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
The Exploratorium
12/07/2012
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this electrochemistry activity, learners will explore two examples of electroplating. In Part 1, zinc from a galvanized nail (an iron nail which has been coated with zinc by dipping it in molten zinc) will be plated onto a copper penny. In Part 2, copper from a penny will be plated onto a nickel.

Subject:
Chemistry
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
The Exploratorium
11/07/2004
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, learners conduct a simple experiment to see how electrically charged things like plastic attract electrically neutral things like water. The plastic will attract the surface of the water into a visible bump.

Subject:
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Paul Doherty
The Exploratorium
11/07/2000
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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This online exhibit is a visual illusion in which a fuzzy blue dot disappears into a green background. The illusion is created by the tiny jittering movements that your eyes are continually making. Take your investigation further by making your own hands-on fading dot illusion - instructions are at the Exploratorium Snack website (see related link).

Subject:
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Cija Briegleb
Exploratorium
The Exploratorium
Zach Waller
12/07/1997
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In this hands-on botany activity, learners sprout vegetables in film canisters. Learners grow nine seeds each of cabbage, radish, and parsley, experimenting with changing one variable (light, water, or temperature) to explore differences in the germination preferences of the plants. If film canisters aren't available, other small, opaque containers with lids can be substituted.

Subject:
Agriculture
Career and Technical Education
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
The Exploratorium
12/07/2012
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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This is an activity about a very important ingredient in most baked goods - gluten! Why is gluten so important? Without it, there would be nothing to hold the gas that makes bread rise. Learners will experiment with different types of flour to get a feel for gluten, and discover why using different flours can lead to such different results in the kitchen.

Subject:
Chemistry
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
Exploratorium
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
10/31/2012
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this classic hands-on activity, learners estimate the length of a molecule by floating a fatty acid (oleic acid) on water. This lab asks learners to record measurements and make calculations related to volume, diameter, area, and height. Learners also convert meters into nanometers. Includes teacher and student worksheets but lacks in depth procedure information. The author suggests educators search the web for more complete lab instructions.

Subject:
Chemistry
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Eric Muller
The Exploratorium
11/07/2007
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, learners will explore globes of frozen water to learn how to ask and then answer 'investigable' questions. The activity includes four short online videos: Introduction, Step-by-Step Demonstration, Going Deeper, and What's Going On. Also available are a concept map and a "Going Further" web page that suggests variations and extensions on this activity.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
11/07/2007
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, learners investigate the speed of chemical reactions with light sticks. Learners discover that reactions can be sped up or slowed down due to temperature changes.

Subject:
Chemistry
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Eric Muller
The Exploratorium
11/07/2003
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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This is an activity that demonstrates how batteries work using simple household materials. Learners use a pickle, aluminum foil and a pencil to create an electrical circuit that powers a buzzer. Most common batteries--such as car batteries and the batteries inside a flashlight--work on the same principle that the pickle battery works on: two metals suspended in an ion-rich liquid or paste separate an electric charge, creating an electrical current around a circuit. In this activity, the pickle provides the ion-rich liquid - pickles contain salt water, which is rich in ions.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
The Exploratorium
12/01/2012
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, learners use a laser pointer and two small rotating mirrors to create a variety of fascinating patterns, which can be easily and dramatically projected on a wall or screen. In this version of the activity, learners use binder clips to build the base of the device. Educators can use a pre-assembled device for demonstration purposes or engage learners in the building process.

Subject:
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
The Exploratorium
11/07/2006
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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0.0 stars

In this activity on page 1 of the PDF, learners compare the relative sizes of biological objects (like DNA and bacteria) that can't be seen by the naked eye. Learners will be surprised to discover the range of sizes in the microscopic world. This activity can be followed up with a second activity, "What's in a microbe?", located on page 3 in the same resource.

Subject:
Biology
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Julie Yu
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
11/07/2006
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, learners explore the "nuts and bolts" of gene chips. Learners construct a simple model of a DNA microarray (also known as gene chips) and learn how microarrays can be used to identify and treat disease--including cancer. This resource includes references and an explanation of microarrays.

Subject:
Genetics
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Julie Yu
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium