Polaris and Constellations

The STEM challenge by the ICSE

ICSE – what exactly is that? It stands for International Center of STEM Education and it’s based at the University of Education in Freiburg, Germany. The ICSE is an internationally connected research center with a special focus in practice-related research and its transfer into practice. I know this, because I work at the MaSDiV project which is affiliated with the ICSE. I’ll come back to that in another post because today I want to talk about the STEM challenge, the ICSE posed on Twitter.

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Exploring Snell’s Law

“Look – the paddle has a kink!”

Admittedly, I don’t have a paddle for this blog post. But I have a pen. That’s basically the same when it comes to optics. And today I did not only prepare one, but TWO experiments for exploring Snell’s Law. And they are great for younger students because they both seem like magic. And thank you to Mirjam (@fascinocean_kiel) and her great idea for this post – without her niece I wouldn’t have thought of how fascinating this phenomenon can be even for younger children.

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Hair and Walls and Static Electricity

If you have been following my blog, you might know already, that I love a good hands-on experiment served with the good ol’ inquiry. These static electricity experiments I’m going to explain are just that – prompted with a question, they awe students into wanting to inquiry the nature of hair standing to all sides, balloon floating on the ceiling and maybe even waterbending with a comb. So let’s dive into the physics behind these fascinating experiments.

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Optics on surface waves – Caustics in the deep blue sea

On my trip to Cyprus for our project meeting, we got the chance to make a trip to the sear and network with members of a different project while spending some time on a boat. I noticed some very interesting and fascinating patterns on the sandy floor beneath and besides feeling the urge of jumping in and enjoying the sea, I obviously almost instantly started thinking about the physics behind the phenomenon. And realized once more how much awe the physics behind nature inspires in me.

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Exploring the Optics of everyday gadgets

Who hasn’t seen the kids walking to school with their cute little warning stripes all over their jackets and backpacks. But why do gadgets like warning stripes or safety vests even light up, no matter from which direction the headlights come from? Obviously, there’s no mirror tied to the backpack or the vest but what is it? Here’s an idea on how students can explore the optics of safety vests and find out about a phenomenon called retro-reflection.

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The magic of falling objects

So recently, I wrote a blogpost about using video analysis to analyze the motion of a falling object. As you can probably tell, I’m fascinated by falling objects and not only do I love to analyze the movements but I also like to try new things so I prepared an experiment that is so well known and amazes me every time I see it. I hope it will fascinate you as well.

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Popsicle Stick Weave

Interlocking popsicle sticks in a chain adds tension to the construct. When released, the release motion of the sticks looks like a wave and scatters the sticks all over the area. It’s a great game to play, since children need to practice some motorics while at the same time learning about conversion of elastic potential energy into kinetic energy.

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Using Video Analysis in the Science Classroom

Or how does the ant survive the fall?

Mobile learning is a concept as old as time. Taking a book for learning to the park for example is one way to take learning to the mobile level. The concept of mobility as “anywhere and anytime” isn’t new. But the use of mobile devices like tables and smartphones brings it to a whole new level. And as a science teacher, I think a lot about how to integrate digital media into the classroom. Let me show you an example of how implementation could work. I’ll use the freely falling coffee filter to demonstrate air friction.

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Floating Paper Clips

Is it science or is it magic? It is probably both and this makes experiments like the floating paper clips so fascinating and fun to implement in the science classroom. You can try it yourself and have your students debate about the experiment. With a little caution they can even make paper clips float on the water themselves.

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Another physics toy! The magical everturning spinning top

This is a tough one to figure out but goes perfectly with my last experiment, the electric motor. And with this being said, I think I already might have given you an idea on how to explain this amazing physics toy.

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