Electrochemical fuel cells as a science toy

Explaining energy conversion efficiency and combustion

You probably already know that I write a lot about physics experiments. But I also love science toys and today I want to talk about something more chemical than physical. Obviously, the electrochemical fuel cell cars I am talking about can (and in my opinion should) be included in physics education, because talking about energy conversion efficiency in real life and authentic settings is so valuable. The big advantage of fuel cell car toys is that they combine fun with science with real interdisciplinary science learning. See for yourselves!

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Lunar and Solar Eclipses

Modelling with an apple and an egg

Last Tuesday, on July 16th 2019, we had a partial lunar eclipse which was visible in Germany. Unfortunately it was too cloudy for me to see but when I was 8, there was a solar eclipse right over Germany (in 1999) and I loved the event. I didn’t quite understand how rare solar eclipses are when you don’t travel to see one. I guess I’d appreciate it so much more now. Lunar eclipses are more common but still events for themselves. And what I also love about eclipses is that there are so many ways to visualize and understand these phenomena. I’ll explain three in this post.

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Why does a Laptop get hot?

Thoughts about the energy concept

Let’s talk about energy. But don’t despair, this won’t become too theoretical. I promise. All I want to do is to nudge you into the right direction of thinking about energy as a concept that can explain many things in everyday life. Because that’s all there is to it. Obviously, the last sentence isn’t true, as energy is still something worth researching. But the technicalities are not important, but how we think about it is. So let me give you an example.

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Through a different kind of lens

Using waterdrop art to explain optics

I am a huge fan of the art of photography. I love how some people are able to catch the perfect moment at the perfect time and place and just get it right with their camera. And sometimes, things can turn out pretty science-y. And when you think about it, it’s pretty obvious how photography is a lot of optical physics. Let me show you what I mean.

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Teaching about Inertia

Spinning eggs

If you are anything like me, you have probably prepared hard boiled eggs once, wanting to eat them the next day and put them back into the fridge. And when you’ve wanted to take them out the next day, you realized you put them right next to the raw eggs. What now? I admit, this happens more often than I would like it to be true. What a relief that I can use physics to help me find my hardboiled eggs.

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Learning about energy transfer with color changing straws

The phenomenon of Thermochromism

When I was a child, I would stand in front of fair booths and try on all sorts of mood rings and adore them. The change of color fascinated me. I really wanted to purchase one and my parents didn’t let me. Oh how unfair the world seemed to me. I didn’t care that these rings weren’t worth the money, I just loved watching the colors turn.
Today, I know about the phenomenon of thermochromism and it still fascinates me. But I’ve also studied a little bit of physics and now understand the science behind the phenomenon so much better than when I was a kid. In this blog post, I’ll show you what thermochromism is, why it occurs and what we can learn about energy from it.

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The Lemonade Clock

A variation of the lemon battery

This might be the most cliché experiment for science right after Elephant’s toothpaste. If you know how both works – congratulations, you are probably pretty nerdy. Honestly, I have seen both experiments and they are both incredibly entertaining. And since I got the Lemonade Clock for my birthday, I thought I’d show you this cool variation of the lemon battery. Especially since it does not only make a lightbulb light up but we can use the actual clock that comes with the materials of the Lemonade Clock Box.

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