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!
Continue reading Electrochemical fuel cells as a science toy
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.
Continue reading Lunar and Solar Eclipses
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.
Continue reading Why does a Laptop get hot?
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.
Continue reading Through a different kind of lens
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.
Continue reading Teaching about Inertia
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.
Continue reading Learning about energy transfer with color changing straws
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.
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.
Continue reading The Lemonade Clock
Guest post by Danny Ward
This is something new! I offered a fellow science communicator on Twitter to write a guest post for my blog and the only requirement I named him was to pick a subject of his choosing that either makes a cool experiment or has a suitable explanation for children and teens. And Danny had the perfect outreach activity in mind which he gladly explains in the following post. He studies how some micro-organisms are able infect things and how we can potentially stop them in the future. Check out his Twitter (@DannyJamesWard) or Instagram (@dannyjamesward) if you want to know more about his work!
Continue reading Explaining Molecular Biology using Blocks and Bricks
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.
Continue reading Polaris and Constellations
“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.
Continue reading Exploring Snell’s Law