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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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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Explaining Molecular Biology using Blocks and Bricks

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!

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