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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Simple model of an electric motor

There is nothing more satisfying than building your own model of already functioning technology to understand the mechanisms behind it. In today’s post I’ll show you how you can build your own model of an electric engine.

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The Candle Elevator

Using phenomena in science classroom as a means to spark inquiry is a great way to start a lesson or even a unit. Besides the easy access to the physics and science behind the phenomenon, science content can be distributed as well as scientific processes. Students not only learn about basic principles, they also learn scientific inquiry and reasoning as well as experimental skills.

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