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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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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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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