Projects

Pendulum Wave Generator
The Pendulum Wave Generator is an engaging (but not especially well known) demonstration illustrating the fundamental properties of a simple pendulum oscillator. A great example of a pendulum wave generator is posted on the YouTube channel for the Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations. We didn’t think we could make a better pendulum wave generator, so we made it bigger…

Lycopodium Rocket
Continuing the theme of “bigger is better,” Scott adapted the well-known lycopodium powder demonstration from Shakhashiri’s “Chemical Demonstrations: A Handbook for Teachers of Chemistry” using a modified Freon tank. We showed this demonstration and several others at the 2012 FCR-STEM (Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Conference in St. Petersburg as part of an “afternoon workshop” that ran well into the evening. The following video of the lycopodium “rocket” appears at the end of the “FCR-STEM Conference 2012 — At a Glance” video posted on the Learning Systems Institute (LSI) Channel on YouTube.

Light Bulb Conductivity Apparatus

Light Bulb Conductivity Apparatus

Most general chemistry textbooks include a figure of a simple apparatus that shows conductivity by the brightness of a single light bulb. The apparatus described in the following CPALMS Perspectives video extends this idea to multiple light bulbs of increasing wattage in parallel. The original demonstration was developed by Irv Siegelman while he was at Florida State. Scott updated the design to make it portable, with front-facing light switches and hanging light bulbs in the traditional configuration easily recognized by students.

Two-Balloon Demonstration

A simple air pressure demonstration that is interesting because the result is so unexpected. You can find the explanation online, but it’s better to try to figure it out for yourself. Imagine you are blowing up a balloon. Actually take your hand to you mouth and blow into it like you are holding a balloon. It’s okay… no one it looking… go through the process as though you are really blowing up a balloon.

When is it hardest to blow up the balloon?

The Electric Pickle Demo

In this apparatus for the electric pickle demonstration, the pickle cannot be electrified until the Plexiglas is in place and completes the circuit.