miscellaneous

Trapped Bird in a cage

Trapped Bird in a cage Ever wonder how cartoons are created? Basically what happens is the artist draws the cartoon characters in multiple sequential images and presents them to us in a manner that causes our minds to fill in the missing pieces. This experiment helps demonstrate the basic principle of animation. Draw a picture of a tiger on the index card. On another card the same size, draw a picture of a cage. Now tape the two cards, with the drawings facing outwards, on opposite sides of a pen. Spin the pen between your hands or fingers. Does the tiger appear to be trapped in the cage? It appears to be caged because of how your eyes and brain work. When you see the…
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Light

Things aren’t always as they appear – light refraction experiment

Experiment to demonstrate the principle of refraction Ever reached down into the bath tub water to grab a toy and found that it was not in the position it appeared to be in? What you are experiencing is the effect called refraction. When light enters the water (or any transparent material) it slows down slightly. If the light enters the water at an angle then this change in speed causes the light beam to bend away from its original path. This is called refraction. Let's conduct an experiment that allows us to see the effect of refraction. Fill the glass 2/3 full of water. Place the pencil in the glass holding it straight up and down ( not at an angle). Notice that the pencil…
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Inertia/Momentum

Rock and roll records that just won’t swing

An old record (or CD) demonstrates gyroscopic principles Gyroscopic inertia - a strange, complicated word - is a force common all around us. It explains how we are able to ride a bike, how planes navigate, and how a figure skater is able to do those lightening fast spins. Here's a simple experiment that'll clear up this confusing concept. Note: the hardest part of this experiment is going to be finding one of those old LP records. Tie one end of the string to the middle of a matchstick or pencil. Pull the other end of the string through the center of a LP record (so the matchstick is centered underneath the hole). Swing the record back and forth like a pendulum in smooth, even…
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Chemical Reactions

Making water split

Making water split As we know, water is actually made of hydrogen and oxygen molecules tightly bound together to form that liquidy goodness we so love to spray on each other. So if it’s made of oxygen, why can’t we breathe it? Actually, we could breathe it IF we could separate the oxygen out from the hydrogen. Fact is, we can’t. If we tried to breathe water we’d instead get the liquidy stuff which of course, our lungs cannot absorb.  If you tend to forget this when swimming, here's a simple poem to help you remember: The fact is, we cannot lie, if you breathe water, you will die. Still, they use their gills to separate the oxygen from the hydrogen. For fish, this really…
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