Posts Tagged ‘hands-on science’

How to Make a Compass

Monday, October 17th, 2016

make-a-compass

Today we will make a compass with a lid, a cork, a needle, and a magnet. This is a simple yet fun experiment to understand magnetism.

First you will want to get a bowl or a lid. I used a peanut butter jar lid because it is large, deep, and plastic. It’s also a great red color. I grabbed a black Sharpie marker and wrote N for north, S for south, E for east, and W for west. I drew a dot in the middle.

Fill the lid with cold water.

Cut a cork in half. Make a groove down the center of the cork like I show you in the video demonstration. If you don’t have a cork, you can use butter or margarine to coat the needle so that it will float.

Now grab a bar magnet and stroke the needle ten times in one direction, using the north pole of the magnet. Insert the needle into the groove of the cork.

Place the needle and cork into the water, and you will notice that it will point to the north pole. Even if you turn the bowl, it will still continue to point in the same direction. And if you pull the needle out of the water and put it backwards, it will spin to align itself to the north pole!

How to Make a Compass (Demonstration)

Take a look at this experiment on video:

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We have loved all the hands-on activities in our book Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press. Why not pick up a copy of the book and try some of the experiments? Physics has never been so easy to learn!

Fun with Magnets

Monday, October 10th, 2016

fun-with-magnets

Today we will have fun with magnets! We will see various objects picked up by magnets, including strings of paper clips. Rocks and minerals will be explored, as to whether they are magnetic. We will also be playing with iron filings.

Magnets have a north and south pole. Opposite poles attract (north/south), and like poles repel or push away from each other (north/north or south/south).

Pull together some objects to see whether a magnet will pick them up. Some might surprise you, like coins seem like they ought to be picked up, but they don’t have enough metal in them to be attracted to a magnet!

what-does-a-magnet-pick-upThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

These are some of the objects that we attempted to pick up with the magnet: a nail, a toothpick, a paper cup, a penny, a nickel, brass thumb tacks, a paper clip, and a potato chip.

magnet-with-tacks

The brass thumb tacks were my favorite of the whole list of picked-up things because so many clung to the magnet! I also liked the fact that a long string of paper clips were picked up by a magnet as well.

Take a look at this experiment, which includes rocks and minerals and iron filings:

We dumped little odds and ends from a junk drawer into a bowl to see what we could pick up with a magnet. We noticed that the following things remained in the bowl and are therefore non-magnetic: plastic, wood, ceramic, buttons, and other synthetic items.

magnetism-junk

Here is the chart we filled in from Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press. We were encouraged to think about why certain materials were picked up by a magnet and others not. Metal was the underlying reason why items were picked up because metal conducts electricity.

fun-with-magnets-chart

I hope you enjoyed all of our fun with magnets!

Sound Collection

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

sound-collection

Today we will be exploring sound, and we will fill out a sound collection chart as we go on a hunt for sounds both inside the house and out in the backyard. We also go to a park and a pet store to collect even more sounds!

What is sound?

Sound is made up of vibrations that travel through the air that can be heard when they reach a person’s ear. There are such a wide variety of sounds around us, so we captured 15 sounds on video:

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We printed out the sound collection chart from Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press, and we clipped it to a clipboard. Then we explored the world around us, trying to find different sounds. These are the interesting sounds we found:

  1. lawn mower
  2. garbage truck
  3. clothes dryer
  4. shower
  5. car engine
  6. cat meow
  7. birds chirping
  8. river
  9. traffic
  10. airplane
  11. cutting watermelon
  12. creaky door
  13. tapping pencil
  14. ice-cream truck
  15. oven beeping

mowing-the-grass

The kids tried to find interesting sounds that were different from each other. After filming all the sounds in our backyard, we went to an arboretum to see if we could find more sounds from nature. But we ended up hearing the traffic next to the arboretum and an airplane flying overhead.

My husband drove us to a pet store because I kept telling him we needed more animal sounds. For people who live in a city, this is a good way to capture those animal sounds. A cat looked straight at me and meowed. Birds chirped like crazy in their cages. Each pet store is unique, and you will find plenty of sounds there.

sound-collection-chart

The man driving the garbage truck probably wondered why I was filming him from the front door. As you can see in the video, he gave a friendly wave! I didn’t even notice until I was editing the video!

Warming Things Up with Friction

Monday, September 26th, 2016

warming-things-up-with-friction

Today we will be warming things up with friction. We will be rubbing coins against the carpet to see if they get hot. We will be using an infrared camera to see how hot the coin gets after experiencing friction.

Next we will rub our hands together. You will see that the ring on my husband’s hand does not get hot, probably because the ring is tight on my husband’s hand, so the ring got no friction when he rubbed his hands together.

The grand finale is the vacuum cleaner. You will have to watch the video to see how the vacuum cleaner creates a line of heat in its path!

Heat & Friction Experiment: Infrared Camera (video)

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

This experiment is from Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press. We have been enjoying all the hands-on activities that bring the subject of physics to life for kids.

Coin Friction Experiment

Hold a coin against your cheek and see how cold it is. Now rub it against the carpet for 30 seconds. Low-pile carpet works better than shaggy carpet, by the way. Then place the coin against your cheek again and notice the difference in temperature of the coin.

Try different coins: penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. Rub harder or faster and see if the coin gets hot faster.

friction-coin-experiment

We measured the temperature of the coins before and after rubbing them against the carpet. We saw an immediate change in temperature, even to the carpet underneath it! We could sign our name in the carpet with the coin, leaving a hot trail on the carpet. This reminds me of signing my name with sparklers on New Year’s Eve.

friction-with-coins

Hand Friction Experiment

My daughter rubbed her hands together, and they got hotter. This is why if you are out in the snow and you are super cold, you can feel warmer when you rub your hands together, because the friction creates warmth.

hand-friction

I hope you enjoyed this fun heat and friction experiment. I had to laugh when I saw what my face looked like with the infrared camera!

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