Home

Welcome to Herrick's GK-12 Page

The below sections should be useful references for the students at Univeristy "Uni" High School.

Demo 1: Opening a coke bottle without a bottle opener

Demo 1: Opening a coke bottle without a Bottle Opener

This lesson will show students how to open a coke bottle without a bottle opener. With the correct understanding of lever arms and fulcrums, students can see how a 2-Liter bottle can be used to open a bottle cap with a little understanding of physics.

Concepts Learned

  • Lever arms
  • Fulcrum

Materials Needed

  • Age-appropriate soft drink (coke)
  • 2-Liter bottle with cap (preferably empty)

Relation to prior experience (See-Saw)

Q1: What happens when both people of the same mass are standing equidistant from the pivot point of the see-saw(fulcrum)?

A1: Like a scale, both sides are at equilibrium and should be balanced. The forces on both sides are balanced.

Q2: What happens when the person on the right is heavier?

A2: Naturally, the heavier person will dominate. More mass means more force on the right versus the left.

Q3: What happens when both are people are of the same mass but the fulcrum point is moved?

A3: Even though both people have the same mass, experience tells us that the person the right will go down. Even though the forces for both sides are the same, the results are magnified due to the length of the lever arm. We can say: 1) The longer the lever arm on the right, the less amount of force or mass is required to balance the left side. AND/OR 2) The length of the lever arm magnifies the force of the right side and overwhelms the left side.

Everyday Examples

Shovel

Paint Can

Crowbar for Boulder

Opening a Coke Bottle

Analogous to the 'crowbar for boulder example', the bottle cap would be like the boulder. It would be nearly impossible for the human hand to pry open. The fulcrum would be the collar of the 2-liter bottle and the left index finger. The long lever arm would be the 2-lter bottle. Use your palm to grip the neck of the coke bottle. The index finger and thumb would squeeze hard, like squeezing the trigger of a pistol. Rotate the bottom of the 2-liter bottle down. The bottle cap should pop off (careful not to hit someone in the face).

Demo 2: Using Auto-Tune to learn about sound waves

Demo 2: Using Auto-Tune to learn about sound waves

Concepts Learned

  • Frequency
  • Wavelength
  • Sound Waves
  • Amplitude

Materials Needed

  • Speakers
  • Auto-Tune App (I am T-Pain, Songify for iPhone)
  • Signal Generator App (Signal Gen for iPhone)
  • Oscilloscope
  • Microphone

Signal Generator

  1. Attach a amplified microphone to the oscilloscope. By whistling one can see a distinct sine wave on the oscilloscope.
  2. Attach speakers to audio out of phone.
  3. Turn on Signal Generator App.
  4. Change in volume represents Amplitude. Change in tone/pitch represents Frequency. This will be seen on the oscilloscope.
  5. The human ear should be able to hear from 20Hz to 20KHz. Some speakers may not be able to generate the low frequencies but can perform the higher end. Test students' hearing and see if they can hear 18kHz and above. Most adults cannot.

What is "Auto-Tune"?

Note: This explanation is tweaked for a highschool audience.

"Auto-Tune" is an audio engineering technique that gives a singer's voice a semi-robotic techno feel. It is also alternatively used to correct a singer's offkey notes to a more "pleasant" sounding one. A simple explanation is that auto-tune rounds a bad singer's voice to the nearest "pleasant" sounding note or frequency.

 

Demo 3: Standing Waves

Demo 3: Standing Waves

Concepts Learned

  • Standing Waves
  • Magnitude
  • Nodes
  • Antinodes (Crest, Trough)
  • Frequency/Period

Materials Needed

  1. (2) 80mm computer fans (salvaged parts from old computer)
  2. Piece of string approximately 6ft long.
  3. 12 Volt Power Supply (salvaged parts from old computer)

 

What is a Standing Wave?

A Standing Wave is a wave in which a wave travels through a medium and its nodes appear not be moving left and right. In this demo, we will see that a vibration generation by the computer fan will generate a standing wave. One can see in the video below that the nodes do not appear to move and in some cases we can place our finger on the node. A larger fan or attaching the string at the outer edges of the fan will result in large amplitudes in the wave. The speed of the fan will dictate the frequency and period of the wave. Similarly, a larger tension on the string will also affect the frequency and period of the wave.

Video

Demo 4: Dropping a Ball vs. Shooting a Ball Horizontally.

Demo 4: Dropping a Ball vs. Shooting a Ball Horizontally

Concepts Learned

  • Gravity does not affect horizontal velocity
  • 2-dimensional Vectors

Material Needed

  • Special apparatus that drops and shoots ball bearings simultaneously.

Video

Looking at the video, we'll see that the horizontal component is independent from the vertical component component. The Top View should show that the dropping ball doesn't really move, but the horiztonally shot ball looks like it is travelling in a straight line. For the side view, we should see that both balls have the same vertical component, so we should only see one ball since the other is hidden behind it.


 

Demo 5: Pendulum Wave

Demo 5: Pendulum Wave

Concepts Learned

  • Pendulum
  • Periodicity
  • Waves

Materials Needed

  • Meter Stick
  • String
  • Washers

Video

Each pendulum has it's own length and as a result will have different periods. The lengths were calculated such that all the pendulums would coincide at every 16 periods

Demo 6: Newton's First Law - Law of Inertia

Newton's First Law - Law of Inertia

Concepts Learned

  • Law of Inertia

Material Needed

  • 2-Liter Coke Bottle
  • Playing Cards
  • Pen, AAA battery, hex nuts, etc.

Video

Newton's first law states: Object at rest will remain at rest and objects in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an external force. From the video posted below, we see that the objects balanced on top of the card has more mass and as a result has more inertia. Thus, objects on top of the playing card will have more of a tendence to stay at rest.

Halloween Science Special

Halloween Science Special

Halloween Science Show took place on October 31, 2011 at University High School. We combined Robert Baker's Physics classes with Aubray Aarvig's Chemistry classes together since most of the demos we presented were either chemistry or physics related. The video below shows a sampling of the demos we did that day. Special thanks goes to Theresa Nguyen for planning and hosting the Halloween Science Show with me.

Video

Demo 7: Human Table

Human Table

Concepts Learned

  • Balanced Forces

Materials Needed

  • 4 Students, 1 adult.
  • 4 chairs

Picture

Have 4 students sit in a square while facing away from one another. Have them lean back with feet perpendicular to ground. Make sure students lean back all the way with arms cross over their chest. Have the adult pull the chair out from under them and let the fun ensure.

Note: picture taken from internet.

Demo 8: Hot Cocoa - Plate Tetonics

Hot Cocoa - Plate Tetonics

Concepts Learned

  • Plate Tetonics

Materials Needed

  • Hot Plate
  • Pot
  • Can of Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 2 gallons of Milk

Procedure

  • Turn hotplate on.
  • Pour in 1 gallon of milk.
  • On top, layer a "crust" of 3/4 can of hot cocoa mix.
  • After 25-30 minutes, the crust should separate and break into different plate.
  • When milk comes to a boil, mix the ingredients.
  • Serve with part hot cocoa mix with cold mix from second gallon to balance the sweetness.

Crusted cocoa powder can be thought of as Pangea and as time progresses, the magma flow underneath the tetonic plates are shifting causing Pangea to break apart into multiple tetonic plates. The crust will crack and the bubbling between the plates are similar to the mid-Atlantic ocean ridge.

Demo 9: Center of Gravity for Boomerang

Center of Gravity for Boomerang

Concepts Learned

  • Center of Gravity/Mass

Materials Needed

Procedure

  • Stack 2 popsicle sticks and tape together.
  • Repeat again.
  • Place the two stacked popsicle sticks at a right angle with a fifth lighter

Balancing the Boomerang

Looking at the Boomerang, we see that the center of gravity is "outside of the boomerang. Interestingly enough, the center of gravity point is also the point in which the boomerang rotates around when in flight.

 

Demo 10: Uphill Can

Uphill Can

Concepts Learned

  • Center of Gravity/Mass

Materials Needed

  • Coffee can
  • Tape
  • Masses
  • Ramp

Procedure

  • Open up Coffee can
  • Place masses in a line inside coffee can and tape down.
  • Place the two stacked popsicle sticks at a right angle with a fifth lighter
  • Roll away! (Masses should be at the top of the can with a slight lean towards the top of the ramp)

In Action

This is a demonstration of a completed Uphill can. With it's off center mass, the can wants to roll "uphill". The can is so massive and off-center that the friction created, allows it to sit on the ramp.

Links

Mini-lesson: Putt-Putt Boats

Putt-Putt Boats

Concepts Learned

  • Thermodynamics
  • Heat Engine
  • States of Matter
  • Heat Transfer

Materials Needed

  • Aluminum Can
  • Epoxy
  • Scissors
  • Insulating Foam (or foam tray)
  • 3 straws
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Rain gutter and Endcap (Optional for racing)

Worksheets

Procedure

All necessary steps to build the Putt-Putt boat can be found at http://sciencetoymaker.org.

Building and Racing the Putt-Putt Boats

Testing the Putt-Putt Boats.

Racing the Putt-Putt Boats

We bought 2 vinyl rain gutters with endcaps and filled them with water to act as racing channels. Students also had stopwatches to figure out the average velocity of their boats.

Major Lesson: Heart Rate Monitor

Heart Rate Monitor

Coming Soon

Mini Lesson: DIY Speaker

Paper Plate Speakers

Concepts Learned

  • Sound Waves
  • Right-hand rule
  • Electromagnets
  • Magnetism

Lesson Handouts

In Action

Students learn about the right hand rule where a flow of electrical current can induce a magnetic field. By coiling the conducting wire, the magnetic fields through a small area is increased by maintaining the same electrical current. By relating how magnets can attract or repel, the speaker lab is a perfect example of how the electromagnetic coil can change polarity quickly and thereby vibrating a plate/cup. The vibrating plate/cup vibrates the air (also known as sound waves) then reach our ears. An amplifier is used to increase the volume to audible levels.

 

Mini Lesson: Coil Launcher

Coil Launcher

Coming Soon

Mini Lesson: Coil Motor

Coil Motor

Concepts Learned

  • Right-hand rule
  • Electromagnets
  • Magnetism

Lesson Handouts

In Action

By sending electricity through a coil, we create a electromagnet. The increase in the number of coils and/or the increased amount of electricity will increase the magnetic force of the coil (electromagnet). This lab serves to reinforce the concept of the "right-hand rule".

Mini Lesson: Police Lights

Police Lights

Concepts Learned

  • 555 timers
  • Role of Resistors and Capacitors
  • Frequency

Lesson Handouts

In Action

This lesson focused on learning the concepts of resistors and capacitors. With the use of a 555 timer, students learn that depending on the value of the resistor or capacitance value, the charging and discharing rate changes. The larger the resistance and larger capacitance, the slower the lights flashed.

Mini Lesson: European Police Siren

European Police Siren

Concepts Learned

  • 555 timers
  • Role of Resistors and Capacitors
  • Frequency

Lesson Handouts

In Action

This lesson focused on learning the concepts of resistors and capacitors. With the use of a 555 timer, students learn that depending on the value of the resistor or capacitance value, the charging and discharing rate changes. This frequency when translated to a speaker is the tone/pitch of the speaker. Another 555 timer is used to vary the rate at which the siren changes pitch.

Useful Links

Useful Resources

Links

Science-Related Videos

Videos

Physics Rap

They Might be Giants - ROY G. BIV

They Might be Giants - Speed and Velocity

Back to Herrick's Webpage
Design downloaded from free website templates.