structure and function

Cone of Sound

Today I was playing with sound experiments, and had so much fun with this one that I thought I would share it.  It is based on the original phonographs, which used a very similar setup to play recordings of music or voices.  They used a large cone to increase the volume of the sound.

Catching Money

This experiment is one that I was reminded of while presenting a teacher workshop on hands-on science in the classroom. We were going over some of the easy, spur of the moment things that you can do for science, and one of the teachers reminded me of this one. It is fun and a bit amazing too.

Cat Wiggles

If you have ever watched a cat preparing to pounce on its favorite toy, you may have seen it wiggle its back legs from side to side just before it leaps. Why do they do that? It would seem that the movement would alert their prey, so there has to be a good reason for the behavior. To understand that, we need to learn a bit about muscles and tendons.

Cat Lapping

This experiment comes from a recent event in the science news. Researches have discovered that cats drink in a very different way from dogs and other mammals. Now you might think that things like this had been completely explored decades or even centuries ago, but high speed photography has shown us things that we did not suspect before.

Capillary Filter

One of the interesting things at St. Augustine, Florida's Oldest House is a large stone bowl with a bucket underneath. The stone bowl is half full of muddy water and there is a slow, steady drip of water from the bottom of the bowl to the bucket. Although the water in the bowl is a bit muddy, the water in the bucket is clear. Why?

Building a Nest

This experiment is one that we used for teaching about birds back when I worked in the Education Department at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum. On our trip, we went by to say Hi to old friends, which brought back tons of great memories. This is one of the fun things my brain dredged up.

Breathing Hot and Cold

One of the most common questions that I get is where do I get the ideas for these experiments. Some are old classics that I try to give a new angle. Others are the result of questions sent to me by subscribers. Some of the ones that I like the best are the ones that just pop up, seemingly out of nowhere. This is one of those. It also comes with its own story, which makes it even better.

The story is one of Aesop's fables. If you have never read any of these, go read some. It is well worth the time.

Bread Bubbles

This experiment is about bread. If you have used my website for long, you know that I like experiments with food, especially when it is tasty food. We regularly bake bread, and there are few smells that are better than the smell of freshly baked bread.

Whistle Stick

This experiment is a trick that my Grandfather taught me when I was very young. He called it a "whistle stick", and making one brought back delightful memories from my childhood. This experiment requires the use of a sharp knife, so if you are young, you may need adult assistance. It is not difficult, but even adults should keep safety in mind.

Thoughts on an Exoskeleton

Tarantula and molt
My Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eating Tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana)

My pet tarantula molted this week, which started me thinking about exoskeletons. While we have our skeletons on the inside, other creatures, such as spiders, insects, and crabs wear their skeletons on the outside of their bodies. What would it be like to have your skeleton on the outside instead of the inside?

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