investigations and experiments

Marbles, Inertia, and Paper Plates


This experiment started out as a Science Photo Challenge and got such a great response that I wanted you to experiment with it yourself. It is a wonderful physic puzzle, and offers interesting insights into the science of force and motion.

To try this, you will need:

  • a paper plate
  • scissors
  • a marble or other small ball

Lets start with the question from the Science Photo.

Feeling a Point (or two)

How do you feel? No, I don't mean are you happy or sad? Touch the back of your hand. Did you feel it? How? When you touched your hand, you pressed on nerves in your skin. These nerves reacted and sent a message to your brain, telling you that something touched your hand. Some parts of your skin have more nerves than others. We are going to examine how these nerves are arranged, and see how that can affect the message that your brain gets.

Creeping Carpets

This experiment is one that has been "cooking" in my mind for a while now. Today I had carpets on my mind, since I was cleaning them with our new carpet cleaner. We live at the beach, and our carpets tend to get dirty and sandy, so we place small rugs along the pathway that gets the most use. One problem is that the rugs don't stay there. They slowly migrate across the room. How can this happen? Is the cat doing it to drive us crazy? (She would if she thought it would work!) No, the cat is not involved. The movement is due to the interaction between the carpet and the rugs.

Cooling Fans

This experiment came from Diane in South-central Pennsylvania. She and her son were discussing ceiling fans, and how they make you feel cooler. They wanted to know if the fan actually cools the room, or does it just feel that way?

Cartesian Raisins

One of the fun things about thinking up new science experiments is combining two or more old ideas into one new one. This time, we will combine the Dancing Raisins activity with the Cartesian Diver.

Can Water Float?

There are many things that will float on water: pieces of wood, wax, Styrofoam, and many other things. They float because they are less dense than the water. Now for the question. Can water float on water? Is there a way to make water less dense?

The Science of Campfires

This experiment comes from my neighbors at the Malibu Creek State Park campground. While taking my morning walk, I heard a lady bragging to her husband that she started the campfire with only one match. That made me think of the fellow that I watched the night before as he poured two bottles of charcoal lighter fluid onto a pile of wood and still failed to get the fire going. He would pour on the liquid and get a huge blaze, which quickly died. How could the heat of one match work better than a gallon of blazing lighter fluid?

Broccoli Science

This time we will take a look at the science of cooking green vegetables. Now, some of you may be saying "Ick!", but even if you don't like to eat them, it is still interesting to watch them cook. Also, knowing some of the science may interest you enough to give them a second chance, and you may discover how delicious they are.

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