Make a simple spectroscope and learn how scientists identify the elements in the stars! Or build your own electric motor! These activities and more are simple and inexpensive ways to get your students engaged in science. Each exercise comes with complete instructions including what to buy, and how to conduct each simple experiment or activity in your own classroom.

 

Easy-to-make models of an electric motor, home-made spectroscope using an old CD, perform Galileo's famous acceleration experiment, get refraction index using a low-cost laser pointer, and more...

It really spins around! - Simple models of electric motor
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 Maria Dobkowska
Zespół Szkół Integracyjnych nr 62
im. Raoula Wallenberga
Warsaw, Poland


  Arvind Gupta
ArvindGuptaToys, India

http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/

  Ariel Majcher
The Andrzej Soltan Institute for Nuclear Studies
Otwock - Świerk, Poland



  Grzegorz F. Wojewoda
Zespół Szkół Ogólnokształcących nr 4
Bydgoszcz, Poland



Simple models of an electric motor


Easy-to-make models of an electric motor have been shown at the international festivals Physics on Stage and Science on Stage, visited by teachers and popularizers of physics and other natural sciences. We wish to describe here slightly modified models of an electric motor, which can make physics lessons far more interesting. The models can be easily made by each pupil of the middle school (gymnasium), whereas in high school the models can encourage pupils to further analysis of acting forces.


Silnik elektryczny  Silnik elektryczny 2 
 motor/uzwojenie 07  motor/uzwojenie 11



It really spins around! Simple models of electric motors 

 

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Observations of various spectra with a home-made spectroscope
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  Maite Lacarra
Université Pierre et Marie Curie
Paris, France

  Ariel Majcher
Center for Theoretical Physics, PAS
Warsaw, Poland


Spectra around us - studies with a home-made spectroscope

Have you already got your own spectroscope? If not, build a spectroscope following the instruction from here and point it at different sources of light. You will see that not every source of light shines in the same way. A spectroscope decomposes light that comes to you into components in a form of spectrum with use of diffraction grating. Two examples of such spectrum can be seen below:

 

   


We suggest here three exercises consisting in examining spectra of different sources of light, which can be done with use of your spectroscope. To do the exercise you will need a sheet of paper and something to write with, in order to put down the results of your observations. The spectra can also be photographed, but for the purpose of this exercise, a sheet of paper, a pen and possibly coloured felt-tips shall be just fine.

  • 1.  Observation of spectra of different sources of light and comparison of observation results with provided examples. This allows to identify different types of light bulbs - classical, energy-saving, fluorescent lamp.
  • 2. Identification of the observed spectrum lines in emission spectra.
  • 3.  Observation of a yellow spectrum line of sodium.
  • 4. Observation and identification of absorption lines in a spectrum of sunlight.

Spectra around us

Read more: Observations of various spectra with a home-made spectroscope

Simple model of a generator
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Build a simple generator using easily available material

  polish flagGrzegorz F. Wojewoda

I liceum Ogólnokształcące
Bydgoszcz

Very often students have difficulty with understanding the phenomena associated with electro-magnetic induction. At the same time current flowing in home power supply network system is inductive current. In order to help students better understand the physical basis of operation of generators in power plants, I propose building a simple generator model with spinning magnet.

needed material

finished generator
  Material needed for the experiment
 The completed generator

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Determination of the index of refraction using a laser pointer
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Determination of the index of refraction using a laser pointer


  Grzegorz F. Wojewoda
I High School
Bydgoszcz, Poland

The advent of low-cost lasers, like laser-pointers or laser-levels, allows us to experimentally verify in classrooms values of refractive indices quoted in textbooks! We have prepared 2 exercises in which students can measure a value of a refractive index by themselves with use of a diffraction grating and a polarizer.

Warning!
Never put the laser beam in direction of eyes! 
Laser beam can permanently damage vision!
 
 

Measuring index of refraction



Read more: Determination of the index of refraction using a laser pointer

A home-made spectroscope
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  Angela Turricchia
Laboratorio per la Didattica Aula Planetario
Comune di Bologna, Włochy

  Ariel Majcher
Center for Theoretical Physics, PAS
Warsaw, Poland


A home-made spectroscope helps to realize that different sources of light do not shine in the same way.

A spectroscope decomposes light that comes to you into components in a form of spectrum with use of diffraction grating. An example of spectrum can be seen below.
You can build your spectroscope in two versions: the basic one, which can be constructed from elements around you and the "lux" one, which is also easy to make, yet requires custom-made elements.

 

 
  gotowy spektroskop  widmo 

Home-made spectroscope


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Google Maps or how to find a satellite image of the place I live!!!
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Google Maps 3 Would you like to learn how to find in the internet a satellite image of a place you live? Or a map of your neighbourhood? Plan your excursion on the weekend or see how to get to the holiday destination?

The interactive portal  Google Maps is just for that!!! Have yourself a look at new, updated satellite images !!! 

Click  to see a satellite image and a map of the Wawel Hill with Cathedral and Royal Castle in Cracow, Poland. 

This instruction has been kindly provided by G. Myrda -Geostrada.com .

Translated by Malgorzata Czart . 

Read more: Google Maps or how to find a satellite image of the place I live!!!

Google Earth or how to find a map of your place on line !!!
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Google Earth Icon

Check, how you can use Google Earth , a free software which allows you to find a map or a satellite photo of any place on Earth. With Google Earth you can plan an excursion, a pathfinder game, or a trip for vacations...or just browse around Our Planet.
 
 

The instruction has been kindly provided by  G. Myrda from Geostrada.com.

Translated by Malgorzata Czart. 

Read more: Google Earth or how to find a map of your place on line !!!

How to build a magnetic torch
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How to build your own flashing flash-light

polish flagKrzysztof Pawłowski
Center for Theoretical Physics, PAS

Warsaw, Poland

Faraday's Law? "Oh...", "The relationship between change in magnetic flux linking...", "A student should be acquainted with CONTENTS of a definition ...".

We shall present the concept of how to reconcile program requirements with the effective teaching of an age-old students’ nightmare - one of Maxwell's laws.

As usual, this principle can be illustrated by a simple and effective experiment. This time, we shall show how to build your own flashing flash-light alias bicycle dynamo. 

magnetyczna latarka  dziala 



Read more: How to build a magnetic torch

The Bright Field Microscope
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  Typical components of a Bright Field Microscope

Figure 1: Typical components of a Bright Field Microscope

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Free Fall
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minervg.gif
  Following the steps of Galileo, perform his famous Acceleration Experiment and measure the value of the Earth's gravitational acceleration



 

Description of experiment.
  Click on an icon to download presentation and movie..
   
Tomasz Skowron
XII High School
Szczecin, Poland
Janusz Cichor
3rd Gymnasium
Augustów, Poland
 


Enjoyed your successful experiment? Send us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. a description of your setup and .avi file. We will publish the most interesting contributions!

Read more: Free Fall

Refraction, or "bent" light !
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IAY09


Refraction, or "bent" light

Krzysztof Pawłowski
Center for Theoretical Physics PAS
Warsaw, Poland

Is it possible to demonstrate reflection and refraction of light on lessons of physics in a more interesting way? Does a lesson on basic properties of light have to be a boring reasoning on a board, remembered by students only until the first test? We present here a highly spectacular and non-intuitive experiment, which allows to measure Snell's laws, explains why we can see setting Sun, even though it is actually below the horizon, and which explains how mirages are created. The time of preparation - about 20 minutes (4 hours before the lesson!), the cost - few Euros.


refraction


Refraction - "bent" light


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Eureka! Light is a wave !
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How to see that light is a wave – home laboratory of laser optics

  Grzegorz F. Wojewoda
IV Liceum Ogólnokształcące
Bydgoszcz, Poland

Eureka! Light is a wave!

We would like that our students could shout it with full conviction. In order to achieve it we can allow them to "play" in a darkened lab to make them discover phenomena of diffraction and light interference with use of simple and low-cost instruments. Availability of those instruments makes it possible to create in a classroom a number of stands for studying those phenomena. If conducting experiments during lessons is impossible or difficult, the experiments suggested by us can well be made at home by students. All experiments described here were conducted by the author of that paper at home during long autumn evenings. And there are still many more dark evenings to come, when all those experiments can be performed by our students.



Attention! 
Do not point laser beam into anyone's eyes! There is a danger of permanent damage to vision!
Take special precautions when preparing razor blades - their cutting edge can cut your skin!

 
gotowy zestaw doświadczalny
 

 
dyfrakcja
 

Home laser optical laboratory

 

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Camera Obscura
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minervg.gif  Darken your classroom and use a webcam adapted for long exposure to demonstrate how does a Camera Obscura work... 

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Palm pipe music!
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Palm Pipe Music

Krzysztof Pawłowski
Center for Theoretical Physics  PAS
 Warsaw
 
Julia Budziszewska
Department of Biology of Warsaw University
Warsaw, Poland



You want to know how the organ work? You can easily check it in this experiment. It is both a colorful illustration to a lesson on acoustics and an interesting toy for the youngest. The time of preparation - about 40 minutes, the cost - about a few Euros.



palm pipes


We gratefully acknowledge inspiration by  Hisa Eksperimentov (http://www.h-e.si/)

Google, asked about the 'palm pipe music' finds many English language instructions and plenty of melodies. We recommend however to check carefully the key before one takes a melody from some web page. For reasons unknown to us, the US web sites contain mostly palm pipe melodies adapted to the f-dur key. 


Playing pipes
Melodies


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Remotely Controlled Physics Experiments in Mechanics, Electromagnetism and Optics !
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Remotely Controlled Laboratory Experiments - Classical Physics

 

 It is not always possible to set up a classroom experiment. Lack of time or funds to set up an experiment? Do not panic! Nowadays, internet opens completely new possibilities by allowing users to perform live laboratory experiments in very much the same way as operating a remotely controlled telescopes or radiotelescopes .

logo professor JodlProfessor Hansjorg Jodl from Technical University in Kaiserslautern in Germany has created with his collaborators and students the Remotely Controlled Laboratory Portal .

Professor Franz Schauer from Tomas Bata Technical University in Zlin and University of Trnava in Czech Republic together with his Czech and Slovak collaborators used Intelligent School Experimental System (ISES) to build interactive real time remote physics experiment site.

 

All experiments can be controlled using ordinary browser. There is absolutely no danger of unexpected interference, in other words you cannot inflict any damage to the apparatus. Just click on links above or on images below, and enjoy!

 Electromagnetic induction  Photovoltaic cell experiment

Electromagnetic induction
  Czech Republic

  Photovoltaic cell
  Czech Republic 

 Water level control experiment  Wind tunnel experiment

Water level control
Czech Republic 

Wind tunnel experiment
TGZ GmbH, Germany 

 oscilloscope  diffraction and interference

Oscilloscope
TU Kaiserslautern, Germany

Diifraction and interference
ALP, Dillingen, Germany 

 oscilloscope  diffraction and interference

Forced oscillator
Czech Republic 

Diifraction on a slit
Czech Republic  

Gnomon
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minervp.gif  Gnomon, or a Sun Dial. Great instrument to find North-South direction, longitude, lattitude... 

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Frame-by-frame films
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minervg.gif

Have you ever observed in detail how a plant grows or seeds develop? They normally grow so slowly that in everyday life we barely notice their evolution. Here, we show you how to  register such slow processes as frame-by-frame films using our SalsaJ software and share observations of plant growth, changing cloud patterns, the Moon wandering slowly over the sky, or a growing crystal ...

 

 


  

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Webcam and a school microscope - a new door to the microworld !!!
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Webcam attached to a school microscope with a simple adapter opens new opportunities for registration of biological images. Below, we show a couple of images taken with the project's webcam and a school microscope by our TRA, Lucyna Gut from Libiąż in Poland. 
 
Can you use the image of a diffraction grid, taken under exactly the same conditions as other images, to gauge  typical size of various cells? 
 
If you are interested in application of webcams to biological images, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please note that any webcam with removable lense will do for microscope images, long exposure modification mandatory for astronomical applications is not necessary!

 Apple leaf  diffraction grid L50
 leaf - apple tree
 diffraction grid 50 lines/mm
łodyga powojnika korzen bobu
traveller's-joy - stalk bean - root
 liść jabłoni  łodyga dyni
leaf - apple tree
pumpkin - stalk
 stożek wzrostu łodygi  zalążnia tytoniu
 growing point
 tobacco - ovary

How to build a spectroscope
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 Considering that - in order to measure the mass of a galaxy, or to study many properties of stars and for many many applications - Astronomers analyse the spectra of light emitted by the gases involved, here you can find some activities about spectroscopy. 

 

Read more: How to build a spectroscope

Remotely Controlled Laboratory Subatomic Experiments !
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logo professor Jodl

 

Remotely Controlled Laboratory - Subatomic Experiments

 

 It is not always possible to set up  classroom experiment, especially if it deals with subatomic phenomena. Professor Hansjorg Jodl from Technical University in Kaiserslautern in Germany has created with his collaborators and students from Germany and Finland the Remotely Controlled Laboratory Portal which allows users to perform live laboratory experiments in very much the same way as operating a remotely controlled telescopes or radiotelescopes .

 All experiments can be controlled using ordinary browser. There is absolutely no danger of unexpected interference, in other words you cannot inflict any damage to the apparatus. Just click on the RCL link above or on images below, and enjoy! Experiments are supported by a detailed documentation and discussion set of problems for students. We strongly recommend to read the documentation before starting actual experiments.

 Electron diffraction  Milikan experiment

Electron diffraction on Carbon
  TU Kaiserslautern, Germany 

 Milikan experiment
Helsinki, Finland 

 Rutherford experiment

Rutherford scattering experiment
TU Kaiserslautern, Germany 


How to determine the Earth circumference
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   This ressource is proposed by Stephan Chauveau (French TRA).

  pdf eraen.pdf 24/03/2006,13:09 242.58 Kb

Power of Tens
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Have you ever looked at some large numbers and observed how many zeros there are? For scientists investigating our place in Space and the wider universe the numbers can become extremely large. Scientists can deal with these large numbers by abbreviating them. This concept is known as powers of ten.



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Pencil tensometric balance
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Pencil tensometric balance

Bogusław Malański
Sternfeld Planetarium and Observatory,
Łódź, Poland

A strain gauge is a sensor, which changes some quantity, for example, electrical resistance under the influence of deformation associated with stress. Such sensors are attached to the sample objects that are then subjected to deformation forces.


ołowek2  waga 




Pencil tensometric balance


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Frame-by-frame films with a school microscope
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Frame-by-Frame films with a school microscope

  Krzysztof Makowski
Department of Biotechnology and Food Sciences
Technical University of Lodz, Poland

Webcams not only allow observations of planets and stars, but they can  record growth of life under the microscope. It is illustrated by a frame-by-frame films showing growth of an unidentified mould strain isolated from the air.

mould strain growth

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