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Accidental Scientist: Science and Technology of Cooking
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This site looks at the science behind food and cooking. Learn about what happens when you eat sugar, bake bread, cook an egg, or pickle foods. Find out how muscle turns to meat, what makes meat tender, and what gives meat its flavor. Take tours of breads and spices of the world. Explore your sense of taste and smell.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Middle School Portal: Math and Science Pathways (MSP2)
Author:
Exploratorium
Afterimage
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In this activity about light and perception, learners discover how a flash of light can create a lingering image called an "afterimage" on the retina of the eye. Learners will be surprised when they continue to see an image of a bright object after staring at it and looking away. Use this activity to introduce learners to principles of optics and perception as well as to explain why the full moon often appears larger when it is on the horizon than when it is overhead. This lesson guide also includes a few extensions like how to take "afterimage photographs."

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Agar Cell Diffusion
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All biological cells require the transport of materials across the plasma membrane into and out of the cell. By infusing cubes of agar with a pH indicator, and then soaking the treated cubes in vinegar, you can model how diffusion occurs in cells. Then, by observing cubes of different sizes, you can discover why larger cells might need extra help to transport materials.

Subject:
Chemistry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Angle Hunting
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In this activity, learners use a hand-made protractor to measure angles they find in playground equipment. Learners will observe that angle measurements do not change with distance, because they are distance invariant, or constant. Note: The "Pocket Protractor" activity should be done ahead as a separate activity (see related resource), but a standard protractor can be used as a substitute.

Subject:
Geometry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
Anti-Gravity Mirror
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In this demonstration, amaze learners by performing simple tricks using mirrors. These tricks take advantage of how a mirror can reflect your right side so it appears to be your left side. To make the effect more dramatic, cover the mirror with a cloth, climb onto the table, straddle the mirror, and then drop the cloth as you appear to "take off." This resource contains information about how this trick was applied during the making of the movie "Star Wars."

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Anti-Sound Spring
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In this simple exploration, a coiled phone cord slows the motion of a wave so you can see how a single pulse travels and what happens when two traveling wave pulses meet in the middle.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Avalanche
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What starts out as a cascade of well-mixed granular materials sorts itself into alternating layers of salt and sand.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Balancing Ball
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Read the Fine Print
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This webpage from Exploratorium provides an activity that demonstrates the Bernoulli principle with readily available materials. In this activity a table tennis ball is levitated in a stream of air from a vacuum cleaner. The site provides an explanation of what happens, asks questions about the activity, and also describes applications to flight. This activity is part of Exploratorium's Science Snacks series.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Balancing Stick
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In this quick and simple activity, learners explore how the distribution of the mass of an object determines the position of its center of gravity, its angular momentum, and your ability to balance it. Learners discover it is easier to balance a wooden dowel on the tip of their fingers when a lump of clay is near the top of the stick. Use this activity to introduce learners to rotational inertia.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
"Baseketball"
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This trick from Exploratorium physicist Paul Doherty lets you add together the bounces of two balls and send one ball flying. When we tried this trick on the Exploratorium's exhibit floor, we gathered a crowd of visitors who wanted to know what we were doing. We explained that we were engaged in serious scientific experimentation related to energy transfer. Some of them may have believed us. If you'd like to go into the physical calculations of this phenomenam, see the related resource "Bouncing Balls" - it's the same activity but with the math explained.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Paul Doherty
The Exploratorium
Benham's Disk
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In this optics activity, learners discover that when they rotate a special black and white pattern called a Benham's Disk, it produces the illusion of colored rings. Learners experiment with the speed of rotation and direction of rotation to observe varying patterns. Use this activity to explain to learners how our eyes detect color and how different color receptors in the eye respond at different rates.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
Don Rathjen
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Bernoulli Levitator
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Demonstrate the Bernoulli Principle using simple materials on a small or large scale. This resource includes two activities that allow learners to experience the Bernoulli Principle, in which an object is suspended in air by blowing down on it. Use this activity to explain how atomizers work and why windows are sometimes sucked out of their frames as two trains rush past each other.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Beyond Dominoes
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In this activity, learners add squares to paper dominoes to make polyominoes. Learners explore how many ways they can arrange squares to create trominoes (three squares), tetrominoes (four squares), and pentominoes (five squares). Learners also calculate the perimeters and areas of each polyomino as well as experiment with rotation and reflection.

Subject:
Geometry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
Bicycle-Wheel Gyro
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In this activity, a spinning bicycle wheel resists efforts to tilt it and point the axle in a new direction. Learners use the bicycle wheel like a giant gyroscope to explore angular momentum and torque. Learners can participate in the assembly of the Bicycle Wheel Gyro or use a preassembled unit to explore these concepts and go for an unexpected spin!

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Blue Sky
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In this optics activity, learners explore why the sky is blue and the sunset is red, using a simple setup comprising a transparent plastic box, water, and powdered milk. Learners use a flashlight to shine a beam of light through the container. Learners look at the beam from the side of the container and then from the end of the tank, and compare the colors that they see. Learners also examine a narrower beam of light. Use this activity to introduce learners to the light spectrum, wavelengths, frequency, scattering, and how all this effects what we see in the sky at different times of the day.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Bone Stress
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In this optics activity, learners examine how polarized light can reveal stress patterns in clear plastic. Learners place a fork between two pieces of polarizing material and induce stress by squeezing the tines together. Learners will observe the colored stress pattern in the image of the plastic that is projected onto a screen using an overhead projector. Learners rotate one of the polarizing filters to explore which orientations give the most dramatic color effects. This activity can be related to bones, as bones develop stress patterns from the loads imposed upon them every day.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Bubble Suspension
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In this activity, learners observe as soap bubbles float on a cushion of carbon dioxide gas. Learners blow bubbles into an aquarium filled with a slab of dry ice. Learners will be amazed as the bubbles hover on the denser layer of carbon dioxide gas, then begin to expand and sink before freezing on the dry ice. Use this activity to discuss sublimation, density, and osmosis as well as principles of buoyancy, semipermeability, and interference.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
The Exploratorium
Building Three-Dimensional (3D) Structures
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In this activity, learners practice drawing 3D structures in two dimensions. Learners draw cube stacks from five different points of view. Use this activity to help learners discern between 2D and 3D as well as explore reflections and perspective.

Subject:
Geometry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
Burn a Peanut
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In this activity, learners burn a peanut, which produces a flame that can be used to boil away water and count the calories contained in the peanut. Learners use a formula to calculate the calories in a peanut and then differentiate between food calories and physicist calories as well as calories and joules.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
Paul Doherty
The Exploratorium
Cafe Wall Illusion
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In this fun and interactive online exhibit, the straight lines of a tile wall appear to curve. The learner moves the rows of tiles and changes the color of the grout to achieve the intriguing effect. Although the exhibit requires a computer, the concept can be adapted into a longer, hands-on exploration of optical illusions.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
The Exploratorium
Cake by Conduction
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In this demonstration, cook a cake using the heat produced when the cake batter conducts an electric current. Because of safety concerns, this activity should be conducted as a demonstration only and learners should be kept at a safe distance.

Subject:
Chemistry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
The Exploratorium
Cardboard Automata
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Cardboard Automata are a playful way to explore simple machine elements while creating a mechanical sculpture. This activity was inspired by the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, a group of automata builders based in England. Artists like Paul Spooner, Keith Newstead, and Carlos Zapata build beautiful narrative pieces using elegant mechanisms based on cams, gears, springs, and linkages. Working with simple materials, this activity is easy to get started, and may become as complex as your mechanical sculpture ideas.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
Charge and Carry
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In this activity about electricity, learners produce a spark that they can feel, see, and hear. Learners rub a Styrofoam plate with wool to give it an electric charge. Then, they use the charged Styrofoam to charge an aluminum pie pan. Essentially, learners build an electrophorus (Greek for "charge carrier"). This resource also contains instructions on how to build a large charge carrier called a "Leyden Jar" using a plastic film can.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
Don Rathjen
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Circles of Magnetism I
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In this activity related to magnetism and electricity, learners create a magnetic field that's stronger than the Earth's magnetic field. Learners use electric currents that are stronger than the field of the Earth to move a compass needle. The assembly is made using a lantern battery, heavy wire, a Tinkertoy㢠set, and poster board and utilizes 4-6 small compasses and 2 electrical lead wires.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Colored Shadows
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In this optics activity, learners discover that not all shadows are black. Learners explore human color perception by using colored lights to make additive color mixtures. With three colored lights, learners can make shadows of seven different colors. They can also explore how to make shadows of individual colors, including black. Use this activity demonstrate how receptors in the retina of the eye work to see color.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Convection Current
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In this activity, learners make their own heat waves in an aquarium. Warmer water rising through cooler water creates turbulence effects that bend light, allowing you to project swirling shadows onto a screen. Use this demonstration to show convection currents in water as well as light refraction in a simple, visually appealing way.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Cookie Subduction
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This is a quick activity that shows how large amounts of rock and sediment are added to the edge of continents during subduction. You may ask, how can such a huge phenomenon be demonstrated quickly and cheaply? The answer is simple: with a cookie!

Subject:
Geology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
The Exploratorium
Copper Caper
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In this activity, learners conduct an oxidation experiment that turns old pennies bright and shiny. Learners soak 20 dull, dirty pennies in a bowl of salt and vinegar for five minutes. They rinse half the pennies with water, then compare the rinsed pennies to the unrinsed after all pennies sit and dry for about an hour. Learners also observe what happens when they submerge a screw and nail in the liquid compared to a nail only half-way submerged.

Subject:
Chemistry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Ellen Klages
Exploratorium
Jason Gorski
Linda Shore
Pat Murphy
The Exploratorium
Corner Reflector
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In this optics/mathematics activity, learners use two hinged mirrors to create a kaleidoscope that shows multiple images of an object. Learners discover that the number of images reflected in the mirrors depends on the angle between the mirrors. Learners also observe that when they set the hinged mirrors on top of a third mirror, they create a reflector that always sends light back in the direction from which it came. Use this activity to introduce basic principles of light and optics including angle of reflection and angle of incidence.

Subject:
Mathematics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
The Crayon Rock Cycle
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In this activity, learners use crayons to draw conclusions about rocks and the rock cycle. Learners form crayons ((which can be "weathered"--heated, compressed and cooled--like rocks) into models of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.

Subject:
Geology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Eric Muller
The Exploratorium
Diffraction
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In this optics activity, demonstrate diffraction using a candle or a small bright flashlight bulb and a slide made with two pencils. Learners will observe the diffraction pattern and learn that light has wavelike properties.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
The Dirt on Dirt
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In this fun gardening activity, learners discover their soil type. There are three basic soil types: sand, silt, and clay. Using only a jar, water and a bit of water softener, learners will sort their soil into its parts. The activity includes a "What's going on" section as well as information about what makes a soil ideal for gardening.

Subject:
Agriculture
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
The Exploratorium
Drawing Board
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The Drawing Board consists of a marking pen that remains stationary and a platform that swings beneath the pen, acting as a pendulum. As the platform swings, the pen marks a sheet of paper that is fastened to the platform, generating beautiful repetitive patterns. These colorful designs contain hidden lessons in physics. This resource includes instructions for making a large-scale Drawing Board as well.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Eddy Currents
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In this activity related to magnetism and electricity, learners discover that a magnet falls more slowly through a metallic tube than it does through a nonmetallic tube. Use this activity to illustrate how eddy currents in an electrical conductor create a magnetic field that exerts an opposing force on the falling magnet, which makes it fall at a slower rate. This activity guide also includes demonstration instructions involving two thick, flat pieces of aluminum to illustrate the same principle.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
Don Rathjen
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Electrical Fleas
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In this activity about electricity, learners explore how static electricity can make electric "fleas" jump up and down. Learners use a piece of wool cloth or fur to charge a sheet of acrylic plastic. Then, they observe as tiny bits of Styrofoam, spices, ceiling glitter, or rice (aka "fleas") jump up to the plastic and then back down.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Author:
California Department of Education
National Science Foundation
NEC Foundation of America
The Exploratorium
Electroplating
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In this electrochemistry activity, learners will explore two examples of electroplating. In Part 1, zinc from a galvanized nail (an iron nail which has been coated with zinc by dipping it in molten zinc) will be plated onto a copper penny. In Part 2, copper from a penny will be plated onto a nickel.

Subject:
Chemistry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
The Exploratorium
Electrostatic Water Attraction
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In this activity, learners conduct a simple experiment to see how electrically charged things like plastic attract electrically neutral things like water. The plastic will attract the surface of the water into a visible bump.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Paul Doherty
The Exploratorium