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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
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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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
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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This activity provides instructions for using a flashlight and aquarium (or other container of water) to explain why the sky is blue and sunsets are red. When the white light from the sun shines through the earth's atmosphere, it collides with gas molecules with the blue light scattering more than the other colors, leaving a dominant yellow-orange hue to the transmitted light. The scattered light makes the sky blue; the transmitted light makes the sunset reddish orange. The section entitled What's Going On? explains this phenomena.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
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
Bottle Racer
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Here’s a new “spin” on an old toy. In this modern adaptation of a classic toy—the spool racer—a plastic water bottle is propelled by energy stored in a wound-up rubber band.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks