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RoboEars

© ACS

© ACS

The story

I come across a lot of science news stories (as you can imagine) and  have noticed that journalists are attracted to certain topics – ones that they think have a certain ‘sexy’ appeal to their readers I imagine. Bionic body parts seems to be one of them – conjuring imagery of a future where we are all enhanced by ultra-efficient prosthetic body parts like RoboCop.

One of these stories that hit the press recently was the news that researchers in Princeton have created a ‘bionic’ ear. More

Electrifying stunt

Magician David Blaine has just completed this latest stunt – to stand on a platform for 72 hours whilst being ‘electrified’ by 1 million volts of electricity.

This video would be good in any lesson on electricity as it demonstrates the use of a Faraday cage in an unusual context. You could show the start of the video where he is getting dressed up in the chain-mail outfit and explain to the class what will happen to him. They can tell you how dangerous they think this stunt actually is and why.

Of course, he was in no real danger of being electrocuted as the metal in the suit conducted the charge and kept it away from his body. The only real risk that his body was under was the fatigue of having to stand up straight with no food or drink for 3 days.

School’s out! (nearly)

As we are coming up to the end of the year I suspect that many of you might be on the lookout for some educational, but fun science lesson ideas. So, I have decided to highlight a few of the ideas that I have written about that might be of use:

 

Teaching science using chocolate

A few fun ideas for experiments using chocolate that always go down well including the popular Brain-choc activity.

More

Meteor hits London!

OK – so this did not really happen. It”s a PR stunt to mark the start of science month on the TV channel, Eden. However, the video does talk about what could happen if a real meteor of this size hit London, and it would be a lot more devastating than one crushed taxi. More

The value of water

The story

All Earth's water, liquid fresh water, and water in lakes and rivers. Credit: Howard Perlman, USGS

As human population grows and pollution levels rise, our demand for clean water increases but its supply dwindles. How long will it be before our planet cannot provide its population with enough clean water to survive?
Some would say that this is already happening..

Japanese design company, Takram, was asked to design a water bottle that could be used to used to ensure that we could get enough daily water to survive if the worst case scenario become reality. But they went one step further and designed a set of cyborg organs, the Hydrolemic System, that could be used to reduce water loss from the body in order to keep intake down to a minimum.

The video shows how they would work.

More

LED: Light Emitting (whilst) Dancing

This video shows an amazing new type of light show at a recent Coldplay concert. Each audience member is given a wristband containing LEDs. These are controlled centrally so they light up in time to the music – a trully interactive experience.
Each wristband has a receiver, which allows data to be sent via radiowaves from a transmitter attached to a computer.
Showing the video would make an engaging start to a lesson on the uses of radiowaves.

Edible diamonds

Image: Mario Sarto @ wikimedia commons

The story

I have been busy in the kitchen for the past few weeks trying to perfect the technique for growing edible sugar ‘diamonds’ and I think I’ve just about cracked it. This is so I can share an activity with you for your KS2 or KS3 science classes that is related to the Queen’s diamond jubilee – the things I do in the name of science!

This is a gem of an activity (sorry!) that you could do as a fun lesson on the last day before the half-term break or you could give it to your students to complete as a homework over the holidays. All the equipment needed for the experiment you can easily find at home. More

Super stunt science

This video from last week shows stuntman Gary Connery falling 2400 feet without a parachute and surviving to tell the tale. This would be a great story in a lesson on forces with any age student.

The students could:

  • Name the forces acting on him as he fell.
  • Calculate his average speed by using time from the video clip and using the speed equation (2400 feet = 731.52 m). As he fell for around 19 seconds this makes it an incredible 38.5 m/s (86 mph)!
  • Draw force diagrams for when he just left the aeroplane (unbalanced forces), when he was at terminal velocity (balanced forces) and when he had just hit the boxes (unbalanced).
  • Explain why his suit helped him survive the fall. More able students can link forces, particles and energy in this explanation.
  • Calculate his potential energy when he was in the plane (mgh). Gary is approximately 84 kg.
  • Sketch a velocity/time graph for the fall.

If you have any other ideas – please leave a comment and share!

 

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