26 November 2012

What I've been up to

I have been terrible about blogging this school year.  One of the reasons I started this blog is to showcase the  fantastic things that happen in my classroom so I want to share some of that with you.  This year I decided to balance the boring aspects of my curriculum with some exciting (an over the top) activities to get my students excited about science again.

At the end of October, my supervisor asked me to perform a science demo for a group of 8th graders to keep them from choosing to go to a magnet school in the area.  Originally I was going to go with the typical Hydrogen balloon explosion or even shooting a T-shirt across the auditorium.  But then I came across this video on YouTube.  I looked at this and immediately said "I NEED TO DO THIS!!"

So here is the video of my demo.

I used about 1L of Liquid Nitrogen and covered it with 1500 ping pong balls.  I found them on Amazon and it cost about $100 with free shipping.  I apologize for the shakiness of the video; it was taken by a student on  my phone.

Doing this experiment inspired me to raise the bar a little on my demos.  A few friends of mine took the cornstarch and water demo to the next level by filling a small swimming pool with the stuff.  The video does not contain my friends.  I figured if they could do it, so could I.  I went to a Restaurant Depot near me and bought 300lbs of cornstarch (yes, 300 POUNDS!).

It turned out my pool was too small and I only used 150lbs, but now I have some for next year!!  We added about 10 gallons of water to the pool and, voila!, I turned seniors into Kindergartners.

And let me sophomores truly express themselves

And just let them explore science.