Science Phenomena: HS Physical Science - Forces and Interactions (Phys 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4) - Rube Goldberg machines are named after American cartoonist Rube Goldberg who drew complicated steps involved in doing a fairly simple task (like pouring milk in a glass). Students can study these machines, or build their own, to show how energy can be converted through a series of interactions. In lower elementary classes they might be shown or built to show how pushes or pulls can change the motion of objects. As they move through school they should start to identify specific collisions, interactions, and conversions of energy.
Science Phenomena: HS Physical Science - Forces and Interactions (Phys 1.2, 4.1) - The Slinky was invented by Richard James, an engineer, who was working with springs to support and stabilize equipment on a ship. Simple slinky tricks show how forces (pushes and pulls) change the direction of an object. Students can design a set of stairs, or obstacles, that the Slinky can navigate. In the secondary science classroom it can be used to investigate inertia, oscillations, and Hooke's law. This phenomenon can also be used to investigate wave properties.
Science Phenomena: HS Physical Science - Forces and Interactions - Special caution should be taken when sitting down or getting up from a bed of nails. In this video, Steve Spangler used a motor to lift the entire bed of nails up and down safely. Each of the nails is pushing on the participant but since there are so many nails the force is distributed safely between all of the nails. This demonstration could be used in any physics unit discussing forces and pressure.
Science Phenomena: HS Physical Science - Energy - As ocean water freezes into solid ice the remaining saltwater forms into icy "stalactites" that descend into the ocean. This can be used as a phenomenon in an elementary class to show changes in state. In middle and high school the chemistry can be explored more deeply.
Science Phenomena: HS Physical Science - Waves and Information - Daniel Kish lost his eyes to cancer before he was 13 months old. He uses echolocation by listening to the reflection of sound waves to navigate in 3D space. He can even ride a bicycle. In addition to being an incredible story of perseverance this is a perfect phenomenon for a unit on waves. Sound waves are reflected, absorbed, and transmitted through objects in the environment and Daniel can sense the changes in energy of the returning waves.
Science Phenomena: HS Physical Science - Energy (Phys 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5) - An Earthship is a passive solar house that is designed to be off the electrical grid. It is generally constructed with natural and recycled materials. Much of the structure of the house is made with recycled tires that are filled with dirt. Thermal mass from the dirt, solar energy from the Sun, and cross-ventilation are used to keep the temperature within the house in a comfortable zone. This phenomenon can be used study thermal energy transfer, energy conservation, and human sustainability.
Science Phenomena: HS Physical Science - Chemical Reactions - Elephant toothpaste is a dramatic chemistry demonstration that involves the decomposition of concentrated hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into water and oxygen. Potassium iodide is used as a catalyst to speed up the reaction. Soap is added to trap the escaping oxygen gas and food coloring is often added to the experiment. This phenomenon can be using in elementary science classes to illustrate non-reversible reactions and can be studied in more detail in middle and high school.