Tag Archive for: demonstration

Physics with Food

One of the things I love about physics is that you can find it everywhere.  And more importantly, the ideas that we teach at school can be easily demonstrated using everyday objects.

As part of an IOP day for teachers, I put together a series of demos and experiments that all used food.   They were chosen because they could be used to introduce or explore different physics topics.

We moved magnetic grapes, poured density cocktails and ate chocolate.

Layered drink

Density cocktail

More importantly (if there can be anything more important than eating chocolate) we also discussed how we would use the demos and experiments in class.  Although many of the demos fit well into one or other keystage, the teachers suggested different ways that they could be used.

I’ve put together the activity guides here: Food Sheets Combined (pdf)

We also looked at the Rethink Your Drink campaign from California Department of Public Health.  This links common soft drinks with the amount of sugar in the bottle or can.  It can be used in physics to introduce the idea of energy stored in foods and in PSHE to look at healthy diets.


Comparing sweetener and sugar in diet and normal cola drinks

ASE 2016: Slides and Notes

Notes, slides, and additional links for Think Physics’ sessions at the ASE Annual Conference, 2016.

Jelly Baby Wave Machine

The legendary jelly baby wave machine started out as an item in a children’s TV show back in 2004, and is now seen in classrooms around the world. It’s a terrific demonstration for teaching wave motion: every component is familiar, they’re put together in an extremely simple way, yet the behaviour is surprising.

I made this film a good few years ago now, and it’s been available from the National STEM Centre’s excellent eLibrary, where we think it’s been the most popular single resource. However, you had to be logged in there in order to download a rather poor-quality version. Happily, the National STEM Centre have launched a new YouTube channel, and they’ve uploaded the original high-definition film in its full glory. All the other physics demonstration films I’ve made with teacher and film-maker Alom Shaha will follow over the coming weeks.

If you haven’t tried the jelly baby wave machine with your classes, do give it a go. There are support materials available from the eLibrary, and we think you’ll like the impact it has on your students.