Posts

First delivery of the year

One of the dubious joys of starting a project from scratch is that you have to order everything. Pens, pencils. Microscopes. Soldering irons. Infra-red cameras. Meteorite samples. A cubic metre of snow globes. You name it, we’ve filled in the purchase order form for it.

Which means the next joy is receiving exciting deliveries every day. A parade of cardboard passes through Think Lab, boxes which might contain retort stands. Or miniature plastic palm trees. Or meteorite samples. Or small pieces of black metal shipped from China that must, somehow, be camera gear but have taken so long to arrive we can’t entirely work out what they’re for.

Today’s exciting delivery was… telephone directories. Joe says he has a plan for them, but that’s all we’ve got out of him so far.

Anyway – happy new year, and if you’ve unused telephone directories lying around: watch this space. As the directories put it, it will be packed full of useful stuff.

 

Activity

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.