Education Round Table Notes, 3/11/02

Topic: Iron Demonstrator!

This week, attendees participated in our own version of "Iron Chef". Everyone was allowed to select two items from the demonstration supplies, and then had 20 minutes to come up with as many concepts that could be demonstrated using that equipment as possible. Here are some of the ideas.

Bar Magnets (B. Miller)
  • Using one in conjunction with iron filings on an overhead projector demonstrates the Earth's magnetic field
  • Using two, you can demonstrate the 21 cm line spin-flip transition. Set one bar magnet on top of the other with like poles aligned. The top magnet will rotate until the opposite poles are aligned.
Chalkboard Globe (J. Hague)
  • Draw the equator, other lines of interest for the earth or another planet
  • Velcro a plane on to the surface of the globe at the location of College Park to mark the horizon and the normal to the horizon.
  • Use to demonstrate the varying sunrise, sunset times at different latitudes
  • Demonstrate how the angle of the sun's rays effects the seasons - can be done by shining a laser pointer at different angles and looking a different spreads of the beam.
  • Spherical Trig demonstrations
Photometer and Light Box (D. Richardson)
  • 1/r^2 law - need a beam large enough to fill the detector of the photometer.
  • Used with prism, demonstrate white light composed of multiple wavelengths
  • Look at which filters eat up more light than others - what is the peak wavelength of the light source.

Notes on using the photometer: The detector should be placed into the slot on top of the photometer.

AstroBlaster (R. Shetty)
  • Can be used to demonstrate supernovas
  • Can also be used to talk about action/reaction
  • By taking the plastic stick and using it to whack each ball, you can demonstrate inertia. It takes a bigger whack to get the bigger ball to move.
  • Differentiation - put a heavy ball on one end of the stick and a lighter ball on the other. Spin the stick around a center point on the tip of your finger and look to see which side falls down first.
Oblate Spheroid Machine (K. Shockey)

This is designed to show how a sphere oblates as it rotates. You can use it to talk about these situations

  • Saturn - why is Saturn more oblate that Jupiter?
  • The flattening of disks of gas.
  • Precession (the machine is a little wobbly!)