# Lessons

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displaying 1 - 10 of 21 lessons
title description rating updated author
Soda Bottle Rocket

This lesson gives instructions for a simple rocket that can be constructed out of a soda bottle and some alcohol in a matter of seconds. I also explain the basic principles of rocket propulsion (Newton's 3rd law) and offer some suggested design refinements, including a...

23-May-2017 guy
Basic Electromagnets

This lesson provides some general background on electromagnets and describes three simple activities for students to explore on their own. For reference, it also includes formulas for the magnetic field strength around several common types of electromagnets.

learning...

23-May-2017 guy
Zoetropes, Phenakistoscopes and Other Animation Toys

A lesson on zeotropes, phenakistoscopes and other vintage animation technologies, with explanations and attached printouts for making your own version.

22-May-2017 guy
Minimalist Motors

Building a simple motor is much easier than most people realize. All it takes is a battery, a magnet and a piece of wire. This lesson reviews some simple motors and demonstrates a minimalist design constructed from a button cell battery, some wire, and a small but...

7-Jan-2016 guy
Pendulum Waves

This lesson outlines the construction and operation of a pendulum wave machine that can be built from inexpensive materials in the classroom. Building the demonstration requires a fair amount of patience: construction only takes about 30 minutes, but adjustments and fine...

7-Jan-2016 guy
Measuring the Density of Pennies

This activity provides a detailed lesson in measurement and measurement errors, which can be adapted to many different age groups, starting with any group that knows a little bit of geometry (specifically, how to calculate the volume of a disk). The focus of the lesson is on...

7-Jan-2016 guy
Desk Chair Angular Momentum

Describes a simple demonstration of angular momentum conservation using a spinning desk chair. A short tutorial of angular momentum and angular momentum conservation is included.

28-May-2015 guy
Balancing Magnetic Coins

This lesson describes a magic trick with magnetic coins (or washers) that demonstrates some important principles in magnetism. It's a good lead-in to a conversation on magnetic materials and magnetization.

For other ideas and more in-depth explorations of magnetism,...

22-May-2015 guy
Phone Book Friction

It is possible to shuffle two phone books together in a way that they will withstand thousands of pounds of force to pull them apart. This lesson shows an example with discussion of the general principles.

23-Jun-2014 guy
Balancing Forks - A Study in Center of Mass

Two forks and a pair of toothpicks are all you need to perform an amazing balancing act (figure 7). Use this demonstration to teach students the fundamentals about "center of mass". A basic tutorial on center of mass concepts is included. Lecture slides are attached.

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12-Jun-2014 guy