Vol. 20: Teachers’ Pet Projects

We asked teachers to share their favorite classroom & science fair projects.

+ Downloads & Extras:

Tom Zimmerman - San Jose, CA

Animation Stand

In this workshop I go to a classroom with a few hundred white blank index cards and twist up crayons. I teach the students how to draw on each card, aligning the drawing with the previous card. I collect them and shoot them with a digital camera mounted in a copy stand made with PVC pipe, compile the images into an animated movie and post them on YouTube. The workshop teaches the principles of animation and gives then the ability to express themselves artistically. Animation Example

Light Sensor

This simple circuit measured light brightness. I hot glued three little magnets to different locates on a globe of the earth. Students place a light bulb a few feet away from the globe, simulating the sun. The light sensor also has a magnet which is attached to one of the locations on the globe. The students rotate the globe recording brightness as a function of rotation angle. A plot reveals how the sun's intensity varies with earth rotation and latitude of location. This was used to teach the basics of solar energy. The same sensor is used to demonstrate the relationship with distance and brightness of a light source. A light bulb is placed at one end of a tube. The light sensor is attached to a yard stick and is pushed towards the light. Students record the brightness as a function of distance and plot the results. The project demonstrates how light intensity falls with distance squared.

Contact Microscope

Here's how a student can convert a video, web or digital camera into a contact microscope, great for biology classes:

Example One
Example Two

Richard Delwiche - San Francisco, CA

"Membraneaerophones" are musical instruments that sound a little like oboes (made with PVC pipe, a film canister and a membrane).


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