The Little Shop of Physics crew spent the first two weeks of 2018 doing what we love: sharing fun, hands-on science education, making new friends, having epic adventures, and trying not to get our solar hot air balloons stuck in acacia trees. Little Shop teamed up with B2Gold for a road trip to Namibia over CSU’s winter break, and we came back with lots of ideas and some great stories to share with you!
During the first week of October, LSOP visited Fort Washakie School on the Wind River Reservation. All 500 students got to spend 45 minutes exploring our 100+ hands-on science experiments.
Eva has an egg and a bottle. The egg will not fit in the mouth of the bottle. She uses two different methods to get atmospheric pressure to push the egg into the bottle. The first method uses hot water, some of which evaporates. The water vapor displaces the air inside of the bottle. When the bottle is cooled, the vapor condenses into a liquid, which decreases the pressure inside of the bottle. The second method is similar, but uses a small fire to heat the air inside of the bottle, causing the air to expand. When the flame goes out, the air cools, lowering the pressure on the inside of the bottle.
As part of the Great American Eclipse, the Little Shop of Physics along with ESMEI handed out 50,000 pairs of glasses in order for folks to safely view the sun. The majority of these glasses were provided free of charge to K-12 and college students, and the remainder were given away. $5,000 in donations were collected for Robert’s Orphanage in Uganda.
Continuing on our theme of atmospheric pressure, this week we experiment on increasing and decreasing pressure, and how it affects the air trapped inside of marshmallows.
Last week, we showed you how atmospheric pressure can be used to give a giant “bear hug”. This week, we use atmospheric pressure to crush a metal can.
A plastic bag is connected to a vacuum pump. Initially the air inside the bag pushes out with the same force as the air outside of the bag pushing in. However, when the air is pumped out of the bag there is nothing to counteract the atmosphere squeezing the bag against the bear.
Last time we saw that we can separate mixtures by using size and magnetism. This time we use density to separate a mixture. This process is used to separate different types of plastics so that they can be recycled.
River sand is a mixture: it’s a combination of many types and sizes of materials that are combined together without being chemically bonded to each other. Mixtures can be unmixed, or separated into component parts using various physics techniques.
On August 21, 2017 a total solar eclipse swept in a thin arc across the country, and a partial eclipse was viewable across almost the entire continental United States. This also happened to be the first day of the 2017-2018 academic year, and students all over Colorado State University took a break from their studies to watch this rare celestial event.