Activites for Schools

Click to enter the 1st Annual School Competition


The 7 Revolvers will engage with schools and oversee a variety of exciting science and engineering experiments with their partner school! Students can choose from the following fun activities:-

  • Magnetic field lines

What it is?

Magnetic field lines are a visual tool used to represent magnetic fields. Magnets create these magnetic fields which cannot be seen. Magnetic fields fill the space around the magnet where the magnetic forces work. Magnets have two poles, a north pole and a south pole. The north pole of one magnet will repel and push away the north pole of another magnet. The south pole will repel another south pole. North and south poles are attracted to each other. Magnetic fields flow from North to South poles. By placing a piece of paper on top of a magnet and sprinkle fine iron powder on top, the shape of the invisible magnetic fields become visible as the fine iron powder clings to them

What do we need?

  • A bar magnet
  • iron filings
  • Petri dish
  • glue

Instructions:

  • Sprinkle a thin layer of iron filings inside the Petri dish.
  • Glue it
  • Place the bar magnet on top of the Petri dish containing the iron filings.

What do we expect to see?

If we released a north monopole near the north pole of the magnet, it would be repelled just like two positive charges placed in close proximity. Thus, we expect a field line emerging from the north pole and heading directly to the left down the -axis.

  • Above or below the -axis, the field lines should start to curl around and head toward the negative pole since north monopoles would be attracted in this direction.
  • If we put a north monopole between the -coordinates of the north and south pole, we should expect them to travel to the right while curving down to terminate at the south pole.
  • Finally, if we place north monopoles far away, but on the right side of the south pole, we should expect them to travel toward the south pole.

Sketch the field lines of the bar magnet:

Show us your sketch, your video, explain how is the density of the field lines closer or further from the poles. Where do they start? Where do they finish?


  • Magnets

What it is?

Magnets are simple examples of natural magnetic fields. But guess what? The Earth has a huge magnetic field. Because the core of our planet is filled with molten iron (Fe), there is a large field that protects the Earth from space radiation and particles such as the solar wind. But what else can the Earth magnetic field tell us?

If you’re lost in the woods, your best chance of finding your way might be a tiny magnet.

A magnet is what makes a compass point north, the small magnetic pin in a compass is suspended so that it can spin freely inside its casing and respond to our planet’s magnetism

What do we need?

  • A neodymium magnet
  • Paper Clips
  • A compass

Instructions:

  • Place the paper clips over a surface
  • Place the neodymium magnet on the top of your hand
  • Get your hand close to the clips.
  • With a compass find the north, south, east and west…

What do we expect to see?

Neodymium magnets also contain Iron and Boron, making them some of the strongest magnets in the world. The magnetic field created by the neodymium magnets is so strong, it will line up to match the magnetic north and south of the earth. It makes a great compass!

Show us your experiment with neodymium magnets …

Ask a friend to hide a treasure and give you directions with the compass “3 steps to the north…”. “2 jumps to the left…” and use your compass to find the treasure.


  • Static Electricity

What is it?

Electricity is a type of energy that can build up in one place or flow from one place to another. When electricity gathers in one place it is known as static electricity (the word static means something that does not move); electricity that moves from one place to another is called current electricity. This is very similar to a flowing river. The river flows from one spot to another and the speed it moves is the speed of the current.

Static electricity often happens when you rub things together.

What do we need?

  • Pen
  • Coloured tiny pieces of paper

Instructions:

  • Take a pen and rub it against you cloths, try to lift pieces of paper.

What do we expect to see?

Think about different experiments to show static electricity, you can use balloons, Styrofoam plates, coke cans, PCV pipes, bubble solution and a straw, polycarbonate sheets and Styrofoam balls…

magnets


  • Conductive dough

What is it?

When electrons move, they carry electrical energy from one place to another. This is called current electricity or an electric current. Electric currents are also involved in powering all the electrical appliances that you use, from washing machines to flashlights and from telephones to MP3 players. These electric currents last much longer.

For an electric current to happen, there must be a circuit. A circuit is a closed path or loop around which an electric current flows. A circuit is usually made by linking electrical components together with pieces of wire cable. In this next experiment instead of using cables we are going to use conductive dough. The conductive Play-Doh serves as a conductive material where electricity can pass.

What do we need?

  • 1 cup of water
  • Flour
  • ¼ a cup of salt
  • 3 tablespoons (tbsp.) cream of tartar or 9 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Optional: food coloring (a few drops).
  • LEDs
  • Battery

Instructions:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a clean mixing bowl. (only including 1 cup of flour for now.
  • Transfer the mixture to a pot.
  • Stir the mixture from step 1 continuously over medium heat until a dough ball forms.
  • Turn off the stove. Carefully remove the pot from the heat and dump the play dough back into your mixing bowl.
  • Wait several minutes for the mixture to cool. Once it has cooled down, knead (mix the dough with your hands) add additional flour until desired consistency is formed.

What do we expect to see?

Create your own circuits

 


  • Light reflection

  • Kaleidoscope

What is a Kaleidoscope?

A kaleidoscope is an optical instrument with two  reflecting surfaces tilted to each other in an angle. In this configuration, an object on one end of the mirrors are seen as a regular symmetrical pattern when viewed from the other end, due to repeated reflection.

What would you learn?

You will understand how light bounces between the mirrors of your kaleidoscope and have fun decorating it when finished.

What do you need?

3 pieces of mirrored perspex

A roll of duct tape or masking tape

Overhead transparency paper

Colored see-through plastic

A pencil

Instructions:

Take 3 pieces of mirrored perspex and tape them together to form a triangle shape.  Make sure it is solid and the tape is on the outside of the triangle.

Trace around the small triangle at the end of the kaleidoscope onto the overhead transparency paper (add another 1cm all the way around the triangle to allow for folding).

Place the transparency paper onto the end of the kaleidoscope and cut slits at the corners so the edges can be folded down.

Tape the transparency paper into place.

Draw another triangle, making this 2cm bigger than the last.

Decide what kind of colored see-through plastic you would like to put inside your kaleidoscope. Cut out small pieces that will sit on top of the transparency paper.

Put the colored plastic over the end of the kaleidoscope that has the transparency paper, and on top of that add the other (slightly bigger) triangle transparency paper.  Tape the second triangle down on top so that there is still just enough room for the plastic to move between the two transparencies.

When your kaleidoscope is finished feel free to design and decorate a cover using cardboard, felt pens, glitter, tubing or anything else you want to use.

What we expect to see?

Show us your kaleidoscope in pictures or a video, explain to us what you learn, why you choose your design, etc


 

  • Cat’s eye

  • Periscope

What is a Periscope?

A periscope is an angled tube equipped with mirrors, that allows to you see around corners and over walls.

What do you need?

−          Two 1l (2 pint) milk cartons

−          Two small pocket mirrors (flat, square ones preferably)

−          Utility knife

−          Ruler

−          Pencil or pen

−          Tape

Instructions:

Cut around the top of each milk carton with the knife to remove the “peaked top”.

Cut a hole at the bottom of the front of one of the milk cartons. Make sure that you leave about 0.5 cm (¼ inch) of carton on each side of the hole.

Put the carton on its side and turn it so that the hole you just cut is facing to your right. On the side that’s facing up, measure 7 cm (2 ¾ inches) up the left edge of the carton, and use the pencil to make a cut mark there. Now, use the ruler to draw a diagonal line from the bottom right corner to the mark you just made.

Start at the bottom right corner and cut on the drawn line. Make sure that you don’t cut all the way to the left edge of the carton – just make the cut as long as one side of your mirror. If your mirror is thick, widen the cut so that it fits in.

Slide the mirror through the slot so that its reflecting side faces the hole in the front of the carton. Tape the mirror loosely in place.

Hold the carton up to your eye and look through the hole that you cut. Now you should be able to see your ceiling through the top of the carton. If what you see looks somewhat tilted, adjust the mirror and tape it again

Repeat steps 2 to 6 with the second milk carton.

Put one carton up on a table, with the hole facing you. Place the other carton upside-down, so that the mirror on the top and the hole faces away from you.

Use your hand to pinch the open end of the upside-down carton just enough so that it can slide into the other carton. Tape the two cartons together.

Now you have a periscope! When looking through the bottom hole, you can see over fences that are taller than you. If you look through the top hole, you can see for example what is going on under tables. If you hold it sideways, you can see around corners.

What do we expect to see?

Show us your periscope in pictures or a video, explain to us what you have learnt and which discoveries you have made.


  • Looking into infinity
  • Light refraction
  • Water tank
  • Invisibility
  • Parabola
  • Hologram
  • 3D cinema
  • Illusions
  • Spinning disk illusion
  • Pixels
  • Colour filters
  • Colour mixing wheel
  • Stereo sound
  • Music box
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Talking strips
  • Talking cups

  • Hovercraft

What is a hovercraft?

A hovercraft is a vehicle that uses an air cushion to hover, almost without friction, over flat surfaces. Some of them can be used on land and water.

What do you need?

An old CD, DVD or Blu-ray disk

A balloon

A plastic bottle cap

Some tape

Hot glue

Instructions:

Cover the central hole of the CD with tape, then poke 5-6 holes using a small nail or pin (this will allow the hovercraft to run longer and smoother). Then, on the other side of the CD, fix the plastic cap over the central hole, making sure to create a good seal all around the cap to prevent air from escaping.

Blow up the balloon, and pinch it to keep the air inside. Then fit the neck of the balloon over the plastic cap. Put the CD on a table or the ground, and release the balloon (until now, the neck was pinched) – and watch it float move effortlessly around!

How it works:

When the air from the balloon escapes from the centre hole of the disk and moves to the side, it creates a cushion of air that reduces friction between the surface and the balloon, allowing it to move freely.

balloon


  • Soap powered boat

What is it?

You will use soap to power a paper boat floating on water

What do you need?

A bowl, tray or big enough recipient full of water

A piece of thick paper or carboard

Liquid dish soap

A toothpick

Instructions:

Cut the paper or carboard according to one of the figures on the left. The really important part is the small “reservoir”, a notch, at the rear; it does not have to be enclosed like here, it can be a simple triangle or a more complex shape.

Use the toothpick to put soap onto the sides of the notch at the rear of the boat.

Place the boat on the surface of the water, and watch it speed across the surface!

How it works:

Soap is a surfactant – that means that it breaks down the surface tension of water. When your boat is sitting on top of the water, the surface tension of the water holds it on the surface and is the same on all sides, so your boat doesn’t move.

Washing up liquid has a lower surface tension. When you fill the reservoir of your boat with washing up liquid the surface tension pulling the boat back is less than the water pulling it forward. It’s this difference in surface tension that makes your boat surge forward.

Note:

Surface tensionYou may need to change the water once in a while if you do the experiment multiple times – once there is too much soap in the water, the difference in surface tension will vanish.


  • Vinegar fire extinguisher

What is it?

You will build a simple fire extinguisher using common household items.

Attention: this “fire extinguisher” should not be used in case of a real fire.

Note: since this experiment requires a candle, always ask an adult for supervision!

What do you need?

A small plastic bottle

Vinegar

Baking soda

A small candle

Instructions:

Pour 1-2 cm of vinegar in the bottle. Then add a few teaspoons of baking soda into the bottle.

Very quickly, the mixture will start bubbling: direct the neck of the bottle towards the flame of the candle (without pouring the content of the bottle on the candle), and watch the flame diminish and disappear.

If there is too much vinegar, or too much backing soda, the reaction in the bottle can be important and the foam can even get out of the bottle; it may smell bad, but it is not dangerous – just rinse your hands. Try again, this time with less backing soda.

How it works:

Vinegar is an acid, and baking soda is mainly made out of sodium bicarbonate. When the two react, they produce carbon dioxide C02 – when you “pour” the CO2 on the flame which needs dioxygen 02 to burn, you turn it off. Sodium bicarbonate also produces CO2 when heated – that’s what makes the cakes go up in the oven.


  • Leyden Jar

What is a Leyden Jar?

A long time ago, humans were just starting to figure out this whole thing about electricity. In many of these early experiments, the so called Leyden jar was used as the first device capable of storing electric charge. Originally it was a glass vial, partly filled with water, the mouth of which was closed by a cork pierced with a nail that dipped into the water.

What do you need?

Glass or plastic container (for example a film canister or pill box) with plastic lid

Water

Salt

Stainless steel nail

Aluminum foil

Tape

Piece of insulated wire

Hammer

Hot glue

Multimeter

Instructions:

Before we get started, take off all the labels on the container, if there are any.

Cut out a narrow sheet of foil, about 1 or 2 cm shorter than the jar. Then wrap the foil around the jar and use some tape in between to attach it. After that, put some more tape on the top and the bottom of the jar to make the whole thing more stable.

Fill some warm tap water into the jar. Then add a few teaspoons of table salt, and stir it well!

Put the lid back onto the jar and hammer in the nail in the center. Make sure that the head of the nail is about 1 cm away from the lid

Now seal the nail hole by putting some hot glue around the nail and the lid so that no water can come out.

Strip the piece of wire at both ends and attach one of it with some tape to the aluminum foil of the Leyden jar.

Completed! Now you can measure the capacitance of your jar by using the multimeter.

What do we expect to see?

Show us your Leyden jar in pictures or a video. Which capacitance did you measure and what does this quantity tell you about the functionality of this device?


  • Disappearing Penny

What is it about?

Amateur magicians have made money appear from behind ears and out of nostrils for years. That’s all very well, but in this experiment, we would like to teach you a trick that makes money “appear” as if it has disappeared.

What do we need?

−          A clear jam jar with a screw-top lid (alternatively: a clear drinking glass and a saucer)

−          Coin

−          Some water

Instructions:

Put the coin on a flat surface, like a table.

Place the base of the closed jam jar over the coin (alternatively: put the base of the drinking glass over the coin and cover its mouth with the saucer).

When you look now through the side of the glass, you can still see the coin.

Now fill the jar with water, screw the lid onto it again and place it over the coin.

What’s going on? Can you still see the coin when looking through the side of the glass?

What we expect to see?

Show us a picture of the two cases (the jar with and without water), try to explain why the coin suddenly “disappeared”


  • Homemade compass

What is a compass?

A compass is an instrument used to show the geographical orientation (it shows the north direction on the globe). It is an instrument that is constituted by a magnetic needle able to interact with the Earth magnetic field. The north/south poles are roughly oriented as the Earth magnetic field, so the needle would be oriented toward the geographic north in first approximation.

What would you learn?

You will experience the effects of the Earth magnetic fields, and you will find the direction to find new treasure like a pirate!

What do you need?

Piece of cork (or a piece of a greaseproof paper)

Needle

Water

Glass bowl

Instructions

Rub the magnet against the needle several times.

Put some water in the glass bowl

Put the cork on the water surface and then place the needle on the top of it

(in alternative you can insert the needle twice in a greaseproof paper little piece  and put it in the water)

What we expect to see?

You will see the needle starting to move and slowly orient itself toward the north direction. You can check the goodness of your results with a real compass.


  • Tonoscope – Sound visualizer

What is the sound?

The sound is a wave pressure that propagates in gasses, liquids and in solids). Every structure vibrates according to different frequencies called natural frequencies and for each of this so-called, “mode of vibration”, it is associated a particular shape of vibration. The interaction of sound waves with structures may cause the structure vibrate at the same frequency of the sound wave (resonance phenomenon), and the structure would start to vibrate according to particular shape.

What would you learn?

You would visualize the “shape of sound” (which of course depends on the structure we consider) and you will see this dual relationship sound-vibration .

What do you need?

Plastic or aluminum film for kitchen (also a plastic bag)

Speakers (for example a smartphone)

Scotch tape

plastic bucket opened to the two extremities (a paint bucket for example)

salt

Instructions

Put the plastic or metallic film on the bucket and fix it with the scotch tape around the bucket aperture.

Place the speakers under the bucket

Before turning on the sound place a small amount of salt on the film under tension

Turn on the music

What we expect to see?

We expect to see very strange and amazing shapes formed by the salt grains on the membrane changing depending on the sound coming from the speakers. You can try to put this video as sound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNf9nzvnd1k or doesn’t matter which song you like! This image is an example of what you can visualize.

rocket


  • Rocket

What would you learn?

Pressure.

What do you need?

An old can of film or medicine,

effervescent medicine,

Instructions:

Put the medicine in the can with water and rapidly close the can.

Put the can upside down and go back.

rovket 2.png


  • Constellation Projector

What is it?

Create your own constellation projector with printable constellation cards. The constellations will be projected onto a smooth surface (e.g. wall) with a light source.

What would you learn?

Constellations that exist in the sky at night (Sagittarius, Orion, Gemini, etc) in a simple, educative and fascinating way.

What do you need?

PGPB Printable Constellation Cards

Light source: Smart Phone, Flash Light

Push pins

Toilet paper roll

Tape

Styrofoam or cardboard

Cost: Free to less than $5

Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes

Clean-Up Time: Less than 5 minutes

Instructions

To project your own constellations, first print out the printable constellation cards. Next, place the print out on top of a piece of Styrofoam or cardboard to protect your working surface.  Then, give the kids a push pin and instruct them to poke holes at each dot in the constellation formations. Once your holes are punched, cut out the circle cards and affix them with tape to the top of a toilet paper roll. Last, tape the toilet paper roll to your light source and project your constellation formations on the wall.

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What we expect to see?

Existing or either custom constellations-star formations made by the kids with low intervention-help by the “tutor”.


  • Instant Hot Ice

What is it?

Combine baking soda and vinegar to make sodium acetate, or hot ice!  It crystalizes instantly when you pour it, allowing you to create a tower of crystals.  Since the process of crystallization is exothermic, the “ice” that forms will be hot to the touch.

What would you learn?

The sodium acetate solution contains water. The amount of water is reduced in the solution by boiling it, but there is still water in there. The water molecules keep the sodium acetate from forming crystals.  Well, crystals may start to form, but as a few molecules join together, the water molecules pull them apart again.

When we cool the solution, we will be able to bring the sodium acetate down to a temperature lower than the point at which it would normally become a solid.  This word for this is supercooled.

The crystals in the tray provided a starting point for crystals to grow in the solution, called a nucleation site. This gives the sodium acetate the push it needed to crystallize!

The crystallization process gives off heat, so the hot ice is hot to the touch!  Not hot enough to burn, though.

Instructions

Combine 4 cups of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a pot. Before we did this experiment, I read instructions for hot ice on a few different websites. I decided to use the amounts given on Playdough to Plato.  Add the baking soda a little at a time so that when it fizzes it won’t overflow over the edges of your pot!

You have now made sodium acetate!  (As well as carbon dioxide – it was given off in the reaction, which created all that fizzing.)  You’ll need to boil the solution, though, to reduce the amount of water so that it is concentrated enough to form crystals.

Cook your solution over low to medium heat for about an hour.  You want to reduce it down to 1 cup or less.

Now, the stuff I read online said that crystals would start to form around the edge of the pan. This is important because you’ll need a few crystals as “seeds” to start the crystallization process.  Well, our solution never forms crystals while it is cooking.  When it is down to 3/4 cup, you finally have to stop boiling it.

Pour your sodium acetate into a glass container and put it in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes.

“We did this, and while it was in the refrigerator, I scraped some of the dried solution off the sides of the pot, hoping that it would work as the crystals needed to start the reaction. It didn’t work.  Boo.  We poured the solution over the pan scrapings, and nothing happened.

We tried putting it in the refrigerator for a while longer.  Still nothing.

But, this experiment is very forgiving!  I left the solution on the counter and came back to it the next day.  I decided to boil it a little more – maybe it wasn’t concentrated enough.  And we had never seen any crystals form in the pan.  After about 10 more minutes of boiling, there still weren’t any crystals on the edges of the pan, but I decided that the solution was reduced down so far that we just had to stop.

As soon as I poured the solution out of the pan and into a glass jar, the remaining liquid in the bottom of the pan crystallized instantly!  So I knew we were getting somewhere!

This time, I put the solution in the freezer for about 20 minutes.  Much faster.”

glove

Pour the cooled solution onto a few crystals that you scraped from the pan.

I scraped off some crystals from the bottom of the pan and put them in a plastic tray.

Then pour the solution very slowly onto the crystals.

The first little bit took a few seconds to crystallize… but it DID! We keep pouring, a little at a time…If you pour too quickly, the crystals will spread out horizontally. So go nice and slow. It is so fun to watch!  By the end, pour just a drop at a time, and you will be able actually to watch each drop piling up on top of the tower of hot ice.


  • Glove Box

What is a glove box?

Is a special box astronauts and scientists use to study objects that may be harmful to humans if handled directly or objects that may be damaged if touched directly by human hands

What would you learn?

You will learn how to understand if some materials are harmfull for humans or if they can be damaged easily.

What do you need?

A pair of unused rubber cleaning gloves

A box out of paper

Duct tape

rocks, markers, bowls, and magnifying glasses

Scissors

plastic wrap

Instructions:

You create two holes into the box with the scissors. The holes should be in the size of your wrist. Then you stuck the edge of the gloves into the holes. You put your objects inside the box (rocks, markers, bowls, and magnifying glasses). You cover the box with plastic wrap.

What we expect to see?

You put your fingers into the gloves and start touching the objects. You can pretend that the rocks are real moon rocks and try to examine if they are harmul. Some pictures below to help you with the experiment.


  • Phases of the moon

What is the moon?

The moon is the largest nighttime object in our sky, and it seems to change shape over the course of the month. The moon is also the only object in our solar system other than Earth where man has stepped foot.

What would you learn?

You will learn to identify the various phases of the moon and to put them in chronological order.

What do you need?

Oreo biscuits

Two A4 papers

Scissors

Plastic knife

Instructions:

Write in some pieces of paper the phases of the moon. Then modify the shape of the oreo with the relevant phases.

What we expect to see?

You will create all the phases of the moon with the oreo bisquits and you will present them in a total paper. An example it is shown in the following pictures.


  • How planets orbit the sun

What are the Planets?

In our solar system there are 8 planets which are:  Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Nepture. These planets are objects that orbit the sun.

What would you learn?

You will learn the how a planet is moving regarding to the sun.

What do you need?

pie tin (to create the orbit)

play dough (represent the sun)

ball (represent the earth)

Instructions:

You will put the ball into the pie tin and you will move elliptically the tin.

What we expect to see?

You will demonstrate the path of the planet comparing to the sun


  • Paper/carboard models of missions
  • Deploy a solar panel
  • Arts and Crafts: Learn about planets
  • Arts and Crafts: Create your space rocket
  • Arts and Crafts: Create your own satellite
  • Arts and Crafts: Star gazing
  • Write your own story or video explaining “If I was an engineer, I would…..”
  • Imagine original missions in space and explain what they will do, how they will look like,…
  • Explain simply science involved in space telecommunications
  • Solar car
  • Topographical maps

More advanced projects:

  • FM radio

Using USB sticks designed to receive TV, use the built in antenna and receive FM radio just by installing a software on a computer (tutorial) and move along the RF spectrum in the waterfall

RF Spectrum

  • Build a simple dipole antenna

With a wine crock and some copper cables, and track planes by receiving their ADS-B signals (tutorial, need two additional programs: one for ads-b decoding, and one to plot the planes)

dipole antenna

  • Receive NOAA weather satellites slow-scan images

the receiving antenna is more complicated to build but your dedicated Revolver will  help you (tutorial)

NOAA satellite

  • Paper/carboard models of missions
  • Deploy a solar panel
  • Arts and Crafts: Learn about planets
  • Arts and Crafts: Create your space rocket
  • Arts and Crafts: Create your own satellite
  • Arts and Crafts: Star gazing
  • Topographical maps
  • Solar car

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