Our eldest son Priyam had attended a science camp in his school. I had asked him to write a summary of his experience in the science camp. He wrote the first draft and then we sat with this draft and aided by wiki and Google, he was introduced to the heritage of modern science. The excitement of being published made the young author attentively read and study many things which a normal coursework would not have done. Parent’s learning from the experiment : Make study feel like something completely different – like earning glory 🙂
Interesting Science Experiments
On 8th of March, we had a science camp in our school, DPS Newtown, Kolkata. It was conducted by Sam Gibbs, who came from Australia with his team. Sam Gibbs is a renowned science educator and he has been interacting with students of South East Asia since 2003.
He conducted a number of experiments and explained about these interesting science experiments. A few of them are explained below:
- He took a four bladed helicopter which flew over our heads and made back flips and front flips.
Explanation: This experiment is based on the principle called Bernoulli’s principle. According to Bernoulli’s principle, when an object moves in a fluid (e.g: air, water) it creates pressure difference. This states that total energy – kinetic energy, potential energy and internal energy is always constant and when one energy increases, other one decreases.
- Gibbs took a bicycle wheel and tried to balance the wheel with a
string but he failed as the wheel would fall in the ground. So he spun the wheel and the spinning wheel was found to be balanced.
Explanation: This can be explained by Newton’s laws of motion. When the wheel was at rest, there was gravity only acting on it. Hence it was not balanced and was falling down. However, when the wheel was rotating, the centrifugal force balanced the force of gravity. Hence the rotating wheel was balanced.
- We went to the field and saw a water rocket which would fly with the help of water. We saw a launch pad, a bicycle pump and a small button. Mr. Gibbs took a bottle of water and poured it inside the rocket. At the first try, he pumped 25 times. Then he asked us to press the button and when he counted 3, I pressed the button and the rocket flew in the sky and went some distance. Then he had asked to pump 50 times and to press the button and the water rocket went higher than where it went during the first try.
Explanation: This can be explained by two laws of physics. One is Bernoulli’s principle and another is Newton’s third law of motion. When pressure was built with water, and then suddenly released, the internal energy got converted into kinetic energy. This made the rocket fly. The direction of the flight was governed by Newton’s third law of motion which says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When the force drives the rocket upward and the force of gravity moving downward, the two opposing forces are balanced and at that point, the rocket was pulled down by gravity.
- One of our teachers took us to our activity room and asked to make groups and make a strong building with plastic rods that would not break if it is thrown from a low height.
Explanation: We built structures of various sizes and we had found that a dome shaped structure is more stable than other forms of structure. It was explained to us that for such a structure, loads are most balanced. This is the reason we find many building with dome shape.
5.Mr. Gibbs took a thrust machine and a plastic foot ball. He turned on the thrust machine and threw the ball in the air and the ball floated in the air and rotated.
Explanation: The thrust machine was pushing a steady stream of air and this force was balancing the force of gravity. Hence the ball was floating. This is the same principle which keeps an airplane flying in the air.
- We again went to the field in the afternoon and it was sunny outside. Our teacher brought a sun spotter which showed the sunspots on the sun which are also called the cooler regions on the sun. Then we saw the sun with a telescope. The sun looked like a red ball with sunspots as tiny black dots.
Explanation: The sun has many cooler regions and these are darker and called sunspots. These sunspots are observed by astronomers to know about the sun. It is dangerous to look at the sun with naked eyes as it may damage the eyes.
- Mr. Gibbs brought an optical fibre connected with a laser at the end of the optical fibre. As he turned on the laser, the whole optical fibre was glowing like a neon light. We also learnt about Morse codes which were used to send telegrams in previous times.
Explanation: An optical fibre uses the principle of total internal reflection when light passing through a medium does not refract but gets totally reflected inside the medium.
2 examples of Morse code are as follows:
A: * —
B: — * * *
At the end, we learnt about the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) and learnt about radio waves, gamma waves and other things of this. We also learnt that even our bodies radiate electromagnetic rays which are infra-red or heat rays.
The whole day was full of fun and we were lucky that someone from a foreign country had come in our school to educate us and to do many exciting things. I came to know many things about physics. I have written this article to share my experience with other people where they will come to know of many important principles of science.
Priyam Bhattacharyya is a student of Class V in DPS, Newtown, Kolkata/Calcutta.