energy

Cat Wiggles

If you have ever watched a cat preparing to pounce on its favorite toy, you may have seen it wiggle its back legs from side to side just before it leaps. Why do they do that? It would seem that the movement would alert their prey, so there has to be a good reason for the behavior. To understand that, we need to learn a bit about muscles and tendons.

Bouncing Remotes

This experiment comes from spending too much time in hotel rooms as I travel. As I was packing for the trip home, I found a very useful technique for adjusting the television when I was not directly in front of it.

Snow Rollers

I recently presented a session on teaching electricity at the Utah Science Teachers Association Conference. On my way home, I did quite a bit of photography of the snowy landscape, but one roadside slope caught my eye. Driving past, I saw something that I had only seen in books, and a few recent weather articles. Snow rollers! They are usually quite rare, and of the hundreds of snowy road cuts that I passed on the drive home, this was the only one that had them.

Boomerangs

This week's experiment comes from conversation I had with some talented science educators. We got into a discussion that ranged from gyroscopes to bicycles. The conversation led us into talking about boomerangs, so of course we had to make some paper ones to play with. The dynamics are a bit different with the paper ones, but they are still lots of fun.

Blowing Up a Phone Book

Don't let the title fool you. This experiment does not involve any explosions. Instead, we are going to explore the science of resonance. Resonance involves putting in small amounts of energy, at just the right time, to get stronger results. A good example is pushing a swing. Each push causes the person in the swing to go higher. We will lift a phone book high into the air by blowing on it.

AM/FM Radio Waves

This week's experiment comes from a question that I received about which is better, AM or FM radio. As we shall see, the answer depends on what properties you are basing your answer on. As we will see, each has advantages and disadvantages.

An Easy Swing?

I have taught several classes on Amusement Park Physics, and I usually include several activities on the carnival type games. Those games often use science, making something look simple and easy, when it is actually difficult to do. This activity is based on a carnival game where you try to swing a weight on a string and knock over a bottle.

Newton's Third Law of Motion

This experiment comes from my hotel room. I was traveling do some consulting for a science museum, and was sitting at the desk, thinking of ideas for experiments. As I sat, I swiveled back and forth in the chair. As I swung back and forth, I decided that it would make an interesting experiment.

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