Twenty-one Boy Scouts from the Mesa, Arizona area recently came together to earn a Merit Badge in Nuclear Science. Yes, Nuclear Science.
This lesson wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
The scouts built electroscopes and cloud chambers to earn their badge.
They also had to learn about radiation, radiation hazards, radiation safety; define terms like “atom,” “gamma ray,” & “beta particle;” construct a 3-D model of an element from the periodic table; and discuss modern particle physics and how nuclear energy is used to make electricity. That’s just the first four bullet points in the checklist of requirements.
Here’s one of the bullet points from the checklist –
Using a radiation survey meter and a radioactive source, show how the counts per minute change as the source gets closer to or farther from the radiation detector. Place three different materials between the source and the detector, then explain any differences in the measurements per minute. Explain how time, distance, and shielding can reduce an individual’s radiation dose.
The producers of the NBC show, Minute to Win It, have called our offices with questions about some of our science tricks that they’ve seen on our weekly appearances on Denver NBC affiliate, 9News. Some of our science experiments like Egg Drop and Tornado Tubes have made it on the show. Here are a few more table tricks and stunts for the producers to use in upcoming episodes -
I am frustrated. As our children grow up, they want to experiment. Explore. Discover. The internet is a wonderful tool to use in their education and growing independence. Growing up, I had to use encyclopedias, libraries, books. Now, everything is at our children’s fingertips. We all know dangers exist on the internet. Today’s kids have to learn how to navigate through the dangers and decipher the pitfalls. But what about when they are researching and learning? What if they are on a website aimed at children and their education? Will they recognize the dangers?
We get numerous requests to share how Steve does the Exploding Pumpkin demonstration. He is very clear that it is a demonstration, not an experiment, and does not give the chemicals or the instructions on how to do it yourself at home. It isn’t a magic trick or a secret. It is dangerous for children.
With knowledge comes power and with power comes responsibility.
Chemistry can be dangerous… and explosive. Mixing chemicals, discovering the flammable elements, and playing with fire; no wonder chemistry also involves safety goggles, hot pads,
Houston, we have lift-off! The fourth graders at Wilder Elementary in Littleton, Colorado, invited me to participate in their annual paper rocket launch. This 4th grade unit is inspired by the original rocket boy, Homer Hickam. Instead of using pieces of lead pipe and gun powder, these kid-friendly rockets are made from construction paper, tape and clay… that’s it. No engines or explosives in these rockets – the only fuel was 70 pounds of air pressure.
I first learned how to make the PVC Rocket Launcher several years ago while speaking to teachers at Space Camp for Educators in Huntsville, Alabama. The morning started with each student making their first launch. Some of the rocket designs were great while others just blew up on the launch pad. It was back to the drawing board as the students reanalyzed their designs, fixed the flaws and headed out for the second launch. The success rate for the second launch was well above 80%… and the young rocket engineers were amazed to see their success.
April Fool’s day is this Friday. Do you have your pranks ready to go? Our staff spends the majority of March perfecting their pranking in anticipation of the day. I’d declare April 1st a company-wide holiday, except it’s too much fun to mess with your co-workers. A day off of work would just ruin the “holiday.”
A few of our staffers practiced their tricks last week in our company kitchen using Water Gel, coffee and a little imagination.
Hydrogels, or super absorbant polymers, can absorb over 100x their own weight in water. Farmers and gardeners use it to keep crops and plants hydrated during times of drought. It can also be used as the perfect prop for pranks and magic tricks.
Water Gel, the Sugar Substitute
This prank is incredibly easy to pull off and the look on your victims’ faces are guaranteed to be priceless!
Start by emptying the sugar from it’s container. Be sure to put the sugar into another container so that it can be replaced later. The prank is bound to take a turn from funny to tragic if you waste all