Cavendish Experiment

Description:  Henry Cavendish was the first scientist to measure the gravitational force between two objects in the laboratory using a gravitational torsion balance. In this video physics teacher Andrew Bennett attempts to recreate this experiment. Reading the comments section is very interesting. Pseudoscientific flat-earthers attempt to point out errors in the Mr. Bennett's experiment. Students could attempt to recreate the experiment or join in the conversation.

Web Resources:  Cavendish Experiment - Wikipedia, Gravitational Torsion Balance - Pasco


Programmable Droplets from MIT

Description:  Researchers from MIT have developed a technique for moving droplets of fluid around using electric fields. This could allow biological tests and research (which normally use pumps) to move micro amounts of fluid around more economically. This design solution could be used as an anchoring or supporting phenomenon around electric charge, electromagnetic fields, and Coulomb's Law.

Web Resource:  Programmable droplets - MIT News


The Gravity Light

Description:  The Gravity Light converts potential energy that is stored in a weight into light. The principles involved in this design are very similar to the principles in a cuckoo clock, with the potential energy of the weight being converted to solar energy rather than kinetic energy. Gravity Lights can replace kerosene lights in the developing world with a safe alternative. The phenomenon can be used to illustrate the conversion of potential gravitational energy into other forms of energy. More importantly it conveys the message of sustainability and social responsibility.

Web Resource:  The Gravity Light - Wikipedia, The Gravity Light Foundation


Protecting the Earth from Killer Asteroids

Description:  Asteroids have the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life on our planet upon impact. In 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor injured 1500 people when it exploded over Russia. If researchers could identify potential asteroids early enough they could change their orbit to eliminate the threat to Earth. This phenomenon could be used to explore the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system or to gain a better understanding of gravitational forces and fields.

Web Resource:  Asteroid Impact Avoidance - Wikipedia


Candle-Powered Car

Description:  The candle-powered car is an application of the Seebeck Effect. This effect is the result of thermal energy conversion directly into electricity. This phenomenon can be used in elementary school to show energy conversion from heat to electricity to the kinetic energy of the car. A more detailed explanation will be required in high school related to electron response to temperature differences in different materials. The Seeback circuit used in this candle-powered car can also be connected to a voltmeter and used as a temperature sensing thermocouple.

Web Resource:  Seebeck EffectCandle Car Kit - Amazon


Felix Baumgartner Space Jump World Record

Description:  In 2012 Felix Baumgartner set the World Record for skydiving from a height of 24 miles. The freefall lasted over four minutes and Felix broke the speed of sound. This phenomenon can be used to introduce the gravitational force being directed down in elementary school. This definition can be expanded upon through middle school and high school to include gravitational fields and application of Newton's Second Law of Motion.

Web Resource:  Red Bull Stratos - Wikipedia


Magnetic Cannon

Description:  The magnetic cannon contains four spaced neodymium magnets in a channel.  Two balls bearings are placed between each ball bearing.  When a new ball bearing is introduced a transfer of energy occurs and the final ball bearing leaves with a higher initial velocity than the first.  This is a great phenomenon for studying transfer of momentum and the energy of an object based on its position within a magnetic field.

Web Resource:  Magnetic Challenge with Bozeman Science