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Thread: Question to lab-people: what to do with Summer-School kids?

  1. #1 Question to lab-people: what to do with Summer-School kids? 
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    I have a question.

    At our lab we've got school kids for summer (14 years old)

    What the hell are we supposed to do with them?! I mean, besides making experiments ON THEM

    We are in a chemistry/physics lab in one of the universities. So far I have no idea what I can entrust them to perform. I do not think that heavy chemistry such as HF comes into question.

    Did anybody have any of such experiences?
    Can this ever be a success? Sounds like a waste of time to me, though!

    Any ideas / examples / articles would be very very helpful....


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Think of something safe yet spectacular.

    I'm not good at chemistry so I won't have many ideas in this department, but how about making mirrors? Or blending an onion in water to get naked-eye visible DNA filaments? Or making a smoke composition (did I mention I mean a safe variety) to demonstrate a smokescreen in the open air?

    As for physics, which branches of it does your lab cover? Lasers, holograms, gyroscopes, static electricity, magnets, electromagnetism, photovoltaic effect?

    One simple experiment kids enjoy is putting one table upside-down on top of another (so their tops meet), with a large plastic bag sandwiched in between. Put a large person on the reversed top of the upper table. Have a smaller person blow air into the bag and lift the larger person. Hint: make sure the tabletops don't fit too perfectly together or else the air pressure won't be multiplied by a sufficient area.

    Playing with large lenses and concave mirrors can be lots of fun too, especially if you create images of things and people in unexpected places. Talking about images, how about a camera obscura? Or, while you're at it, a camera lucida?

    How many kids will be coming, and how many staff will be available to take care of them?

    Looking forward,
    Leszek.


    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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  4. #3  
    Forum Isotope
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    just show them the cool stuff that isn't specifically dangerous. Optics are always a hit. I'd give weight to having them play around with simple machines; pulleys, springs, things of that nature.


    OH!! Mousetrap cars! Those are always fun!
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    Get in touch with the science teachers at the schools they come from, the one from last year and the one from the year ahead. You don't want to repeat stuff, that would be boring, and you don't want to do stuff they will be doing next year, that would be kinda rude.

    But doing similar things to what their prior teacher says they were interested in would be a place to start. It will also help them retain the information better.

    You can also print them off worksheets, have them watch videos, do projects, etc, to keep them busy and buy some time.
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  6. #5  
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    Thanks!

    I will try to see what we could do
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Good luck, and do keep us posted.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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