Thursday, March 17, 2011
Along with the science fair the school has competitions that included soda bottle rockets. The launcher used previously by the school was not available. A fellow parent volunteer (an Engineer from a Northwest aerospace company) and I were recruited to each build a launcher. Two launchers would give us more capacity during the increasingly popular competition.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Next I will build a rack to hold a few aluminum cans. Marc “Zeke” Kossover demonstrated his vacuum cannon at the Make Faire in 2009. It was very impressive to see a ping pong ball blow a hole in an aluminum can. I think it will be a hit at the fun with science night. A loud bang with some minor distruction is sure to be a hit. I wonder what a golf ball will go through?
Sunday, March 8, 2009
My search for information on cloud chambers started with Instructables.com but there was nothing. I did find some cloud chambers for sale, websites about cloud chambers, and YouTube videos demonstrating traces in cloud chambers. Then I found Holly Batchelor's video. It had step by step instructions. It was just what I needed. I set off to work. I used an aluminum griddle cut down to fit in the foam cooler that I cut down to hold the dry ice. I used the reptile house Holly used and painted parts of it black instead of sewing the drape. Add some alcohol and dry ice and my kids and I were watching sub atomic particle traces in my garage. Very cool. I shot some video and uploaded this one to YouTube. This video has a clear trace at the end that I believe it is an electron initiated by background radiation.
I also was able to produce Alpha particle traces by placing Americum 241 from a smoke detector in the chamber.
I ended up doing two presentations at school one group included my daughter's class and one included my son's. Some of the kids were interested in the LHC and the cloud chamber, and some others were fascinated by the dry ice bubbling in water and the other dry ice I had filling up a large mylar tube. I hope the kids got something out of it, I know I had fun.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I checked the plug at the back of the truck the bulbs to no avail. I turned off the truck sent the family inside and drilled out the rivets on the back of the trailer. With the back off I could find no obvious loose connection. I drove to the auto parts store and picked up a trailer wiring harness, stripped out the wiring under the trailer and installed the new harness. We left about 2 hours later than planned.
We drove from Seattle East on I90 and I94 through North Dakota and the twin cities to Waupaca Wisconsin to visit Grandmother Stephens. She is not a blood relative, but a very close family friend. From there we drove north through Michigan and crossed in to Canada at Sault Ste Marie. We drove across the border past midnight. My favorite question at the border was "Do you have any live meat?". That one confused me...I had no live animals, so all the meat was dead. I answered that I had some bacon... We were allowed into Canada anyway. That was 3 long days and one Monday evening of driving. It took toll 4pm the following day to get to the dock on Lake Temagami and ride out to Devil's Island and arrive at Keewaydin.
The ride out in the evening was beautiful. The food at Objibway was wonderful. Objibway is the lodge at the north end of Devil's Island for adults. Mostly parents, but anyone can stay there. We stayed on Paul's Island (less than 100 yards from Devil's Island). Our cabin was a rustic log cabin with gas-lights and a wood stove for heat. For water there was a convenient lake surrounding the island and a pitcher on the table. The toilet on Paul's Island is a two seat outhouse with a great view.
We had the option of using the classic wood canvas Keewaydin canoes to get across, but with my mother and two kids we opted for the motor boat. We slept well and were glad to not be on the road. The rain started that night. We motored over for breakfast Saturday morning in the morning in the rain. After breakfast we walked to the South end of the island to watch sections paddle in. The video to the right is from Edson's section (Mattawa) paddle in.
After paddle in we had a chance to catch up with Edson. He went back to our cabin for awhile and we all went back for the Outpost campfire stories. After some great stories we had to walk in the rain and dark back to the north end of the island and motor back to Paul's Island in the wind and chop and complete darkness. I have very little boating experience, but we made it.
The next day included a race around the island and guncanoe competition where the older campers show off their skills tumping, loading, and maneuvering their canoes. We had dinner with the kids and the evening ended with some awards and campfire stories in the rain. We left for Paul's Island a little earlier in the evening and we used the boat to get back and forth from the North and South ends of the island.
We headed out the next morning. I left with my mom and dropped her off at the train station in Temagami. I returned to the dock to pick up the rest of the family and start the second part of vacation. We stopped in North Bay to eat at Tim Hortons. We were curious since all the comedians on CBC (Canadian TV channel we get in Seattle) make fun of Tim Hortons. It was OK but nothing too special. With that I may not be let back into Canada.
We drove through the small town of Mattawa and visited their museum. They had lots of great artifacts and information about Grey Owl. We stayed the night at in Canada and passed into Vermont the next day.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Check out the Make Blog for a good overview video of the Faire. The highlights of the two days included motorized cupcakes, popping acetylene soap bubbles, SparkFun booth, Evil Mad Scientist Booth, mousetrap, Steam punk stem buggy, Adam Savage's Presentation, Home Chem Lab Presentation, 5 Dangerous Things you should let your kids do, the Chumby booth (I purchased one for my 8 year old daughter, really it was for her), and the maker store.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I ordered my crystallized sodium acetate from United Nuclear. Look for reruns of Wired Science to see a story about them. I later realized making the crystals from Baking Soda and Vinegar at home is very simple and much cheaper.
For the class presentation after I did the demonstration showing the clear super saturated solution turning into a solid as I poured it out I shared what was occurring and the chemicals involved. Asking who had made sodium acetate at home resulted in silence and blank stares. I followed that with the recipe of mixing sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid. Again blank stares. I said let me demonstrate. As soon as I poured the vinegar into the baking soda they all knew exactly what it was.