Florence Elementary Outreach

Module Module Type Procedure
Balancing Act Physics Students will place 15 M&Ms and 30 M&Ms in two separate plastic bags. They will then tape a pencil with an inch extending off the table, and then place a ruler on the pencil. The students were asked to balance the two bags of M&Ms. By changing the distances of the two bags relative to the center, the 4th and 5th graders were able to balance and gain an intuitive understanding of torque. We then explained the basic concepts of force applied at a certain away from the pivot point.
Tall Structure Building Physics Students work in groups to build the tallest buildings made of straws on a table top. This exercise focused on teamwork, strategic building, allocation of resources, and a basic understanding of mechanical integrity. Initially, we will allocate the same number of straws and tape to each group. They will be given a specified amount of time to work on the bridge before measuring them. Ideally, the students will try to build the tallest structure that they can without it collapsing.
Oobleck (non-Newtonian object) Life sciences Students explored features of a non-Newtonian fluid made from cornstarch and water. This will be an extremely hands-on experiment, where students examine fluid properties by placing their hand in the Oobleck slowly, and the solid properties that come from applying a larger force. It’s viscosity changes according to the condition it is exposed to, but it takes the shape of its container just like a fluid does. Students will play with squeezing or punching the oobleck, and we will explain that in these circumstances the starch particles will not move out of the way quickly, so the oobleck will feel solid.
Egg Drop Physics Students worked on dampening a falling projectile. By providing various materials for the students, we want them to work through engineering a casing for an egg which will then be dropped from the second floor of a building. Students will then drop their eggs and discuss what materials and casings worked best to protect the egg.
Bridges Bridges/Structural Engineering Students will work on examining which structural shapes and properties create the most stable bridge. They will work in groups to compete for the most structurally sound bridge, and the longest bridge in the time allotted. We will introduce the concept of trusses and allow students to experiment by placing pennies on bridge and seeing which shapes are most stable. This exercise focused on teamwork, strategic building, allocation of resources, and a basic understanding of mechanical integrity.
Ice Cream Life Sciences First the student will fill the plastic bag half full with crushed ice. Following this, you will add 6 tablespoons of rock salt to the ice. This will be shaken for five minutes, and the students should be careful as the temperature of the ice mixture will get very cold. In a separate bag mix heavy cream, sugar, and then place this bag inside the other bag leaving as little air as possible an sealing well. Shake for 15-20 minutes. Following this we will discuss the lowering of freezing point accomplished by the salt which allows for an environment in which the ice cream mixture can freeze at a temperature below 32 degrees into ice cream.
Electromagnetism Electricity and Magnetism We want students to work on understanding basic electromagnetism. This is accomplished by coiling the wire around the nails, and leaving a few inches of wire at each end. Then the wire is connected to each end of the battery, in order to create a closed circuit. The students will experiment with touching the tip of the nail to the iron fillings and observing the magnetic effects.