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#geekdad #book with #activities for #kids on #physics and Newton

Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids



Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids

Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids from Chicago Review Press


A lot of nonfiction for kids in upper elementary and middle school is what I think of as “book report books.” They’re packed with facts, but not presented in a way that makes them very interesting. They may consist of pages of dense text, sound like they were written for a thesis, not a kids book, or just give the impression that the author wasn’t really interested in the topic.

So when I discovered the Chicago Review Press series of activity books I was ecstatic. They’re full of information, yes, but also cleanly laid out with plenty of photos and images. They’re written with an enthusiasm for the subject that’s catching. And they give readers activity ideas that help them absorb and build on the material they’re reading and learning about.

This year I asked Chicago Review for a review copy of their book Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids. Even though my kids are beyond the target age, I thought it might be a useful reference for ourphysics homeschool studies this year. (Tip to homeschooling parents: If you want to bone up quickly on a topic, try reading a high-quality middle-grade book. Most times you’ll get all the information you need to get started, without overwhelming amounts of detail.) What I found was an excellent biography on Newton that touched on his physics discoveries but didn’t really focus on them. Nonetheless, it is an excellent book for those who want to read about this eccentric and brilliant thinker.

Newton’s interests, of course, went far beyond the Laws of Motion. He started as a farmer’s son but his academic abilities landed him at Cambridge. There he developed calculus (for which generations of high school students have cursed him ever since). As a young professor, he began to study how light travels, and refined the telescope. And of course he also famously described the true nature of gravity. But he also secretly dabbled in alchemy, and worried deeply about religious matters.  Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids puts Newton’s life story into context, describing the social and scientific environment in which he developed and matured.

The activities in the book reflect this broader view of Newton’s life, only touching on the physics experiments briefly. The demonstrations of Newton’s Three Laws of Motion are standard fare: pulling a card out from under a coin (similar to the tablecloth trick, but less dramatic), powering a model boat by letting the air out of a balloon. Other activities illustrate Galileo’s pendulum findings and show you how to get the same effect as a prism with a mirror and a pan of water.  There’s even a version of thecrystal garden chemistry project I featured on GeekDad a while back (although the book’s grows much slower than mine). But some of the projects — make a candle clock, bake an apple pie — don’t really have much to do with physics or with Newton himself.
Still, if learning about society during Newton’s time interests you as much as the man’s scientific discoveries, Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids is a worthy addition to the Chicago Review Press “For Kids” series.


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#science #physics #edchat A really cool “magic” trick to teach and entertain

At ESOF, European Science Forum held in Dublin this past July, the “Physics Buskers” showed many cool experiments and tricks that showed snd explained physics through everyday materials.

THis “electric motor” made with 4 simple pieces (a battery, a cilinder magnet, an iron screw and a piece of wire) is the coolest.

Unipolar Motor Instructions and Discussions here the full pdf .

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#edchat #science Another good example of science promotion activities for kids

Kids Get Hands-On With Science In A ‘Dream Garage’

Community Science Workshops give low-income kids around California opportunities to learn about science firsthand — from holding spiders to building robots.

Many kids who grow up in big cities have lots of opportunities to experience science hands-on. There are zoos, museums, planetariums and school field trips.

But those amenities are sometimes out of reach for lower-income children. And in some rural areas, those opportunities simply don’t exist at all.

In California — as in many states — public school science programs have faced deep budget cuts. Many kids have been left behind.

Dan Sudran has taken it upon himself to help close the gap.

Instilling A Love Of Science, Early On

Sudran grew up a good, studious kid in Kansas City, Mo. He followed the rules and went to college, then law school.

But he says there was always a sinking feeling that he wasn’t really cut out for the world he’d been born into.

It’s your own dream garage, in a sense. Just a bunch of stuff you can play around with, without being nervous that the curator’s gonna have a nervous breakdown.
– Dan Sudran, Community Science Workshop Network
“I couldn’t really figure out what I was or what I was supposed to be,” Sudran says.” I didn’t go to college because I wanted to. I went because that’s what you were supposed to do.”

Sudran finally had his revelation in his late 30s. He started taking apart electronics and collecting bones from the beach.

In school, Sudran says, science had held no interest for him at all. But out in the real world, it turned out to be the thing he’d been missing all along.

“My life is immeasurably better since I got into science,” Sudran says.

And that gave him an idea. What if he could give children the same experience he’d waited 30 years to discover?

So Sudran got a college to donate some space and equipment. Pretty soon, a small nonprofit called the Community Science Workshop Network was born.

No Curators, No Curriculum

Today there are six workshops, almost all in low-income neighborhoods around California. The idea is to be the complete opposite of a big science museum.

“It’s your own dream garage, in a sense,” Sudran says. “Just a bunch of stuff you can play around with, without being nervous that the curator’s gonna have a nervous breakdown. There are no curators.”

One of the workshops is in Greenfield, about 140 miles southeast of San Francisco. It’s a flat, dusty farm town, and mostly Spanish speaking.

The workshop occupies exactly one room in the back of the former Greenfield City Hall. Every inch is crammed with stuff: bones, microscopes, power tools, even a turtle and a snake.

There’s no curriculum. Nothing to memorize. Just tools to play and experiment with. And a lot of noise.

Eighth-grader Jose Vega is hard at work building a submersible robot while Esteban Espinoza, 6, scoops tadpoles out of a tank to examine them under a microscope. One group of kids is spread out on the floor, trying to figure out how to build a hot air balloon.

Jason Henry/Mission Science Workshop
Dan Sudran helps kids from San Francisco’s John Muir Elementary reconstruct a 36-foot gray whale with actual whale bones.
And, then there’s the ever-appealing — though not terribly scientific — Casio keyboard.

Grant-Powered, With Some Help From Volunteers

Running this workshop costs about $50,000 a year. It’s paid for by foundation grants, but Sudran says those can sometimes be a mixed blessing.

For instance, not long ago he came across a decaying gray whale carcass on a beach near his house.

“It was lifted up by the tide high on the beach. And it was completely recoverable,” Sudran says. “I mean, there was no loss.”

Sudran, who has a permit to collect specimens, thought the whale bones would make a good teaching tool. It would have been nice, he says, to get some funding for something like that — but there was no time.

“I’m not gonna waste time writing a grant,” he says. “That takes months. You have to do it!”

So Sudran rallied some volunteers to collect the bones, and then spent several stinky months cleaning them off in his backyard. Now, he brings the entire whale skeleton to schools, where kids work together to reconstruct the 36-foot marine mammal.

His dream, he says, is to take this model of quick-and-dirty hands-on science all over the state.

“So many places, I could reel them off,” Sudran says. “Oxnard, Bakersfield, El Centro” — all places where public school science has taken a hit and could use, Sudran says, a little bit of fun.

“We don’t want to make our place any bigger. We want more of them.”

Next up, Sudran hopes, will be the small Southern California desert town of Coachella.

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