Sorry about this stupid nav tray -- I hate it, but maybe you love it and then I'm sorry I said I'm sorry.

Anyway. Here's a collection of work and projects from science writing to poetry. 

A note about the blog title: in math and physics, the prefix eigen means one's own. It comes from the german, but mostly I always liked thinking about a particle's eigenvalues, and thought I might apply the same thought to my excursions.

Static power! 3+

Static power! 3+


A simple exploration of the power of static electricity with Saturday #science! This static electricity day was full of small experiments. The big take-away here is that by rubbing the balloons to our heads we load them up with electrons, and then there are all kinds of things we can manipulate "magically" with the powered-up balloons.

First off, for the littlest, we're just exploring what we can do with that static-charged balloon.

You can see in this clip that we made little tissue paper figures. These I told the kids to make however big or small they wanted, with whatever favourite characters they had. We taped their feet down and tried to get them to stand and dance without touching the balloon. For older kids, we tried to figure out if the tissue paper person's head was negatively or positively charged. We talked about how electrons "ran away" from the balloon, leaving a positive head that was attracted to the negative balloon.

We then tried to get balloons to stick to the wall, using the same logic. That is, wherever the balloon stayed on the wall, it had successfully "pushed away" several electrons. If you pull the balloon away and re-attach it, then the oldest kids had to figure out why it wouldn't stick the second time.

There was also a good deal of rice crispies and tissue paper scraps to play with, which we experimented with making chains, seeing how far away we could be and still interact with the pieces, and jumping. The kids concluded that static electricity was stronger than gravity, and I was pleased as punch.

Oh, and for the oldest kids, we actually made a simple electroscope. I basically followed these instructions, but added a ball of aluminum foil on top because the kids decided that that would give more electrons the chance to move.