Two really cool things that got my curiosity going recently…
Pendulum Waves This I saw at the science centre in Newcastle in the ‘Do Try This At Home’ show using pots and pans. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever, ever seen! The whole audience was spellbound. I’ve made it a project to create one in the garden with tennis balls… Here is a video of the same experiment – keep watching!
Then searching around for instructions on how to set one up I saw that someone had created a pendulum wave with bowling balls – and hooked it up so the balls hit tubes and created sounds!! Brilliant!
Metronome Sways Chatting about the pendulum wave to my colleague Martyn, he told me about the metronome synchronisation experiment. This is super cool – metronomes placed on a foam platform and set off at random eventually end up ticking at the same time. Amazing. This led to all sorts of conversations with scientific family members about buildings and bridges… … Read more...
It’s not got butter on it! It should be called ‘big-wing-fly’…
And so the conversation with 6-year-old continued, with much laughing over the name of the beautiful creature – the butterfly. So why is it called a butterfly? No one knew, but a quick look in the partner database (aka Google, thanks Peter) brought up a few suggestions:
because they would flutter around milk while it was being turned into butter
because witches that took on the shape of the ‘butterfly’ stole milk and butter
it was really called a ‘flutterby’ but that got mixed up
because the first butterfly to come out of hibernation (yes, this one hibernates) in the summer is the male brimstone butterfly and it is yellow, the colour of butter
There doesn’t seem to be any clear answer, all of these sound like they might be right – what do you think?… Read more...
This was the question from the curious 6 year old as we drove along. Answer offered by adult: “Because their feet don’t conduct electricity. Electricity doesn’t pass through their feet because of what their feet are made of.” Question from other adult: ” What are their feet made of?” Well, no one in the car knew. Were we even right with our first answer? It turns out we were not!
The bird is not grounded. It has not created a path of lesser resistance for electricity to follow. If the bird simultaneously touched two wires, the difference in resistance between the two wires would create a path through the bird and it would be electrocuted.
Question from 6 year old: “Why are there no seatbelts on a bus?”
Good question. I don’t know. 8 year old offers answer that because there are seatbelts on a coach but not on a bus, it must be that a bus goes slow enough that you don’t need them, because a coach can go on the motorway and so goes faster and you do need them.
Here is some information from childcarseats.org.uk:
“Buses used for public services generally do not have seat belts because their construction will not allow seat belts to be installed with adequate safety. And they are designed to carry standing passengers.” (That last sentence would match up with 8 year old’s answer…)
You can read more about how to stay safe on a bus without seatbelts here.… Read more...
Question from 8 year old: “Who found out that water was good for you?”
Good question! After discussion, we thought that it must have been since the start of time, because people would realise that when they drank water they were fine, and if they didn’t drink it they were not well. Here’s a section on the Discovery Channel about why we need to drink water. Although how did we know this at the start of time? I don’t know! Any ideas?…… Read more...