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Getting Started (Breaking The Ice)
The teacher or one of the students has just introduced you.
Try this next:
Optics Suitcase

Heating Pad Demo

Thank the teacher for inviting you to school, restate who you are, where you work, what you do, and the types of people with whom you work.

  • Pick someone out and ask them to come forward to help you.

  • Take the portable heat therapy pad out of its box (do not indicate what it is yet), place it in the student's hands, and ask her (him) to gently handle the pad and describe how it looks and feels (squishy, clear, slightly yellow, liquid, cool to the touch). [You may have to gently prompt the student to get these answers.]

  • Ask the student to hold the heating pad up so everyone can see it and so that the metal disk falls down to a corner of the pad. Ask your helper to snap the metal disk inside the pad. [Crystallization is initiat- ed at the disk and spreads throughout the pad in ~30 seconds, accompanied by heat. The pad turns opaque.]

  • Tell everyone that this is a reusable heating pad for alleviating aches and pains. It is an example of how technology can be used to make life better for us. Someone has to be willing to study math and science in order to invent such things.

  • Pass the heat pad around so everyone can feel the heat.

  • Put the demo away!

Happy and Unhappy Balls (if time permits)

  • Select another student to come forward.
  • Hand her (him) the two black spheres and ask the student to drop both onto the table. [As explained in the note from Arbor Scientific included in your suitcase, the rubber in one ball is fully vulcanized, retains its shape, and bounces well. The rubber in the second ball is much more easily deformed and does not bounce.]
  • As your helper continues to “bounce” the unhappy ball, ask which kind of rubber would be best suited for the tires of a racing car or the bottoms of a pair of sneakers. [Ans: a blend of both, to improve fric- tion or gripping power and to absorb shocks, but not too “energy absorbing”, because this is accompanied by high heat from friction and excessive wear.] The best rubber for a handball is???
  • Again, you might point out that technology and invention are the keys to improving our lives.
  • Put the demo away!

Copyright by Stephen D. Jacobs, Rebecca L. Coppens and Christine Andrews-Angelo
December 24, 2001

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This site was last updated June 3, 2005.
URL: http://www.opticsexcellence.org
 
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