Arisia 2010

Posted on January 8, 2010


This weekend is my fraternity’s (Kappa Gamma Psi) national convention, which has me busy and frantic.  I happen to be one of the current executive officers.

But next weekend is the annual science fiction convention I attend: Arisia!  It will soon also have me busy and frantic, though probably less so, because I am a panelist for three panel sessions.  Two of them are no big deal.  The other is … Hands-On Science for Kids!  This is not a panel about ways to teach kids science; there will be real, live 6 – 12 years olds there.  Will they eat me alive?  We shall see.

But what shall I help them to grok?  I’ve got some ideas and I want YOU to help me decide which one(s) to use!  Here they are…

  1. Fun with pressure, density, and buoyancy!  Measure the densities of various materials and/or make Cartesian divers.
  2. Fun with sound and music!  See what the sound waves of voices and other sounds look like, and manipulate sounds using computer software.  Also, build rudimentary plucked string instruments and see how string length and tension affect pitch.
  3. Fun with optics!  Play with prisms, lenses, primary color filters, and polarization filters.
  4. Fun with rocks!  This is a ready-made teaching kit that I could borrow from the Boston Children’s Museum.
  5. Fun with electronics!  Build simple digital logic circuits on bread boards.
  6. Fun with vision!  Test dark adaptation, find your blind spot, learn to see better in the dark, and make & try out your own visual acuity test.
  7. Fun with flight!  Learn about the principles of flight and try to make the best paper airplane.

To some extent, my choice(s) may be constrained by cost and availability of materials (on short notice) as well as the special needs some of the participants may have (I don’t know yet).  I’m not sure if we’ll be running multiple activities in parallel … 6 – 12 seems a wide age range for having them all do the same activity.  Hmm… anyway, here’s the poll!

Thanks for your help, and thank you for reading!

Posted in: General Interest