AAPT 2005 Albuquerque

Hands-on astronomy share-a-thon

These activities are available on Paul Doherty's website

http://www.exo.net/~pauld

or search for Paul Doherty on Google, I am the first hit.

there are also astronomy activities on the Exploratorium Website

http://www.exploratorium.edu

Here are a few of my favorites

Planet Size

Mars size model using clay, note that volume scales as the cube of the radius.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/Mars/marsize/marsize.htm

The moon version

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/playdoughmoon.html

Gravitational Acceleration

Observe the acceleration of gravity on Mars, 0.38g :

Using an inclined plane: http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/marswalk.html

Using an Atwoods machine: http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/marsatwoods.html

Atmosphere

Atmospheric pressure on Mars is near the triple point of water.

Water on the surface of Mars boils at 0 °C.

You can boil water inside a sealed syringe by reducing the pressure.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/boylingwater/boylingwater.html

Atmosphere Bar, model the pressure of the earth's atmosphere with a 1 inch square 1.3 meter long steel bar.(weird mixed units.) then make a Mars bar 1 cm long.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/gasses/atmbar.htm

The atmospheric density versus height can be modeled using a stack of donut magnets on a pencil.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld//summer_institute/summer_day16magnetism/ Magnetic_atmosphere_model.html

Equatorial Bulge

You can throw a Koosh Ball into the air and spin it to create a model of a spinning planet with an equatorial bulge.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld//activities/astronomy/SpinaKoosh.html

Universe

As the universe expands so does the wavelength of light: the cosmological redshift.

Model this by drawing a sinewave on a rubber band.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/expansionoflight.html

A balloon can be used to inspire thought about non-Euclidean geometry:

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/universalballoon.html

In curved space the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is not pi (which is defined for flat space.)

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/mathematics/curvedpi.htm

Curved Space, the distance between two reference points depends on the presence of nearby masses.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/curvedspace.html

Model the size of the Universe by a street 14 blocks long, one block per billion light years.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/cityuniversesize.html

Model the appearance of the Universe as a city, with 1 block per billion years.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/cityuniverse.html

Make a glass lens from a wine glass base that models the image making of a gravitational lens.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/astronomy/gravitationallens.htm

 Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty © 2005 6 January 2005