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Quantum Explorers

Learning about Photons and The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Have you heard of photons? Photons exist in many energy wavelengths that make up the electromagnetic spectrum. Below are some resources to learn more about the intriguing topic of photons!

Resource #1: How animals and humans see the world.

Many animals sense light differently from humans. This video explains how 20 different animals see the world, from dogs to turtles: 

To understand in more detail how humans actually sense colors, check out this TED talk on the subject:

Resource #2: The glowing human body

Science researchers have discovered that humans emit visible light, in a range that changes throughout the day. This article explains the research process, and the short video below describes the scientists' findings:

Resource #3: Silicon emitting light?

Silicon, a key ingredient in computer chips, has recently been made to emit photons. Scientists have been trying to do this for over 50 years, and have only recently succeeded. This exciting breakthrough opens up the possibility of data-carrying photons and using photons in computer chips!

Check out this Wired article to learn more

Resource #4: How do lasers work?  

One amazing use of photons is in lasers. This short video explains, in accessible language, how lasers work: 

 

Learning About States of Matter

Popsicles, ice pops and paletas are a favorite summertime (or any time) treat. They are also a fun way to get kids involved in learning about the three primary states of matter (solid, liquid and gas), focusing on the solid and liquid states of water. And since they're so easy to make and relatively fail-safe, they can be a great way for kids to start experimenting with creating their own inventive ideas. 

Here's some fun videos to jumpstart your ice pop creations. Note: these videos are intended for inspiration only, not to follow as a specific recipes (some of the recipes are a bit complicated). Instead, kids are encouraged to make their own choices and recipes. Let them take the lead, and keep it simple and fun! 

10 Popsicle Recipes - Just 2 Ingredients

Homemade Popsicles: 5 Different Treats

How to Make Paletas 

This fun article delves into the origins and popularity of paletas. 

If you don't have popsicle molds handy, ice cube trays can also be used to make ice pops. All you have to do is fill the ice cube trays, cover with aluminum foil, and then poke toothpicks through the foil so they are in the middle of each liquid cube, then place in the freezer. For instructions and visuals, click here. 

Kids are encouraged to take pictures of their ice pop creations, to take notes on how they turned out, and what they would like to try next. (Teaching prototyping skills with popsicles.) 

Enjoy your frozen treats!

 

Learning about Electricity & Magnetism

Did you know that most electricity in the world is generated by moving magnetic fields near conductive copper wires? Moving magnetic flux creates movement in the electrons within the copper wire, generating electrical current that people use everyday. This process is called magnetic induction electricity generation. 

Ready for some magnetic induction electricity exploration? Check out these fun resources and activities for continued learning:

Activity #1: Learn more about Benjamin Franklin's Kite Experiment

As a precursor to learning about magnetic induction, the Electricity class discussed Benjamin Franklin's famous kite experiment. Find out more details of how the Franklin's kite experiment was designed in this video:

Activity #2: Build a Shake Light

A shake light is a common assignment for introductory electrical engineering course at the college level. It requires these supplies:

- A roll of magnet wire (magnet wire is copper wire covered with a thin layer of insulation, to avoid a short circuit)

- A cylindrical magnet

- LEDs

This video shows step-by-step instructions:

Activity #3: Build a bicycle-powered generator

If you have a spare bicycle and some time, you can build your own bicycle-powered generator! This video shows step-by-step instructions using a few re-purposed car parts: