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Science Shows currently available at the BSLC:

  • Light and Colour. Recommended grade level: (Grade 4 to Adult) more...
  • Magnetism. Recommended grade level: (K to Adult) more...
  • Air Pressure. Recommended grade level: (K to Adult) more...
  • Static Electricity. Recommended grade level: (K to Adult) more...
  • Waves and Sound. Recommended grade level: (Grade 4 to Adult) more...
  • Physical and Chemical Changes. Recommended grade level: (Grade 6 to Adult) more...
  • Weather. Recommended grade level: (Grade 4 to 7) more...
  • Forces and Motion (We will fit to Grade level) more...
  • Gravity and Centre of Gravity. Recommended grade level:  (Grades 5 to 9) more...
  • Simple Machines. Recommended grade level:  (Grades 5 to Adult) more...

Light and Colour (Grade 4 to Adult)

Students see a brief laser light show when they enter the darkened Light and Colour room. Different ways to produce light are shown, starting with a simple candle and progressing through Edison's carbon filament light bulb, a modern tungsten light bulb, a plasma ball, a light stick and red and green lasers. A black light is used to illustrate fluorescence of numerous solid and liquid objects. We have a 'shadow board' that is phosphorescent and can be used to produce long-lasting shadows that stay after the object producing the shadow has departed. We demonstrate the principle behind fibre optics in a very spectacular way, using a green laser. We mix primary coloured lights (red, blue and green) to produce various interesting combinations. We have a 'magic mirror' that produces very surprising images. We even produce 'lightning' and 'thunder' with our Van de Graaff static electricity generators. back...

Magnetism (K to Adult)

We begin with a 'competition' between students to see who can lift the most nails using identical magnets. One volunteer is given a bucket of 'regular' nails (steel), while the other gets 'shiny' nails (made of aluminum). A second contest is between a volunteer who gets a bucket of old nickels (made of real nickel) and one who is given a bucket of nickels made after 1982 but before 2001. (These 'nickels' were made of copper, which is not magnetic.) We then demonstrate recently minted nickels and pennies that are really made of steel. We also show them how our strong magnets can lift bits of magnetite ore. We have a spinning 'levitated' magnet, a 'levitated' model of the earth to show visitors. We also have an electromagnet which we challenge volunteers to pull apart. We can add other special effects such as a Lenz's Law apparatus (magnet falling through a copper pipe) and a block of neodymium magnet falling onto a large copper plate. back...

Air Pressure (K to Adult)

Fun for any age level, the Air Pressure demonstration starts with a number of 'experiments' to show the force due to air pressure such as: trying to lift a 'baggie' out of a sealed jar, pulling a toilet plunger off the blackboard, pulling apart 'suction cups', lifting an atmospheric pressure pad off a desk. We make marshmallows twice their normal size using a vacuum pump; we show how to keep water in an inverted glass, and how to get an egg into a milk bottle. We shrink a plastic pop bottle using a vacuum pump. We do several demonstrations involving Bernoulli's Principle, and we demonstrate 'finger magnetism' using a test tube inside a sealed bottle of water. We sometimes have a contest between a youngster and an adult using the 'air blasters'. We are always adding to our list of 'neat stuff' to demonstrate pressure in air and other fluids. back...

Static Electricity (K to Adult)

If we rub a balloon on a volunteer's head, we can make the balloon attract his/her hair. We then show how a rubbed balloon (or plastic leg from a book shelf) can attract an empty pop can and make it roll along the table. If we rub a plastic bookshelf with rabbit fur and place an empty pop can at one end of the shelf, the pop can rolls the length of the shelf. If the shelf is tilted slightly, the pop can will even run uphill on the shelf. We can show that there must be two kinds of electric charge, using two kinds of plastic strip. We demonstrate why it is safer inside your car than outside during a lightning storm. We can also show how to light up your house during a power failure, using static electricity. A favourite with visitors is the hair-raising experiment with the Van de Graaff static electricity generator. We also use it to create lightning, to make a rabbit come back to life, to demonstrate flying saucers, and to show how repulsive a person can be. back...

Physical and Chemical Changes (Grade 6 to Adult)

This very elaborate demonstration requires a demonstrator with special expertise in chemistry, for safety and other reasons. We do this show for teachers who request it because they are studying this topic in their curriculum. We illustrate the difference between physical changes and chemical changes (where new substances are formed). We enjoy doing this show, but it is relatively costly and very labour-intensive, so we do it less often than most of our demonstrations. It involves many colour changes, flashes, pops and bangs, and a lot of good old-fashioned chemistry. back...

Waves and Sound (Grade 4 to Adult)

We start by illustrating what a vibration is, and what a sound wave is, using several common examples. We let students determine their personal 'hearing range' using a sound generator that produces frequencies that include the audible range. We show that sound cannot travel in a vacuum. We let students hear examples of 'beats'. We have several interesting ways to produce sounds. back...

Weather (Grade 4 to 7)

Two important factors affecting weather are Thermal Energy Transfer and Changes in Air Pressure. Three methods of heat transfer will be illustrated: Conduction, convection and radiation. Several demonstrations involving air pressure will be used. Students will also see how a cloud can be made in a bottle, and how lightning can be simulated with a static electricity generator. back...

Forces and Motion (We will fit to Grade level)

This demonstration will be tailored to fit the grade level. Demonstrations will illustrate the property of inertia and Newton’s Laws of Motion. Falling bodies and projectile motion are illustrated in this show. back...

Gravity and Centre of Gravity Show (Grade 5 to 9)

Galileo and Falling Balls, Newton and the Moon, Projectile Puzzle, Centre of Gravity and Stability, the Cone that Runs Uphill, Balancing Birds, Balancing Pop Bottle, Weird Shoe Box, Hanging Belt and ‘Curious George’ (monkey on a string). Also, how we measure the force of gravity with a spring. back...

Simple Machines (Grade 5 to Adult)

The Simple Machine show is normally part of the introduction to the Balancing a lever lab. We  put out an assortment of household items that are simple machines or combinations of simple machines. Then show how they work. Examples are available of: Wedges, wheels-and-axles, pulleys, levers, gears, hydraulic lift, screws and inclined planes. back...

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