Saturday, April 26, 2014

Looking at the Sun

It’s Philadelphia Science Festival Week.

NASA has a table.

They’re handing out Sun Glasses – so dark you can actually look directly at the sun when you wear them. I didn’t see any flares or sunspots, but I saw the sun!  Now I have safe glasses.  Next time there’s a solar eclipse, I can see the whole thing!  That’s August 21, 2017.  There’s a map of the path of the eclipse here:  http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html

They also gave out wiggle pictures of the sun photographed with different filters.  You can see these and more here: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/

The sun was also popular with the Wistar institute.  They’re more concerned with melanoma. But they gave out white rubberband bracelets that turn purple in sunlight, and small bottles of sunscreen.

I couldn’t find a place on the NASA website to order a free pair. So if you can’t get to the Science Festival, you can buy them on Amazon:
Eclipser Solar Viewing Glasses with Double Alumunized Solar Skreen 2012 Pack of 5
There are other booths. Several try to convince kids to wear bike helmets, but none had coupons to get discounts on helmets.

They just had kids drop eggs (in ziplock bags) on cement and watch them break and then try to convince kids that this is what would happen to their heads if they hit cement.  I got one of the demonstrators to drop an egg on dirt.  She kept insisting it would break. I insisted she do the experiment.  Finally she dropped the egg. It didn’t break. She then tried to explain why it didn’t break.  She did have a styrofoam case that she could put the egg in and drop it on the cement.  That protected egg didn’t break when it hit the cement.  But the styrofoam case was all around the egg. A helmet doesn’t do that.

Another booth tried to convince kids they’d get concussions if they didn’t wear helmets.  They were working on a worthy cause, but there has to be a better way to make the point than a pamphlet or a cracked egg in a bag.

Maybe a computer game where the characters survive longer if they wear helmets? And players get discount coupons?

Most of the tables had hands-on activities and kids engaged the folks running the booths in conversations. Yay for teaching science as fun!

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