Experiments that Bring Scientific Principles to Life
Full understanding of scientific principles requires a combination of both theoretical and practical knowledge. In this article, we have listed two such experiments that will allow students to see up close how certain scientific principles work. These experiments allow students to use all their senses to gain a deeper understanding of science.
Salt Water Capacitor
A capacitor is an electric charge storage device that is used in almost all electronic devices. They store electric charges on plates that are separated by a dielectric material. The ability of the capacitor to store charges is known as the capacitance. The value of capacitance of a capacitor depends on its construction. A simple capacitor can be constructed using common items found in the kitchen. The key factor for the successful construction of a capacitor is to ensure that the plates sandwiching the dielectric material do not touch others.
- Non-metallic vessel ( Paper Cup or a Plastic Bottle)
- Salt water
- Aluminium/ Tin Foil
- Metal object such as knife and nail
- Fill the non-metallic vessel with saltwater.
- Wrap the outside of the vessel with tin foil.
- Place the metal object inside in the salt water. The foil acts as one of the terminals and the metal/water combination as another terminal. Do not allow the water or the metal object to touch the foil.
- Charge the capacitor by applying voltage from an ordinary household battery to both the terminals.
- After a few seconds, disconnect the battery and connect the voltmeter to the terminals of the capacitor to verify if the capacitor can hold charge. Any reading (mV-V) will indicate a charge.
Capacitors can store a large amount of electricity. Touching both the leads with bare hands delivers a lethal shock. While handling a capacitor, stand on a rubber mat for protection.
Illustrating Magnetic Field
We know how fun magnets can be. Magnets are an excellent subject for simple science experiments. They can be used to demonstrate some of the fascinating properties of magnetism without much preparation or cost. A magnetic field is an area in the neighbourhood of a magnet, electric current or changing electric field, in which magnetic forces are observable. The magnetic fields are invisible but they are commonly illustrated with the help of magnetic field lines or magnetic vectors.
- Piece of Paper
- Iron Filings
- Place magnets on a table close enough that they can be covered with a single sheet of paper.
- Place a plain sheet of paper on top them and sprinkle some iron filings on the paper.
- Tap the paper a few times to get the fillings moving.
- The fillings gradually start taking the shape of the magnetic fields.
- Make sketches on separate sheets of paper to record the shapes of the field.
- You can rearrange the position of the magnets to see how the field shape changes.
Be careful while handling the iron filings for they may get inside the eyes and damage it.
Science experiments promote scientific thinking in students. They play a crucial role in the intellectual development of children. By investing in safe and high quality science lab equipment, schools can provide the most effective tools to their students for supporting constructive learning and fostering scientific thinking in students.