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Physics videos to popularize physics - any good ideas?

  1. Oct 16, 2017 #1
    I will make some physics videos for children to bachelor thesis to popularize physics. I have a lot of ideas. However, I want to make same experiments more interesting. But I don't have any good idea right now. I think that there is a lot of creative people which could help me and give me any advice about this two experiments. I don't want to know how this experiments works. I know it. I just need some inspiration.

    1) I think you know experiment with glass full of water and paper. If I turn over the glass with paper, the watter doesn't flow out... There is different type of this experiment with bottle and pingpong ball. If you have bottle full of watter and you put the ball to bottle neck, you could do the same experiment. It also works if the bottle isn't full, you turn over it, you are still holding the ball and you let part of the water flow.

    So, I will do this experiment with bottle, both variants. However, can I use something different then pingpong ball? Some big polystyrene ball? Or something different? What about a different liquid? Is there any type of liquid when it will not works? Or have you any different creative idea what can I do with that?

    2) Maybe you know this experiment:

    I think it is great. But it is to short. What more can I do? Is there any type of liquid when it will not works? I really need some inspiration. I have done some experiment, but now, I don't have some good idea.

    Thank you very much!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2017 #2


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    Decide what concepts you want to convey to the target audience. You could show different liquids and how different ones work. watch other videos online to see what style may work for you. Here is an example that has something similar to what I think you are talking about.
  4. Oct 28, 2017 #3
    If this is for children, and you want other simple experiment ideas, I would suggest (1) falling objects of different weights reaching the floor at the same time, and (2) paper clip floating on water due to surface tension, and (3) spray black pepper evenly on a dish full of water, put dish soap on the tip of your finger and the pepper grains instantly fly off to the far edges of the dish.
  5. Jan 1, 2018 #4


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    You could also try explaining static electricity, water sticking to a balloon, showing how bubbles form into spheres naturally (even with triangle bubble makers). There are so many possibilities. However, try and make your videos a little different and interesting, add some element of interest for kids. The open-source education market is much too saturated to succeed simply by making videos.
  6. Jan 12, 2018 #5
    Years ago, before YouTube, I recall a television show (perhaps the American news show 60 Minutes?) that had a couple of innovative High School physics/science teachers doing cool stuff. Two experiments that I remember:

    Take all students to the parking lot. Put a vehicle, in neutral gear, set up for a clear straight path. Have a couple students push on the rear of the vehicle, pressing on common bathroom scales to achieve a relatively constant push force. Put a mark on one of the tires. As the vehicle moves forward and accelerates, record the time elapsed time when the wheel mark touches the pavement. This experiment gives push force F, distance, time. Use the data to calculate and illustrate F=ma and other equations of motion.

    (this one is a bit fuzzy, can't quite remember) Take all students to the swimming pool. Build a pool-width plunger (a pool-width board with perpendicular boards nailed to the long board as handles). Students push the plunger into the water with regular frequency to set up a wave action. Students on other end of pool record wave-top to wave-top distance, time, and height to do rudimentary frequency analysis and wave propagation analysis.

    One that I show to my Industrial Safety class that always gets 'em jazzed up, and is on YouTube, is an older British gentleman who is a former military explosives expert. He lights a small candle on the ground. Sets a stovepipe around the candle. Puts a tablespoon of common white flour into a folded piece of paper. Gradually shakes the flour powder into the stovepipe so that it atomizes. FOOOM. Kids love that. Shows how presumably benign dusts & powders can be explosive with the right mix of air / heat / fuel.
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