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The Science (Fair) of Facebook

posted Monday January 24th, 2011

I love Facebook. I know people love to hate it — and I have my share of that, for sure – but I particularly loved it last night, when I posed the following:

Sophie insists she wants to do her science fair project about carousels. Any suggestions? I’m not sure I’m up to building one.

The suggestions poured in. I still have no idea how Sophie and I are going to pull this one off (while Ray and Annabelle attempt to build a zoetrope — also not an easy task!) but we’ve got a headstart. Here are a few of the responses, along with a description of the person who offered the particular idea. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I know for sure that this will involve a lot of carousel-riding research!

Jeff (lawyer/artist): A plastic lazy Susan and plastic toy horses. Spin it, the horses fly off, you’ve just demonstrated centrifugal force.

Kate (museum public relations): You might find a motor to make it go around, and take the carousel from a pop up version from a card or book.

Karie (teacher):

Kim (actor/director/writer): maybe observe a carousel at arizona Mills and do a graph to show which animal is selected and at what frequency. she can do a hypothesis about which animal she predicts will be ridden the most frequently and then she can count and see if she was right.

Ty (restaurant public relations): I suggest a beer first, then tackle the carousel.

Helen (owns a funky art space downtown): enchanted island carousel eyes closed write about the feeling

Kristen (teacher/my college roommate): Can you tie it into how many simple machines are used to create motion? Buy a carousel and identify them. Wheel and axle, pulley, screw. ?…

Kim (lawyer/cookbook author): Once (many years ago) I made a record player out of a rotisserie attachment for a barbeque grill. That same concept would apply here=get a small motor and connect it by a big rubber band to a small cake plate on a spool with toys glued to the top of it. In other words, think small.

Sue (artist): How the merry go round animals go up and down.

Karen (editor of a parenting magazine): If you DO end up making one, one of those cheap plastic lazy Susans you can put in kitchen cabinets to hold spices would make a great base!

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Tags: Filed under: culture by Amysilverman

4 Responses to “The Science (Fair) of Facebook”

  1. Science Fair time around here also…trying to remember the idea about dirty hands and a potato for Abby. Sophie is doing something with cornstarch that will require Costco sized amounts of it and a really tiny kiddie pool.

  2. Wow, what a great turn out. I saw these come in on FB and had no ideas, though it made me think about it. I can’t wait to see which ones you picked and how it turns out.

  3. Love the idea of predicting which animal will be ridden the most and graphing the results. It’s a different twist on science, emphasizing statistics instead of physics, with a touch of the scientific method. Sophie could then draw pictures of the animals if she’s artistically inclined or you can scour picture books in the library and photocopy pictures of the animals that most resemble the carousel characters. I remember seeing neat coloring books when my daughter was little too. Sounds like great fun! (The zoetrope will be a neat display too).

  4. we are getting ready to make our animals soon!!! having a lot of fun. and i have a feeling we’ll have more carousel science fair projects in years to come! i’ll post our results soon. thanks for your ideas!

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