NSTA Publications

A large fire can create its own local weather conditions by causing a huge updraft of hot air, which brings cooler air in at the base of the flames to feed the fire. Under the right conditions, a fire can even generate rotation in the air column and fire "tornadoes" like these will form. Vimeo link

Posted October 22, 2012

I'll have the clams:

You might think that a clam's shell would keep it safe from a predator like the slow-moving sea star, but you would be wrong. With all those arms, and thousands of sucker "feet" the sea star can pry the shell open, insert its stomach, and digest the clam from the inside out. All that remains is the empty shell. YouTube link

Posted October 15, 2012

Safety first:

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You will not see videos in this space that show people handling dry ice, liquid nitrogen, or other dangerous materials in an unsafe manner. Those videos can certainly be found, but chemical and laboratory safety is not an issue to be taken lightly. A young woman in England has had part of her stomach surgically removed after an accident involving liquid nitrogen. Please follow proper safety precautions in all your classroom activities.

Posted October 8, 2012

More than a half-century of space exploration:

With new images coming from Mars every day as the Curiosity rover explores the area around Gale Crater, this video does a nice job showing how far space exploration has come in the last 55 years. The current era of cooperation around the international space station is a far cry from the space race of the 1950s and '60s. YouTube link

Posted October 1, 2012

'N Sync:

I had never seen anything like this before, but what it immediately reminded me of is the danger posed by resonance to structures like buildings and bridges. Notice at the start of the video how little the support is moving laterally (when all the metronomes are moving randomly) and compare it to the motion of the support at the end (when all 32 are moving together). The most famous example of destructive resonance is probably the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940. YouTube link

Jacob Clark Blickenstaff is Assistant Professor of Physics and Assistant Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Southern Mississippi.