February 2010
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Project Weekend

I received a text message from Jacob on Thursday that he needed to do a Science Project on electromagnets, build a display board on “How to build a rocket” and follow up on his Eagle Project planning. On Friday night we began by making a couple of electromagnets with 16 penny nails and some magnet wire I had from another project.

Saturday morning, after teaching two “Map and Compass” classes for Scoutmaster Training, I picked up Jacob and we went shopping. We went to Electronic Warehouse for some momentary switches, jumper cables and a couple of sets of alligator clips.

Then it was off to S&W Plastics for some plastic containers to house the experiments. Jacob chose a green, purple and yellow container over two clear containers. We were now going to have three electromagnets.

We then went to Baumans Hardware to get a dowel for the handle that that electromagnet was going to be attached. On the way home, we realized the project went from two to three electromagnets and we needed another switch. Off to Electronics Warehouse again.

It was then to the garage to start the project. After some time in the garage, we went to the kitchen table to start soldering the magnets to lead wires and some lead wires on the switches. Jacob did not want to be in the picture because he know where it would end up. As of Saturday night, the picture below shows the progress.

Science project in progress

You may not notice, but the battery and a couple of jumper cables are missing from the picture. Jacob took them over to his brother while I was taking the picture. Jacob convinced his brother Eric that he should let him attach the the jumper cables to the wire on his braces. The wire is a heat sensitive wire that becomes rigid and wants to return to its original position with heat.

Jacob applied the first jumper to left side of the wire in Eric’s mouth. He then attached and then the second jumper to the wire to the right side on Eric’s braces. There was a small spark as the clip was attached to the wire of Eric’s braces. Then there was the sizzling sound of the saliva as the wire heated up. Then there was the realization in Eric’s mind that the sizzling that he heard along with the tightening feeling he felt in his mouth that he made a bad decision. He exclaimed the the experiment hurt his teeth. I am sure the bands as well as his teeth were getting warm.

I just shook my head and had to chuckle that letting someone attach an electrical current to their braces was not a very bright idea. If Eric’s head had glowed, I still would have not been a bright idea. Just a really intriguing one.

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