Buildings that are called “green” or “environmentally sustainable” are designed to use energy as efficiently as possible. In Missouri, Washington University’s Tyson Living Learning Center achieves sustainability by incorporating green technologies in different ways, including the use of solar panels. In this activity, students will explore how solar panels work by building a simple circuit, a series circuit and a parallel circuit, using a solar panel to light a bulb and comparing which method yields the brightest light. Then students will build a solar-powered house using a shoebox, and test some variables to determine the most efficient way to harness solar energy to power a model home.
In this activity, students will use household materials to investigate and explore how the release of carbon dioxide gas from a chemical reaction can cause a small-scale explosion. Students then will experiment with variables to determine which factors launch a film canister the highest.
Chef Wylie Dufresne, the owner of New York City restaurant wd~50, experiments with food, literally. He has lab notebooks detailing what certain chemicals do to certain dishes. One of his signature dishes is a spin on eggs Benedict: he found that creating the plate’s centerpiece–a cube of fried hollandaise sauce–required a lot of scientific testing. Science Friday stopped in at Dufresne’s kitchen to see how he prepares the dish.