Monday, May 27, 2013

SMMART SCIENCE: Magnets Guest Post

Cool and Useful Things You Can Do With Magnets

About the Author: Bruce Utsler is a freelance blogger who is currently studying to become an X-ray technician. He is an expert on magnets, particularly neodymium magnets. When he's not studying, Bruce likes to hit the streets on his longboard and to perfect his frisbee golf toss.

If you haven’t checked out some of the totally cool and extremely useful things you can do with powerful magnets, take a look at some of these suggestions.

Finding Wall Studs
One of the coolest and most useful real-world applications of super magnets is the ability to find studs in your wall. It’s not the actual stud itself that the magnet will be attracted to, but a nail or a screw in that stud instead. Once you find out where that is though, just follow a vertical line upward and hang whatever you need to hang—simple as that.

Taking Batteries Out
When I was a kid, my toys required batteries—and oftentimes, they required an infinite amount of them. I know for a fact that they take just as many today as they did back then, and that they are just as hard to remove after they die. That’s where the earth magnet comes in handy. Instead of risking a minor shock or a battery-acid-splattered puncture, just attach an earth magnet and pry that sucker out.

Make LED Throwies
LED Throwies are quickly becoming all the rage in and out of the graffiti world—originally used by graffiti artists and political activist supporting an agenda, they’ve quickly become the product of many DIY technology and decorating blogs because of their wide versatility not only as public decoration, but also as personal decoration. The best part about throwies? It’s only graffiti until you take it off the wall. The magnets allow you to place the throwies anywhere that there’s metal, and then remove them again to so it all over again somewhere else. Even better than that: they cost less than $1.00 each to make.

Homopolar Motor
Not many people know about the homopolar motor, but it truly is one of the simplest motors out there capable of producing 10,000 RPM, and made from nothing but:
·         One battery cell (C Battery)
·         Copper wiring
·         A Ferromagnetic  Screw
·         Neodymium magnet in disk shape

After placing the magnet on the head of the screw, and magnetically hanging the screw by its point from the tip of the positive end of the battery, touch one end of the copper wire to the negative surface of the battery. Keeping that end touching negative, touch the other end of the wire to the magnet at the head of the screw and voila! You have a homopolar motor!*
*The screw can actually get going up to 10,000 RPM and is capable of spinning out of control and potentially flying off of the battery. Take the proper precautions and wear safety glasses!

Chip Clips
By using two small rare earth magnets, you can completely replace the chip clips that keep open bags of Lays and such fresh. A word of caution—don’t swallow these magnets. It might sound silly, but super magnets have recently been the cause of life threatening injuries because of how they will attract to one another in different regions of the snaking intestinal tract. Eat the chips instead, they’re much tastier.
If you have any other cool ideas as to what you can do with magnets, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section below!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SMMART MATH: Pizza Pancake

Maybe you've already discovered it?  The Pizza Cutter!
For years, I've been cutting pancakes into bite size pieces for my Littles with a fork and knife. 
No more! 
"Who wants a Pizza Pancake?"  (You have to say 'Pizza Pancake' in an Italian accent...have to.)
*If the wedges are too big, take that lovely pizza cutter and cut the wedges in half.  This handy little tool is a time saver!
And well,  the math application is a bit obvious...FRACTIONS!  Count up all the pieces, and for each piece you eat, say what fraction you've eaten so far.  You can also practice adding fractions with the pancake pieces as a visual.  1/2+1/2 = whole.   1/4 + 1/4 = 1/2...


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