(I’m still catching up with some of activities we did over the past few weeks. This one was done during the first week of class while we were discussing magma / lava properties.)
I went searching at the SERC site for a viscosity experiment demonstration and found one by Ben Edwards written for a petrology class. Since my class didn’t have that kind of background, I changed the assignment some to make it more simplistic (removing the math & compositional links). I wasn’t really sure how well this was going to go, but it turned out to be one of the best assignments I’ve ever downloaded from the SERC site.
I’ve posted my notes, handouts, and logic over on my Google site. But I’d like to post pictures here.
- use a tilted large wooden board covered with wax paper as our flow surface; whole set-up on top of an old plastic shower curtain for easy clean-up
- have 9 different corn syrup preps to pour down the board to record things like: how long does it take to get to the bottom; shape of the flow; width of the flow
- before pouring them down the board, we blew bubbles in the corn syrup with straws to determine how easy / hard it was to do, what the bubbles looked like, and how quickly they moved to the surface
All in all? Great set of experiments that the students got into & maybe more importantly, still remembered which ones and gone faster / slower and easier / harder for the bubbles to move several weeks later. High recommendation for this activity if you want to teach about viscosity.