Biology-Chemistry High School SMILE Meeting
15 February 2000
Notes by Ken Schug

Pam Moy (Morgan Park HS)
(handout) had us do several simple tasks such as tie your shoe, write your name (cursive), zip up a zipper or button a button, crack open a peanut and eat it. And we timed ourselves (in seconds). The catch was that we had to do each task twice; once with our thumbs immobilized (by taping to side of hand), and once without. We found most tasks were slower by a factor of 2 to 5 times with thumbs immobilized! Connected to evolution?! Makes the point simply and effectively. Elegant!

Karlene Joseph (Lane Tech HS)
(handout) had us make "birds" of paper, soda straws and tape. We discovered that some of the next generation (mutant) birds flew farther, some a shorter average distance. If flying to an oasis is needed for survival, a mutant selection will occur. A wonderful way to understand evolutionary process and relation to survival! The detail in the handout was very well done, and made it most useful. Excellent!

Zoris Soderberg (Webster School)
filled a jar with hot water and placed a tea bag on top. After a time several layers of different colors developed, which was likened to layers of air in the atmosphere. It was hypothesized that density increased as tea ingredients dissolved, and then that layer would sink. Ken Schug suggests that an increase in density might occur due to the tea bag decreasing the temperature of surface water, and leading to the sinking layer. Ahah! A good subject for further investigation!

Zoris rubbed a polystyrene cup on her hand, and the cup stuck to it! Why? Static electricity! Opposite charges attract.

Finally, Zoris placed some weak tea in a clear plastic cup, and had a volunteer hold an index card over the top of the cup. Then she had the volunteer invert cup-with-card and remove the hand from holding the card against the cup. Behold! The card stayed in place and so did the water inside the cup! It didn't fall out! Explanation? Air pressure outside the cup exerts greater force up on the card than the pressure of liquid and air inside exerts a force down. Thanks, Zoris!

More good ideas! Don't miss the next meeting!