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String and Sticky Tape Experiments
We live in a vicarious age. We often experience the world through TV rather than doing the touching and feeling ourselves. Physics is an experimental science and only by doing "hands-on" experiments, messing around with equipment will you get a feel of it. Most physics gear sold to schools is too expensive to allow students to work with it alone, and to have the teacher hovering by is inhibiting. To avoid this the equipment must either be very strong, unbreakable, in fact, so cheap it can be replaced at little cost. The
String and Sticky Tape Experiments column was introduced in the magazine The Physics Teacher in the early 80's. It showed experiments using the simplest, least expensive materials. The materials could be purchased at the nearest store - you did not anything expensive - not even need a stopwatch. All you needed were common rubber bands, cello tape, Styrofoam or paper cups, string, drinking straws, glass marbles, plastic ruler, coins, pencil, paper and scissors.
In 1905 the father of
Russian popular science Yakov Pereleman (1882-1942) wrote Physics for Fun. He showed that children could use standard coins -
roubles and kopecks as standard weights. It is sad that the chapter on weight in most Indian books starts not
with coins (which are accessible to every child) but with a picture of a
fractional weight box! (Which most children will never see in their whole
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