Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Connecting the Dots

As mentioned in a previous post, a PTSOS participant alerted me to the prospect of constructing a wave machine with Gummy Bears.

I was intrigued enough to give it a shot.

The inertial candies used in the original were the UK-specific Jelly Babies. Sure, we have Gummy Bears (and Gummi Bears) here in the states. But their masses are significantly less than those of the Jelly Babies.

A Jelly Baby packs 6 grams of gelatinous sugar into its plump, opaque body. A Gummy Bear gets by with a mere 2.5 grams of see-through, rubbery gel. It could be eaten by a Swedish Fish for a twist of confectionary irony.

I opted for Dots, a product of the Tootsie corporation. They're nearly 4 grams each. (I didn't know the actual mass of a Jelly Baby until after our in-class project).

My OCD tendencies required that step 1 of the project was to sort the five flavors/colors of Dots. The Wikipedia entry for Dots says that Tootsie claims all flavors are produced in equal amounts. We found that cherry red outnumbered any other flavor by more than 2-to-1.

The rest of the project is represented fairly well in the video I produced and uploaded to YouTube. (Curiously, I produced the video in Apple's Keynote, which allowed me to include some nice construction animations.)

A draft PDF of the student lab activity write-up can be found here:
Connecting the Dots.

If you have trouble opening the PDF, welcome to Snow Leopard 10.6.7, the update that unceremoniously broke Open Type Fonts. It seems it won't open in Safari or Acrobat, but it will open in Firefox (with its PDF plugin), and it will open in Preview, oddly enough. One hopes this will be addressed in 10.6.8, whenever that comes out.


Elizabeth said...

It's no good without the Jelly Babies, sayeth Elizabeth. Yes, she sees your blog - I'm prepping her for next year.

rallain said...

Great job with the video. You have inspired me to also use Keynote to produce a movie. Well, I will use keynote unless I am feeling particularly lazy at the moment. In that case, I will just upload an unedited video.

Dan Burns said...

Great job Dean. I am sure some of my students will do this for their physics project this year. Your video will be of great use to them. However, you have once again made me feel extremely inadequate with your outstanding production values. I was relieved to see from the credits that you did not compose and perform the soundtrack yourself!

Stevie Ray said...

Great job - loved the How To Build footage. But should't the music have been Sammy Davis' rendition of "Candy Man?"

Frank said...

glad to see you decided to try it out! i'm planning on doing it too but just not sure when. thanks for posting the video.. nice instructions, plus seeing it done in someone else's classroom makes it seem more "tangible" and "doable"

Anonymous said...

I am inspired. This goes in next year for sure!