Physics from the Junk Drawer

Below you will find hands-on physical science activities for students, teachers, and anyone interested in science. You can download each activity separately by clicking the link for the activity you are interested in or download the entire manual at the bottom of the page.



Activities and Demonstrations

Motion and Forces

Mass in Motion (Can You Juggle?)

Human Waves

Reaction Time Chain (Measurement)

Pendulums – Length vs. Period

Models of Matter

Martian Hat (Inertia)

Coke Bottle Inertia (Inertia)

Tug of War (Forces)

Not Popping a Balloon With a Needle

Friction and Shoes (Forces)

Egg and Sheet (Forces and Momentum)

Collapsing Soft Drink Can (Strength of Structures)

Falling Glass of Water (Weightlessness)

Jumping Dime (Air Pressure)

Holding water in a Glass With a Card (Air Pressure)

Center of Mass of Odd Shaped Objects

14 Nails on One (Center of Mass)

Water Whirled in a Circle (Centripetal Acceleration)

Picking Up a Marble With a Bottomless Cup

The Penny in the Balloon

Multiple Ball Drop (Energy)

Popcorn Poppers

Electricity and Magnetism

An Electrometer (Electrostatics)

Positive and Negative Charges

Jumping Grains (Electrostatics)

An Electrostatic Compass (Electrostatics)

An Electrostatic Slime

Making a Magnet and a Magnetic Field Detector (Magnetism)

Floating Needle Magnetic Field Detector

Strength of a Bar Magnet – Concentration of Magnetic Force

Horseshoe Magnet and a Keeper – Why don’t other things stick?

Magnetic Field Around a Coil of Wire

Iron in Breakfast Cereal (Magnetism)

Refrigerator Magnets (Where is the North Pole?)

Magnetic Force on an Electric Current

Simple Electric Motor (Electric:Magnetic Forces)

Electrolysis – Hydrogen and Oxygen Production (Electricity and Chemistry)

Sound and Optics

Soda Straw Torsional Waves (Oscillations)

Soda Straw Flute or Oboe (Sound)

Corruga Horn (Sound and the Bernoulli Effect)

Perception of Direction with Sounds (Speed of Sound)

Disappearing Test Tube in Salad Oil (Optics)

Soda Straw Magnifying Glass (Optics)

Oil on Water (Optics)

Pin Hole Lens (Optics)

Where is It? (Optics)

References for Demonstrations

Physics Concepts and Terms

Download the Entire Physics from the Junk Drawer Manual