Halloween Lesson, Part 2: The Haunted Physics Lab
Posted by mattusmaximus on November 4, 2010
If you recall, last week I posted the first of two skeptical lessons with a Halloween theme to them, and now I share with you the second one: the Haunted Physics Lab. I cannot take credit for this idea, as I borrowed it years ago from my colleagues in the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). What I did differently is to add a number of skeptically-oriented twists to it, such as why Ouija boards don’t work and why “ghost-hunters” are full of hooey when they claim EMF meters are detecting ghosts.
But don’t take my word for it, take it from an article by a local news outlet that interviewed me and some of my students about the Lab🙂
Mix in the spirit of Halloween with some physics concepts and learning occurs.
Jenna Schmidt considers herself to be a logical person.
So on Halloween, the Lake Forest High School senior walked into physics teacher Matt Lowry’s classroom dressed in a gorilla suit last Friday.
Compared to the rest of the advanced placement physics students in her class, she blended right into the backdrop. For the past six years at the end of October, Lowry has transformed his classroom into a Halloween-themed dedication to the world of physics.
Carrying her gorilla head in one hand, Schmidt took a look around the classroom and noted, “There is a lot going on. Usually it’s just one lab, but this is a lot to get through. It’s a lot of different types of physics topics.”
Lowry created 37 stations, each one devoted to a principal of physics from a Theremin which creates some of the eerily, high-pitched creepy sounds from horror movies to optical illusions to even disproving the aura of an Ouija board. …
I especially like how the article ended:
… Many students have seen an Ouija board before, but it’s hard to tell if it holds the same prominence it once did for slumber parties. Lowry’s station tests the opposing forces of magnetic fields using a magnet and a magnetic board underneath the Ouija board. Remove the Ouija board and the magnet and magnetic board continue to oppose one another.
“The demonstration is specifically set up to not only demonstrate a good physics concept about electro-dynamic induction, but it also shows the Ouija board does nothing,” Lowry said.
Crushing news for the spirit world.