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The Kid Should See This

Make your own Fabric of the Cosmos kit and teaching demo

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If you’ve seen physics teacher Dan Burns demonstrate how to use stretched spandex lycra to explain gravity and spacetime, then you’ll like this Fabric of the Cosmos how-to video from the SPS National’s 2012 SPS SOCK (Science Outreach Catalyst Kit).  

Watch as Meredith Woy and Melissa Hoffman build the spandex fabric model and then demonstrate orbits, tides, roche limits, and the creation of the solar system. From the SPS User Manual .pdf:

“Gravity is one of many invisible fields that truly do make up the ‘Fabric of the Cosmos’ we know today. We’ve taken this concept very literally and are actually using a piece of fabric – Spandex – to model gravity. Spandex is the same material used to make biking shorts and other athletic clothing, and, as it turns out, it’s a very useful tool for mimicking and conceptualizing a simple model for warped spacetime!”

setting up the spandex

“You can use the Spandex in one of two ways: assembled on a frame, so that it can be set down and
requires no one to hold it or as a loose piece of Spandex that everyone grabs onto. The former is better
for smaller groups.”

demonstrating gravitation pull on a planet's water (tides)

• Fabric of the Cosmos User Manual, extension lessons for the gravity well, including notes and activities.

Watch these gravity-related videos next:
A physical demonstration of gravitational waves
• How does the Earth’s gravity help keep satellites in orbit?
What happens inside an artificial gravity lab?

via PhysicsBuzz.

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