American Inventor Thomas Edison (pictured) is the person usually credited with inventing the incandescent light bulb. However, the real story is a little more complicated than that , with several English scientists developing early versions of the bulb that Edison produced. In fact, when Edison went to patent his bulb design in 1879, Englishman Joseph Swan, who had publicly demonstrated his bulb just one year earlier, sued Edison for patent infringement. Edison moved to also sue Swan, but instead of fighting it out in court, they formed the ‘Ediswan’ lighting company in 1883. This company went onto become the massive [...]
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STEM tasks do not necessarily involve lots of expensive equipment. They can be done with simple materials. It is important though, to clearly state what the goal and rules of the challenge is and the criteria that must be fulfilled. It is also important to clearly state the type and amount of materials available to each person or group of people. Here are a few of our favourite, simple STEM challenges. Mad About Science’s list of classic STEM challenges!
‘STEM’ is an acronym of the words Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It also represents an approach to teaching these disciplines in an integrated way and not just as stand-alone subjects. STEM learning often takes place in the context of a problem-solving task or challenge where students are required to generate ideas, then design and build a solution that can be tested, evaluated and then refined if necessary. The focus on STEM reflects the identified need for STEM skills in the workforce of the future. Enjoyable STEM experiences in the primary and early secondary years help students to confidently choose [...]
Sophie was born in the UK and holds an Honours degree in Applied Environmental Science from the University of London. Her first job was on a tiny island called Flat Holm. There she had to brave dive bombing gulls as she inspected their nests, look out for wild goats, herd and shear sheep, lead tours and teach students on excursions. In other jobs Sophie has built steps, fences, gates, paths, dry stone walls and boardwalks. She has her chainsaw licence and has planted hundreds of trees and wildflowers. Of her work at Mad About Science, Sophie says: ‘I love presenting workshops [...]
FameLab is the worlds leading science communication competition. Young scientists from all fields of research are invited to enter. They must explain a concept from their research in just three minutes, using just themselves and maybe a prop or two. Jargon and Powerpoint are banned! Members of the public are invited to attend the semi-finals, which are free events, held at the following locations from 6pm-8:30pm: Melbourne: Melbourne Museum, Carlton, Wednesday 28th March Sydney: Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Wednesday 11th April Brisbane: Queensland Museum, Southbank, Tuesday 20th March Perth: Maritime Museum, Fremantle, Wednesday 18th April More Information
The title of World’s Largest Spider goes to the male goliath bird-eating spider of South America. It has a record leg-span of 28 cm (11 in) – big enough cover a dinner plate. It is found in the coastal rainforests of Surinam, Guyana and French Guiana. If you like finding out lots of ‘biggest’ and ‘scariest’ facts, make sure you enter our competition to win a copy of Guinness World Records: Science and Stuff.
Did you know that the Melbourne Museum, the Queensland Museum, the South Australian Museum and the Australian Museum (in Sydney) all take and respond to inquiries from members of the public who would like help in identifying a plant or animal they have found? So, if you, or members of your family (or class) have discovered an interesting bug, or plant, or even a bird or fish, and you would like to know what it is called – take a photo and contact your local museum. Your question will go through to an scientist who will help you work out [...]
Spiders are truly one of nature’s great artists. They produce silk that they use to catch bugs, usually by spinning a beautiful web. In this activity, be a spider scientist and capture and preserve a delicate spiderweb to study. Head outside, in the backyard, school ground or nature trail in search of an unoccupied spider web. Look carefully in tall grass and bushes. Once you have found an empty web, sprinkle talcum powder all over it. The powder will stick to the silk, making it easier to see. Spray hair spray on a piece of black construction paper. While the [...]
Spiderman had a ‘spidey sense’. We mere mortals have just five, but they are given a workout in this engaging session. They are tested, tricked and more. Get ready for a sensory overload! This workshop is for Foundation to Year 2 students, and is available in a 60 or 90 minute format. We recommend a 90 minute format if budget and timetabling constraints allow. Each workshop can cater to a maximum of 30 children, however, smaller groups have better access to equipment and the facilitator.
A killer is lurking in the suburbs of Sydney, an arachnid with a venom that is powerful enough to kill you in less than an hour. According to Guinness World Records, the title of ‘World’s Most Venomous Spider’ goes to the male Sydney funnel-web. In 2015, after consulting with venom experts, Guinness World Records awarded the record to the Sydney funnel-web. The previous title holder was the Brazilian wandering spider.The reason for the change was that while the Brazilian wandering spider had been shown to be more deadly in studies on mice, its venom isn't particularly effective against people. The venom [...]