Resource Guide

This guide offers information on finding the materials and supplies you’ll need to create Exploratorium Snacks, and ways to think about designing your own activities. It also includes a list of our favorite print resources, including books, manuals, and journals. Be creative when you’re shopping, browsing through catalogs, or surfing the Web. You may find inspiration in the most unlikely places!

Sources are listed alphabetically.

All Around You!
In your hunt for resources, we recommend you begin by looking all around you! Can you think of a way the offerings in your local grocery store, pharmacy, toy store, thrift shop, home-improvement center, or stationery store might be of use in the classroom? Is there something you saw in a restaurant that could work as a great demonstration? Would that super-shiny bowl in the kitchen-supply store make a good concave mirror? Can you make a model from marshmallows and toothpicks instead of buying an expensive kit? This fascinating endeavor can result in some creative ideas for teaching science. In fact, the Exploratorium Teacher Institute actually offers an annual "Shopping for Science" field trip for their Beginning Teacher Program. Best of all, you can do it anytime, anywhere.

American Science and Surplus
Useful science stuff (lab equipment, small motors, etc.), hardware odds and ends, and a wide range of unusual items for creative use. The array of available items changes over time.

Arbor Scientific
Nice selection of interesting science materials.

Lots of different kinds of magnets, including neodymium and cow magnets, at reasonable cost.

Edmund Scientific Company
A prime source for interesting science products, from moiré patterns and solar cells to liquid crystal and polarizing materials. A particularly good source for optics supplies.

Educational Innovations
A wide variety of interesting science materials.

The Exploratorium Store
Offers science books for adults and kids, science kits, puzzles, games, unique toys, and much more.

Feed Stores
Cow magnets–which you may be able to find at feed stores–work well for many science activities. Normally, these magnets are fed to cows so that any iron material eaten (nails, bits of wire, and so on) will remain in the animal’s stomach and not pass through the digestive tract.

Flinn Scientific
In addition to being a chemical supply house, Flinn has an unmatched array of materials related to laboratory safety. It also offers a variety of activity ideas.

A source for strong magnets of all sizes, in addition to other products.

Frey Scientific
Large distributor of science supplies.

Grocery Stores
You can use cooking oil, corn syrup, or mineral oil for index of refraction investigations and demonstrations, sugar for making rock candy, antacids (such as Alka-Seltzer) for generating a gas, peanuts for calorimetry investigations, and bread for demonstrating density (before and after sitting on a loaf, for example).

Hardware and Home Improvement Stores
You can use pulleys and jacks for simple machines, flashlight bulbs, sockets, and knife switches for electricity activities, and mousetraps to power cars.

Outstanding source for technology, electronics, and science materials, from motors to hydraulic syringes to plastic propellers.

Master Magnetics/The Magnet Source
A good source for magnets of all kinds.

Mouser Electronics
Electronics supplier with an extensive selection.

Office Supply Stores
You can use spring clips for mirror holders, colored stickers for afterimages, rubber bands for propulsion, paper clips in electric motor construction, and so much more!

Party Stores
At local party stores, you can find small novelties and toys that are suitable for science activities.

Source for a wide range of technology, electronics, and project materials, including mousetrap cars and balsawood bridges.

Plastics Stores
You can get plexi-mirror, clear and colored acrylic sheets (for static-electricity demonstrations or colored filters), mirrored Mylar, and plastic tubes at plastics stores. Most will cut plastics to size (for a price), and they may have a bargain scrap bin for pieces by the pound.

RadioShack stores are virtually everywhere and sell common electronic components such as resistors, alligator clips, buzzers, wire, LEDs, and more. Because of the easy accessibility, we’ve listed RadioShack as a source for many of the electronic components used in this book, but these materials are also available from Kelvin, Mouser, and other sellers of electronics.

Large distributor of science supplies.

Science First
A source of efficient holographic diffraction gratings, along with many other products for teaching science.

Science Museum Stores
Check in your area for unique resources, including books, kits, and toys.

Steve Spangler Science
Offers a potpourri of science materials including science kits, toys, and videos.

Tap Plastics
A large distributor of plastics and plastics products. There’s an online store as well as brick-and-mortar stores on the West Coast.

Thrift Shops
Stores such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and St. Vincent de Paul, along with local thrift shops, can sometimes provide useful items at bargain prices. For example, we found a working hair dryer for $1.00 (for Balancing Ball), a working turntable for $5.00 (for Spinning Blackboard), and a bowling ball for $5.00 (which we used as the pendulum in Resonant Pendulum). Just use your imagination!

Toy Stores
You can use foam dart guns to investigate projectile motion, wind-up toys for energy transformations, and toy cars of various types to explore velocity and acceleration.

U.S. Toy Co.
An online party store that carries pull-back cars, plastic and metal Slinkylike springs, magnifiers, and more. You can purchase many items by the dozen fairly inexpensively.

Listed alphabetically by author
Note that textbooks tend to be revised fairly frequently, so it’s worth checking to see if there are editions later than those listed here. Book titles followed by an astrisk (*) may be difficult to locate, but they’re worth the effort. Amazon and eBay are potential sources of used copies.

The Physics Teacher
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
An excellent peer-reviewed monthly journal for physics teachers. Each issue presents a valuable array of activities, labs, articles, reviews, and columns.

American Chemical Society
An outstanding and affordable quarterly magazine for high school chemistry students. Each issue includes a Teacher’s Guide containing hands-on activities and other resources.

How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life (4th ed.)
by Louis Bloomfield
Wiley, 2009
Approaches physics through commonly encountered applications and devices, including light bulbs, microwave ovens, CD players, cars, vacuum cleaners, and more. A unique and outstanding addition to your reference library.

Clouds in a Glass of Beer: Simple Experiments in Atmospheric Physics
by Craig F. Bohren
Dover Publications, 2001
Discussions and activities concerning atmospheric physics.

What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks? More Experiments in Atmospheric Physics
by Craig F. Bohren
Dover Publications, 2006
Discussions and activities concerning atmospheric physics.

Physics: A Window on Our World (7th ed.)
by Jay Boleman
Ink Press, 2005
An excellent addition to your reference library.

A Potpourri of Physics Teaching Ideas
Donna Berry Connor, editor
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
Large collection of outstanding experiments, activities, and demonstrations from The Physics Teacher.

How Things Work
by Richard Crane
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), 1992
Collection of explanations of how many interesting things work, from the author’s column in The Physics Teacher.

Physics (5th ed.)
by John Cutnell and Kenneth Johnson
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2009
Excellent addition to a reference library.

String and Sticky Tape Experiments
by Ronald Edge
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), 1987
Extensive collection of simple experiments, activities, and demonstrations from the author’s column in The Physics Teacher.

Turning the World Inside Out & 174 Other Simple Physics Demonstrations
by Robert Ehrlich
Princeton University Press, 1990
A collection of demonstrations using low-cost materials to illustrate major physics concepts in simple and playful ways.

Why Toast Falls Jelly-Side Down: Zen and the Art of Physics Demonstrations
by Robert Ehrlich
Princeton University Press, 1997
This collection of demonstrations, using low-tech and inexpensive materials from everyday life, makes key principles of physics easy to understand.

Thinking Physics (3rd ed.)
by Lewis Carroll Epstein
Insight Press, 2002
Illustrated, multiple-choice conceptual physics problems related to the real world (includes solutions).

Seeing the Light
by David Falk, Dieter Brill, and David Stork
Wiley, 1986
A unique and outstanding text covering virtually all aspects of light, vision, and color. Though essentially a college text, it is largely qualitative rather than mathematical. It also has many activities that are quite doable by students. For any science teacher teaching the topic of light.

A Demonstration Handbook for Physics
by G. D. Frier and F. J. Anderson
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), 1981
Brief descriptions and diagrams for many physics demonstrations.

Physics (6th ed.)
by Douglas Giancoli
Addison-Wesley, 2009
A fine addition to your reference library.

Conceptual Physical Science (4th ed.)
by Paul G. Hewitt, John Suchocki, and Leslie Hewitt
Addison Wesley, 2008
Excellent conceptual treatment of physical science.

Conceptual Physics Media Update (10th ed.)
by Paul G. Hewitt
Addison Wesley, 2009
This package contains the tenth edition of the classic Conceptual Physics textbook–an outstanding example of a readable, qualitative approach to the concepts of physics that’s a must for your reference library. It also includes the Media Workbook, which relates to interactive tutorials on The Physics Place Web site, and the Practicing Physics workbook.

[Prentice Hall] Conceptual Physics (A High School Physics Program)
by Paul G. Hewitt
Prentice Hall, 2009
A Teacher’s Guide and an extensive range of ancillary materials are available.

Making Simple Musical Instruments*
by Bart Hopkin
Lark Books, 1995
Instructions for making a variety of musical instruments. Complete materials lists, instructions, and discussions. A fairly sophisticated approach that requires some use of power tools, etc., but not at the master-craftsman level.

Musical Instrument Design
by Bart Hopkin
See Sharp Press, 1996
Ideas and information for making and understanding musical instruments. A wonderful reference that is both sophisticated and understandable.

GEMS (Great Explorations in Math and Science)
Lawrence Hall of Science
University of California at Berkeley
A series of activity-based publications covering everything from bubbles to fingerprinting.

Invitations to Scientific Inquiry (2nd ed.)*
by Tik L. Liem
Science Inquiry Enterprises, 1991
A great collection of simple demonstrations and activities: a high-priority acquisition.

The Role of Toys in Teaching Physics
by Jodi McCullough and Roy McCullough
American Association of Physics teachers (AAPT), 2000
An AAPT/PTRA Workshop Manual. Ideas for using a wide variety of toys in labs, demonstrations, displays, contests, and more. Includes sources for toys, concepts covered, questions, and other useful items.

Apparatus for Teaching Physics
edited by Karl C. Mamola
American Association of Physics teachers (AAPT)
A collection of 150 columns from The Physics Teacher, the emphasis is on apparatus that’s useful in introductory physics courses. The collection is divided into five topics: mechanics, waves and sound, thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, and light and color.

Getting Started in Electronics (3rd ed.)
by Forest M. Mims III
Master Publishing, 2003
A good introduction to basic electronics. Includes theory and practical applications, and lots of stuff to build with relatively inexpensive parts.

The Dick and Rae Physics Demo Notebook*
by Richard B. Minnix and D. Rae Carpenter, Jr.
Dick and Rae, Inc., 1993
Physics demonstrations from two decades of workshops at Virginia Military Institute.

The Science Teacher
Science Scope
Science and Children
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Useful peer-reviewed journals designed for high school, middle school, and elementary school teachers, respectively. (Available to NSTA members only.)

NSTA Recommends
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
A catalog of science-teaching materials. Available online only.

The Science of Sound (3rd ed.)
by Thomas D. Rossing, Richard F. Moore, and Paul A. Wheeler
Addison-Wesley, 2002
A well-known college text that provides an excellent introduction to acoustics.

Chemical Magic from the Grocery Store
by Andy S. W. Sae
Kendall/Hunt, 1996
An excellent collection of activities and demonstrations using common, easily obtainable materials.

Teaching Chemistry with Toys: Activities for Grades K-9
by Jerry l. Sarquis, Mickey Sarquis, and John P. Williams
Terrific Science Press, 1995
An excellent collection of chemistry activities based on toys.

Conceptual Chemistry (3rd ed.)
by John Suchocki
Prentice Hall, 2007
A very readable qualitative approach to chemistry with many examples of how chemistry relates to everyday life. The book comes with Conceptual Chemistry Alive, an engaging DVD.

Demonstration Experiments in Physics
by Richard Sutton
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), 2003
This is a reprint of the 1938 classic work.

Teaching Physics with Toys: Activities for Grades K-9
by Beverly Taylor, Dwight Portman, and Susan Gertz
Terrific Science Press, 2006
An excellent collection of physics activities based on toys.

TOPS Learning Systems
TOPS stands for Task Oriented Physical Science, although they’ve expanded to include life and earth science as well. Their motto is “science with simple things.” An extremely valuable resource for teaching low-budget, hands-on science without elaborate facilities. The activities cover an amazingly wide range of content.

The Flying Circus of Physics (2nd ed.)
by Jearl Walker
Wiley, 2006
An extensive, fascinating collection of problems and questions about the real world, with answers included.

College Physics (7th ed.)
by Jerry Wilson and Anthony Buffa
Addison-Wesley, 2009
An excellent addition to any reference library.

A selection of books and posters available from the Exploratorium Store:

The Ball Makes the Game
by the Exploratorium staff; illustrated by David Barker
There’s a reason people don’t play golf with basketballs. This poster shows how different balls spin, bounce, and move through the air.

Explorabook: A Kid’s Science Museum in a Book
by John Cassidy and the Exploratorium
Klutz Press, 1991
Tools and ideas to inspire scientific exploration, written in the inimitable Klutz style.

by Pat Murphy, Ellen Macaulay, and the staff of the Exploratorium; illustrated by Jason Gorski
Little, Brown, 2006
An award-winning, family-friendly book filled with astounding ideas, hands-on activities, fascinating facts, and eye-popping photos.

The Exploratorium Guide to Scale and Structure
by Barry Kluger-Bell and the School in the Exploratorium
Heinemann, 1995
These inquiry-based activities explore the physics and mathematics of structure as well as the effects of scale on structure.

How Does a Muscle Work?
by the Exploratorium staff; scientific illustrations by David Goodsell
Exploratorium, 2003
This award-winning poster shows the molecular changes that make your muscles move. Detailed images include magnifications more than 1.5 million times life size.

Human Body Explorations (2nd ed.)
by Karen E. Kalumuck and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute
Kendall/Hunt, 2005
The activities in this book lead to a better understanding of many of the intriguing and mysterious aspects of the human body, both macroscopic and microscopic.

Math and Science Across Cultures
by Maurice Bazin, Modesto Tamez, and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute
The New Press, 2002
These inquiry-based activities highlight the science and math contributions of many of the world’s cultures, both ancient and modern.

The Math Explorer
by Pat Murphy, Lori Lambertson, Pearl Tesler, and the staff of Exploratorium; illustrated by Jason Gorski
Key Curriculum Press, 2003
Games, puzzles, and other fun activities help kids develop math skills.

The Science Explorer
by Pat Murphy, Ellen Klages, Linda Shore, and the staff of the Exploratorium; illustrated by Jason Gorski
Exploratorium, 2002
Science activities that are fun to do and require little or no preparation encourage children’s curiosity and eagerness to explore.

Square Wheels
by Don Rathjen, Paul Doherty, and the Exploratorium Teacher Institute; illustrated by Esther Kutnick
Exploratorium, 2002
Contains instructions for building 31 inexpensive activities, demonstrations, and classroom-sized science exhibits.

Exploratorium Website
Multimedia sites that explore diverse science topics such as climate change, polar science, human origins, earthquakes, gardening, music, and much, much more, along with hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. Also available is information on the Exploratorium’s teacher programs and opportunities for professional development.