Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Leif to the rescue

The last two weeks have been dedicated to studying electricity at the summer camp where I'm teaching science. Turns out I'm not the world's most talented electrician. Here are a few of the experiments we've tried:

•Acid circuit with limes - failed
•Circuit with a potato - failed
•Circuit with salt water - failed
•Car that runs on salt water from a kit - failed

And that's not even a complete list. You get the picture. If there's one thing the kids have learned, it's that their teacher is a failure. I even managed to screw up the project that came from a kit.

Yesterday was the day we were going to hook up the big, final project: a bike generator. The kids were excited; despite the many failures, they still had some faith in me. But before they even arrived, I managed to blow the fuse on the multimeter, the doohickey that reads how much electricity is being emitted.

That meant there was no way to figure out what was going wrong when we hooked up the plug, plugged in a light, pedaled, and -- surprise, surprise -- nothing happened. So, I texted Leif Ericson to ask him what I should do. Because, ya know, he's a man. And men know about electricity.

Without a multimeter, he was fresh out of ideas for me. But later on he emailed me: "I hope your day went well despite the technical difficulties. I wish I could have shown up with a hard hat, a multimeter and a cable to help you."

Who knew that Leif doubles as a combination electrician/fairy godmother! *swoon*

P.S. We did finally manage to light a teeny-tiny lightbulb. So it wasn't a complete wash.

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