SPS Demonstrations

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Outreach at Astronomy on the Mall 2017

Demonstrations for SPS Chapters

Looking for a new demonstration for an outreach event? Or, want to jump start your chapter and get started? These demonstrations have been developed by SPS to help you make a difference in your local communities. Each demonstration includes parts lists, instructions, key physical concepts to explain, and demonstration videos, where appropriate. Interested in contributing to this list?

Email sps-programs [at] aip.org

Fabric of the Universe

Explore forces in a gravitational field using a spandex sheet and marbles.

Composition of the Universe

This demonstration briefly explains the history of the universe using jars and colored beads.

Laser Hair's Width 

Participants will use a hair to show how light can interfere to produce a diffraction pattern.

Pinhole Projector

Construct a pinhole projector to introduce participants to the basic properties of light. This tool can then be used to view eclipses or other bright sources.

Eclipses: Earth-Moon-Sun Model

This demonstration uses a model of the earth-moon-sun system to explain why eclipses occur. This demo is useful for illustrating why total solar eclipses are rare. 

Light Fountain

This demonstration shows how light changes paths when travelling through different materials. Snell’s Law and the critical angle are explored using lasers and water. 

Density Column

This surprising demonstration illustrates the relationship between densities and buoyant forces.

Reflection & Refraction

This demonstration presents viewers with an example of reflection and refraction and describes difference between the two.

Marshmallows & the Speed of Light

This workshop uses marshmallows to teach participants about waves and to calculate the speed of light. 


This demonstration provides a three-dimensional visualization of magnetic field lines using ferrofluid.