Black Sand is one of my favorite…

…exhibits. Blows my mind! So simple, but there’s something so satisfying to run your hands through the sand and play with the patterns you get. I’ve messed around with other magnetic-field visualizers, but this one feels like a step above…

Here is a new clip uploaded to ExploTV from Ken Finn about where we get our black sand ~ I remember my first time dragging for it in Ocean Beach, and it felt magical to be able to connect it directly to the exhibit when I got back to the Exploratorium.

(if you like a little California geography & Geology, the first two minutes.  Black Sand = 2 minutes onward)


It’s all okay


Hey there, I just wanted to mention, in response to a couple questions I received, that if you didn’t get a chance to post about any of the previous challenges and you still want to, it’s not too late! If you experimented with any of these things, anytime, in any way, then we want to hear about it.

Aluminum Foil Eagle Sculptures

Sarah Thibault is a San Francisco based artist. While doing mostly painting recently she has ventured out in to making sculpture. She showed several of these aluminum foil eagles her her recent MFA show. The foil birds are built on wire armatures and painted with spray paint. You can see her work here.

What can we do with this?

Take one engineering summer camp

Enroll 7 boys

Buy a roll of tin foil

Experiment 1:

Place tin foil pieces on the table and give no rules


No Rules Tin FoilTin Foil Ball

Be surprised that 6 boys did nothing.  One made a ball.

Experiment 2:

Assign engineering challenge: Build a solar oven


Much tin foil was used.  Some effectively, some not so much.  But fun was had.  Success!

Foiled again!!!

Foiled again

Did You Ever? Science Museum Oklahoma 2011 Camper explores the ability of foil to keep out teacher directions to build a moon colony and instead build an alien fish cosmonaut helmet…it worked, the foil kept out the pesky teacher directions and left this camper free to build something just as rad!!!