Boyle’s Law, Cartesian diver

Tonight is chem lab night for Susanna and two friends. Our ordinary lab manual is excellent, but the lab for Boyle’s Law seemed far too complicated to reinforce the concepts involved, and it lacked illustrations to make clear the relation of the procedure to the principles at work. So on the fly, we changed gears, and decided to demonstrate the volume-pressure relationship of Boyle’s law with a Cartesian diver. The girls, along with Jackson, their comrade cousin in Missouri who joins us by video chat, began by searching youTube for “Boyle’s Law” and for “Boyle’s Law, Cartesian diver,” and then adapted the procedure to use a 2-liter bottle, a glass eye dropper and some food coloring. The diver made for a cool, kinesthetic demo of Boyle’s pressure-volume relationship for gases, and made an ideal segue for applying Boyle’s Law to “the bends.” Instead of a confusing lab that would have brought frustration while obscuring the principle, the result was a lot of thinking, learning and fun! See for yourself…

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One Response to Boyle’s Law, Cartesian diver

  1. Michael says:

    Wow, your science lab was so much more meaningful than the ones I had for our kids. My labs were more like, “Whatever yuh do don’t run with a sharp stick. I’m purdy sure that violates some law uh science or my mama wouldn’t tolt this to me over n over.” Or “Throw that pop bottle agin the wall. It makes a kool sound like if icicles wuz made out a glass.” No wonder my kids did so poorly with the science section of the ACT. Ah, to have intelligent friends living close by. : )

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