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CRADLΣ Physical Sciences
Student  Workshops

 

CRADLΣ offers a series of structured workshops designed to allow students to discover science concepts through Experiential Learning.

The workshops feature an independent hands-on component that allows students to explore and draw conclusions from the data set obtained. The sessions also introduce the concept of garage science - that science experimentation is not restricted to the ivory towers of scientific research communities but rather is readily available and cheap to replicate.

For workshops
Class Size  10 (minimum)     40 (maximum)
Suggested times  Mondays to Fridays: 9:30am or 2.30pm

CRADLΣ Physical Sciences Student Workshops are conducted on request and delivered at Science Centre Singapore. Please enquire through cradle@science.edu.sg for programmes to be delivered in Schools.

Click here to download the PDF version of the 2017 CRADLΣ Programme Booklet (pdf).
Click here to download the PDF version of the 2018 CRADLΣ Programme Booklet (pdf).

More about CRADLΣ.

  Title Type Levels
  Physical Sciences Workshops
Digital Oscilloscopes
Diffusion Cloud Chamber
Measuring Magnetic Field Strength       
Measuring the Speed of Light (Basic / Advanced)
Speed of Sound (Basic / Advanced)
Superconductivity
Balmer Series and Bohr Atomic Model
Diffraction as Metrology Tool
Electronic Structure of Semiconductors
Optical Spectroscopy

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Bookings

To book our workshops, please login to https://obs.science.edu.sg or fill in the Student Booking Form and email it to cradle@science.edu.sg (or fax it to 6561 6361).

Overseas school and Corporate group bookings
The listed course fees apply only to local schools. Overseas schools and all corporate groups (including locally based corporate groups) can contact cradle@science.edu.sg to enquire on the course fees. Kindly note that admission rates to Science Centre Singapore applies on top of the course fee. 

General Enquiries
For booking enquiries, please email cradle@science.edu.sg.

Outreach Enquiries (cohort specific)
To learn more about our schemes for school-based workshops or workshops/enrichment for a cohort, please contact:

Lee Shu En (School Outreach Educator)
Email: lee_shu_en@moe.edu.sg 

Physical Sciences Workshops  

Digital Oscilloscopes

Description

Karl Ferdinand Braun pioneered the science and engineering of wireless
communications using early oscilloscopes (Nobel prize 1909), and ever
since oscilloscopes have been among the most basic and useful
instruments in physics and engineering labs. Over the last decade,
traditional cathode ray oscilloscopes have largely given way to digital
oscilloscopes, which offer a plethora of additional functions that widen
their versatility.

“Oscilloscope literacy” is a key skill for practical exploration of fast
processes – be it for simple demonstration/observation of scientific
phenomena or for school-based research work.

Students will:

  • be exposed to the concepts and basic functions of contemporary
    digital oscilloscopes.
  • be aware of possible artefacts not present in traditional analogue
    oscilloscopes.
  • appreciate the usefulness of oscilloscopes in recording and
    analyzing fast processes.
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Secondary , Pre-U  
Topics Oscilloscopes. Waves. Speed (or velocity) of waves. Application of electronic instrumentation. Data analysis.
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $15/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Diffusion Cloud Chamber

Description

What does meteorology have to do with particle physics? In this workshop, participants will learn how a serendipitous observation led to the development of the cloud chamber particle detector by Charles Wilson (Nobel prize 1927). “The most wonderful and original instrument in scientific history”, as Lord Rutherford, the “father of nuclear physics”, called it, enabled further work resulting in several other Nobel prizes.

Students will:

  • construct a diffusion cloud chamber.
  • observe the different signatures left behind by ionizing radiation, such as cosmic ray particles.
  • experience and realize the omnipresence of background ionizing
    radiation.
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Secondary , Pre-U  
Topics Properties of gases, Kinetic model, Magnetic effect of a current, Force on a current-carrying conductor, Background radiation and nuclear decay.
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $15/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Measuring Magnetic Field Strength

Description

Besides gravity, electromagnetism is the next most encountered force
in our everyday life. It is of immense practical importance and underlies
numerous innovations that propelled humanity into the modern age –
e.g. electricity generation (motors and transformers), modern
communications and optics.

This workshop explores the relation between static magnetic fields,
electrical currents, and forces resulting from their interaction. The
methods used are of high relevance to “current events” as the
international system of units and measurements (SI) is expected to
switch to electromagnetic methods for defining base units such as the
kilogramme in the near future.
 
Students will:

  • measure the Earth’s magnetic field strength using a compass and a
    current-carrying conductor.
  • determine the magnetic constant (“permeability of free space”),  𝜇o
    using a current balance.
  • get a taste of how fundamental constants and units are determined
    or reproduced.
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Secondary , Pre-U  

While this workshop covers concepts of A-level physics syllabus, it is also suitable for upper secondary students with an aptitude and interest for science. Workshop materials can be customised according to the learning needs of participants upon request.
Topics Electromagnetism, Ampere's Law, Bio- Savart Law, Forces & friction, Principle of moments, D.C. motor
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $20/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Measuring the Speed of Light (Basic / Advanced)

Description

19th century experiments (e.g. by Michelson and Morley) and new theoretical approaches (Lorentz/Einstein) established the speed of light, c, as a fundamental property that ties together space-time, the fabric of the universe. The speed of light is hence not just of great importance in the fields of optics and astronomy, but also fundamental for the microscopic structure of the world, e.g. in quantum physics. The speed of light also lies at the heart of everyday measurements: since 1983, the SI unit for length, the metre, is derived from the speed of light.

Students will:

  • (Basic) determine the speed of light in air using a laser diode, a photo detector, and common electronic measurement instruments.
  • (Advanced) explore and appreciate general problems in fast measurements (and how to deal with them) which may also clear some common misconceptions on how signals travel along a cable.
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Secondary , Pre-U  

The workshop covers concepts of O-level physics syllabus and expands them towards the JC-level syllabus. Basic knowledge of wave properties (frequency, wavelength and velocity) is expected.
Topics Speed of light. Geometric optics (mirrors). Laser diodes and photo diodes (photonics). Application of electronic instrumentation. Difference measurements. Data analysis. Optional: Finite propagation velocity of electric signals in a cable. Reflections on a cable and termination. Junction capacitance of photo diode.
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $20/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Speed of Sound (Basic / Advanced)

Description

We use sound for numerous purposes such as to communicate with people, for entertainment (music and movies) and even as a second form of sight. In physics, sound is an excellent model for introducing wave phenomena since it is easily experienced by ear and has wavelengths that are very convenient for benchtop experiments. The concepts used in this workshop are directly transferable to other waves, including advanced research.

Students will:

  • (Basic) determine the speed of sound in air using electronic  equipment and transducers via a “time of flight” method (distance/time) and explore reflection phenomena (echoes).
  • (Advanced) explore complementary ways of measuring the speed of sound based on standing wave patterns and resonance frequencies.
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Secondary , Pre-U  

The workshop aligns with the O- and A-level syllabus
Topics Sound. Waves. Speed (or velocity) of waves. Reflections. Stationary waves. Resonances. Application of electronic instrumentation. Data analysis.
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $20/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Superconductivity

Description

The electrical conductivity of certain materials changes dramatically as they are cooled to sufficiently low temperatures. In 1911, Heike Kamerlingh-Onnes (Nobel Prize 1913) found that some materials might enter a state where electrical resistance completely disappears. While in this superconducting state, quantum mechanical effects in the material manifest themselves at the macroscopic scale, in the form of zero electrical resistance, as well as perfect diamagnetic properties (resulting in Meissner levitation).

Students will:

  • learn to reliably measure very small resistances using the  4-point method.
  • conduct resistance measurements on a superconducting material as it is slowly cooled to liquid nitrogen temperatures.
  • determine the critical temperature TC.
  • observe the disappearance of electrical resistance at low temperatures. 
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Secondary , Pre-U  

Workshop materials can be customised according to the learning needs of participants upon request.
Topics Principle of thermometry, Resistance and Ohm's Law, Circuit diagrams, Band theory
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $20/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Balmer Series and Bohr Atomic Model

Description

Soon after the introduction of spectral analysis in the 19th century, an empirical relation for the wavelengths of spectral lines of hydrogen atoms was found (Rydberg formula). The physical reason for this relation only became clear with the introduction of a naive quantum mechanical model of the hydrogen atom by Niels Bohr (Nobel Prize 1922). While Bohr’s atomic model is not quite right from today’s perspective, it introduces key characteristics of quantum physics (e.g. de Broglie waves, Nobel prize 1929) at a level that is easily within JC students’ reach.

Students will:

  • measure the wavelengths of visible spectral lines from a hydrogen lamp.
  • identify quantum numbers (electron shells) related to the observed spectral lines.
  • determine the Rydberg constant and use it derive the mass of an electron.
  • appreciate how spectroscopic evidence provides insight into the structure of atoms and molecules.
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Pre-U  

While this workshop covers concepts of A-level physics syllabus, it is also suitable for upper secondary students with an aptitude and interest for Physics and Chemistry. Workshop materials can be customised according to the learning needs of participants upon request.
Topics Atomic structure of matter, Atom models (in particular Bohr-Rutherford model), Energy levels in atoms, Spectroscopy & photons, Electrostatic forces (Coulomb law), Circular motion, Quantum physics vs. classical physics, Wave-particle duality and de Broglie waves
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $20/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Diffraction as Metrology Tool

Description

The study of light has been a major topic since the time of the ancient Greeks. In early 18th century, Sir Isaac Newton proposed that light must be made up of particles to explain its straight line propagation. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that the wave theory of light gained popularity when Thomas Young demonstrated diffraction effects using two closely spaced slits. This laid the foundation for a modern understanding of optics, including breakthrough applications like crystal/molecular structure analysis using X-ray diffraction (Laue and Bragg/Bragg, Nobel prizes 1914 and 1915, and many more Nobel prizes).

Students will:

  • appreciate how diffraction arises as a consequence of the constructive and destructive interference.
  • relate the wavelength of light, the microscopic structure of the diffracting object, and the resulting diffraction patterns to each other.
  • use the characteristics of diffraction to perform measurements of wavelengths or microscopic structure sizes. 
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Pre-U  

While this workshop covers concepts of A-level physics syllabus, it is also suitable for upper secondary students with an aptitude for science. Workshop materials can be customised according to the learning needs of participants upon request.
Topics Light. Waves. Geometric optics (real and virtual images). Superposition and interference. Diffraction (using transmissive and reflective gratings). Spectral lines. Babinet’s principle.
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $20/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Electronic Structure of Semiconductors

Description

Semiconductors are the building blocks in almost all modern electronics (radios, televisions, computers, cell phones) that we use in our everyday lives. While devices using semiconductors were first built based on empirical knowledge, understanding the behavior of semiconductors, through single-electron models such as the valence band / conduction band model, has been pivotal in the construction of more capable, efficient and reliable devices.

Students will:

  • use the band model of semiconductors to explain semiconductor characteristics and the effect of doping and temperature.
  • appreciate how a p-n semiconductor junction rectifies electric current.
  • measure the response of Schottky (metal-semiconductor) and bipolar (PN) diodes to voltage and temperature changes.
  • Using the Shockley diode equation, determine the charge of an electron and the band gap of a semiconductor. 
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Pre-U  

While this workshop covers concepts of A-level physics (H2) syllabus, it is also suitable for upper advanced younger students who are ahead of the syllabus requirements or have particular aptitude for science. Workshop materials can be customised according to the learning needs of participants upon request.
Topics Semiconductors. Band model. Diodes. Doping. p-n junction and depletion zone. Orbitals. Pauli principle. Fermi level and Fermi-Dirac statistics. Shockley equation. Thermistors.
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $20/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Optical Spectroscopy

Description

Spectroscopy is a class of techniques that investigates how radiation (such as, but not limited to light) is affected by interactions with matter. Our understanding of the micro- and macro-cosmos is largely based on spectroscopic observations. Spectroscopic techniques are also everyday characterization tools in materials science, chemistry, physics, life sciences, astronomy, and more and are taught early in chemistry.

This workshop has close links to our workshops on diffraction and Bohr’s atomic model, but focuses on qualitative characteristics of optical spectra and how they are linked to the atomic/molecular structure of materials.

Students will:

  • build (and keep!) a pocket spectroscope with surprisingly good performance.
  • explore characteristics of different types of spectra (atomic, molecular and solid state).
  • link the spectra to quantum concepts (energy levels, orbitals).
  • identify different types of light sources through their spectra.
  • observe Fraunhofer absorption lines in the daylight spectrum.
Mode of Delivery Workshop
Target Audience Pre-U  

Please note that this workshop focuses on observation and discovery. Due to time constraints, there will be less emphasis on scientific rigor.
Topics Diffraction. Electromagnetic spectrum & light. Structure of atoms & origin of spectral lines. Spectral analysis. Structure of molecules/solid state matter and resulting spectra. Investigation of common light sources. Absorption and emission spectra. Fraunhofer lines.
Group size 10 minimum, 24 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $30/pax (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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