ESF Science | 3 October | Renaissance College Hong Kong

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Dear #ESFICE teachers,

Happy World Teachers Day from ‘down under’ and thank you again for the invitation to share ideas with you in sunny Hong Kong!

Below are all the links I promised during my keynote and the workshops. Please let me know if I have missed anything or if you would like more information. Have a terrific term in the classroom and I would to hear about you and your pupils’ science stories.

Warm regards,


Keynote Links

Michael Faraday’s Christmas Lectures for Children you can watch them here

Tattoos and laser removal Catalyst | ABC TV

Retinal Injuries from a Handheld Laser Pointer New England Journal of Medicine

Optimism #1 – Teaching: the most influential profession

World Teachers’ Day (UNESCO)

UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966)

Brooke Topelberg – 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt donates prize money to Primary Connections

Optimism #1.1 – Children: passionate optimistic conservationists

Plastic bag + Water + Pencil demo Turtle eating jellyfish video (

Turtle eating plastic video (

Dead seabirds full of plastic – by photographer Chris Jordan

ABC TV Catalyst story about marine plastic pollution

Optimism #2 – More peaceful

The Better Angels of Our Nature  the book by Professor Steven Pinker (2011)

The surprising decline in violence Steven Pinker’s 20min TED Talk

Steven Pinker: A History of Violence 37min talk at the Singularity Summit

Violence Vanquished essay featuring the two graphs in my slides

Optimism #3 – The Flynn Effect

The Mean IQ of Americans: Massive Gains 1932 to 1978 James Flynn (1984) Psychological Bulletin Vol. 95 No. 1

The Flynn Effect  summary of the hypotheses by Indiana University’s Dr Jonathan Plucker

Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’ Prof James Flynn’s TED Talk

Optimism #4 – The Bystander Effect

“The bystander-effect: A meta-analytic review on bystander intervention in dangerous and non-dangerous emergencies.” Fischer, P. et al. (2011) Psychological bulletin Vol. 137 No.4 *subscription required

Bystander Effect YouTube video (3min 35sec)

The Murder of Kitty Genovese Wikipedia page with good citations to further reading

Optimism #5 – Unsolved Mysteries

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

A brief history of the universe from Dr Karl’s Great Moments in Science

How do we know the universe is expanding also by Dr Karl

Search “Mysteries in Science” and you will find dozens of lists like these:

Seven things that don’t makes sense about gravity New Scientist

Top 8 Science Mysteries Popular Mechanics

Workshop Notes

Magic Flowers & Toothpick Stars

Magic Flowers instructions

Magic Flowers – 6 COLOURED FLOWERS


Magic Flowers – 6 BLANK FLOWERS

Magic Flower video (Surfing Scientist – 40 DIY Science Gizmos book promo)

Toothpick Star Cotton balls in hot & cold water

An amazing simple ice demonstration we don’t fully understand

Watch water and olive oil freezing

Science Puzzles / Riddles / Conundrums

Rock in a Boat in a Pool

Will it float? So simple! Kids love predicting whether various household objects will sink or float

Lots more conundrums / puzzles / riddles here… 

M&Ms in Water

M&Ms in Water (Play School version)

M&Ms in Water – Lesson Plan format

Ice cube in salty water demonstration – another way of demonstrating the thermohaline circulation

Squishy Circuits

Squishy Circuits Website includes a link to AnneMarie Thomas’s TED Talk

Play Dough Circuits #1 – Intro to Play Dough Circuits (ABC TV Play School)

Play Dough Circuits #2 – Series and Parallel Circuits

Play Dough Circuits #3 – Sculptures

Sugar in soft drinks / Energy in Food

Floating / Sinking Soft drink cans demo

Food Exercise & Energy Lesson Plan

A soft drink can conundrum

When you lose weight, where does it go?  (Catalyst – ABC TV)

Mentos & Diet Coke
“Diet Coke and Mentos: What is really behind this physical reaction?” Tonya S Coffey (2008)  American Journal of Physics Vol. 76 No. 6 *subscription required

Diet Coke and Mentos on David Letterman’s Late Show (1999) This is apparently the first time the demonstration appeared on television these blokes gave up their day jobs and now make their living with the Diet Coke + Mentos demo


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