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Affordable Rotating Fluid Demonstrations for Geoscience Education: The DIYnamics Project

Hill, Spencer A. and Lora, Juan M. and Khoo, Norris and Faulk, Sean P. and Aurnou, Jonathan M. (2018) Affordable Rotating Fluid Demonstrations for Geoscience Education: The DIYnamics Project. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 99 (12). pp. 2529-2538. ISSN 0003-0007. doi:10.1175/bams-d-17-0215.1.

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Demonstrations using rotating tanks of fluid can help demystify otherwise counterintuitive behaviors of atmospheric, oceanic, and planetary interior fluid motions. But the expense and complicated assembly of existing rotating table platforms limit their appeal for many schools, especially those below the university level. Here, we introduce Do-It-Yourself Dynamics (DIYnamics), a project developing extremely low-cost rotating tank platforms and accompanying teaching materials. The devices can be assembled in a few minutes from household items, all available for purchase online. Ordering, assembly, and operation instructions are available on the DIYnamics website. Videos using these and other rotating tables to teach specific concepts such as baroclinic instability are available on the DIYnamics YouTube channel—including some in Spanish. The devices, lesson plans, and demonstrations have been successfully piloted at multiple middle schools, in a university course, and at public science outreach events. These uses to date convince us of the DIYnamics materials’ pedagogical value for instructors from well-versed university professors to K–12 science teachers with little background in fluid dynamics.

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Hill, Spencer A.0000-0001-8672-0671
Additional Information:© 2018 American Meteorological Society. In final form 29 May 2018; Published online 7 January 2019. We thank Dr. Maurice Stephenson of La Tijera K–8 Charter School in Inglewood, California, for guidance in designing presentations for middle school audiences; Dr. Stephenson and Kenneth Howard of La Tijera and Jamie Ballard and Evelyn Chao of Ralph J. Bunche Middle School in Compton, California, for working with us to stage events at their schools; Jonathan Mitchell for allowing us to incorporate the DIYnamics demonstrations into his class at UCLA; Henry Gonzalez of UCLA for fabricating components for table prototypes; Raul Reyes for work on the baroclinic instability videos; event volunteers Chloe Whicker, Alex Arnold, Helen Parish, Ashley Shoenfeld, Katie Tuite, Ellen Hoppe, and Ashna Aggarwal; and Dr. Paul Williams and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by NSF Atmospheric and Geospace Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowships 1624740 (S.A.H.) and 1524866 (J.M.L.), NSF Geophysics Program Award 1547269 (J.M.A.), and the Straus Family Fund for Undergraduate Opportunity (N.K).
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Straus Family FundUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190124-071030680
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Official Citation:Hill, S.A., J.M. Lora, N. Khoo, S.P. Faulk, and J.M. Aurnou, 2018: Affordable Rotating Fluid Demonstrations for Geoscience Education: The DIYnamics Project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 99, 2529–2538,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:92439
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Jan 2019 15:46
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 03:50

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