If you’ve ever enjoyed wearing a bottle of Diet Coke after dropping in a roll of Mentos, you know that the reaction is immediate. I’ve always thought that it would be cool if you could slow everything down and really look at the reaction. I shared the idea with our friends at Mentos and they shot this slow motion video. There are a few frames where you can see the carbon dioxide gas coming out of solution being attracted to the tiny pits (nucleation sites) on the surface of the mint. For the tech-nerds in the audience, a Phantom 9.0 high-speed digital camera from Vision Research (2,000 frames per second) captured the slow-motion footage.
Thousands of science teachers found their way to St. Louis for the 2007 National Science Teachers Association convention, and we wanted to make sure they had something to take back to their students. So, we loaded our trucks with experiments and products from the website along with 5,000 rolls of MENTOS stuffed into plastic test tubes and headed for the Gateway City. We were fortunate to have 14 teacher ambassadors from the Hands-on Science Institute join us in the booth to each share their favorite science activities. Aside from 500 bottles of Diet Coke and a mountain of MENTOS, all eyes were on the 18 foot tall soda eruption chamber. We were demonstrating the new Geyser Tube by triggering a MENTOS geyser as fast as we could set-up a launch (about every 2-3 minutes for 3 full days). At the end of the convention, the soda was gone, the rolls of MENTOS were in the hands of 5,000 teachers, the truck was cleaned out… and we all had a blast. It’s back to the classroom for the 14 ambassadors to start working on cool stuff for next year’s NSTA in Boston.
We’re excited about the official launch of our new Spangler Geyser Tube. Think of it as the perfect Mentos loading device to trigger a 30 foot geyser of soda. Just load the Mentos candies into the tube, lock the nozzle in place and pull the pin. Okay, it’s bes
t to pull the pin and then run away. The Mentos drop into the bottle triggering the reaction and the powerful soda geyser comes shooting out the top with enough pressure to reach an incredible height of 30 feet. Onlookers scream, “Do it again!”… and you do.
The Geyser Tube retails for $4.95 and is currently only available at www.SteveSpanglerScience.com However, as a result of our licensing agreement with the maker of Mentos (Perfetti Van Melle), the Spangler Geyser Tube will be released into mass market distribution (all of the major toy stores, print catalogs and online stores) in June 2007.
I’ve always been a fan of Apple Computers (now Apple Inc.). From my very first Apple IIe to my current MacBook Pro (and about a dozen in between), these computers and products have helped me and our employees to do some very amazing things over the years. That’s why it was an honor to be invited to visit Apple last week and speak with a group of their employees about my experiences running our business on a Mac platform. During my visit, we also taped some online seminars that will be posted on apple.com/business in the near future.
Okay, the secret is out… we’ve been in business for 16 years and never had a PC in the office. So, I know your next question… “Did you shoot off a few Mentos Geysers during your visit to the Mothership?” While the thought crossed my mind, there were just too many unknowns to haul in a bunch of Diet Coke and Mentos. However, I did give everyone a Mentos Test Tube Geyser to take home. One of the employees shared his “accidental” discovery on his personal blog.Pretty funny stuff.
Aside from doing a few experiments and sharing some of the history behind the Mentos Geyser phenomenon (and the role iMovie played in creating some of our first videos), I shared some of my experiences as a teacher and business owner. At the heart of Steve Spangler Science is a desire to help make good teachers great. Here’s the difference… Good teachers teach us how to do something, but great teachers teach us why. Good teachers share the facts while great teachers weave facts into real-world applications. Good teachers may do “activities”, but great teachers create unforgettable learning experiences.
We’ve all had lots of teachers come and go in our lives, but there will always be a few who stand out in our minds forever. Some teachers are memorable because of their unique teaching style or a funny mannerism or even their choice of clothing. As you filter through the flood of memories, you might just land on one teacher who stands out from all of the rest – a truly great teacher. Then you start to wonder why that teacher is so memorable after all of these years. For many of us, it was that teacher who opened our minds to a new idea, who challenged us to thinking differently, who embraced our ideas and helped us find value in both our successes and failures. That teacher may be directly responsible for what you’re doing today.
When I think back on my list of great teachers, I don’t remember anymore much of what they taught me, but I sure remember being excited about learning it. These teachers shared more than content… they shared an excitement for teaching, a willingness to be creative and a passion for learning that ultimately turned into a contagious experience. It really didn’t matter what they were trying to teach. I was infected by their love of learning.
The unfortunate truth is that some people have gone through school and never really had a great teacher. Don’t get me wrong… good is not bad… it’s just notgreat. Let’s face it, if you’ve never had a great teacher, good is the only thing you know.
When I think about how we use personal computers in our business, I can’t help but think of the difference between good and great. It’s senseless to get into a debate over using a Mac vs. a PC because it’s like comparing apples and oranges (okay, pun intended). If you’ve never experienced great, you’re content to settle with good. Ask any Apple user about their computer and the word “experience” will undoubtedly find it’s way into the conversation. Whether we’re using iChat to do one of a dozen things (managing employees in satellite offices, video conferencing with our factory in China, or just helping a co-worker with a customer service call) or iMove to create a new product demo or GarageBand for our podcasting, our Macs are just an extension of the way we think and work… and play.
I recently received an email from Mimi Sylvia and her grandson Scott. Mimi (she has been called that since her oldest granddaughter tried to say “grandma” and it came out “mimi”) loves to teach science to her 10 grandkids and says she doesn’t plan on growing up herself anytime soon.
Every summer, Mimi Sylvia and her husband travel to Montana to visit their daughter and her family. Mimi Sylvia says they pack their car full of experiments and crafts. She loves to show the kids that science is fun.
Mimi and Scotty tried the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment and WOW did they make a splash. Scotty outdid his two older sisters and brother.
We were so impressed with the photo she sent, that we had to share! Keep aiming high, big guy!