Physics and Astronomy

Needling Fruit
Objective To identify the internal structure and identity of various fruits.
Purpose This interesting metaphor demonstrates how scientific research is done in some cases. Students should investigate how Ernest Rutherford deduced the structure of the atom in the period around 1911
Participants Teams of up to four.
Materials Fruits, knitting needles (pre-determined numbers)
  1. Information about the fruit can only be obtained by inserting knitting needles. Contestants must be blind folded when inserting knitting needles.
  2. The fruit must be firmly held, laid on its side in a box.
  3. All insertions must be parallel.
  4. Students may not touch the fruit in any way except with the knitting needles.
  5. Students must draw a diagram of the fruit showing the needle insertions and draw a conclusion about the internal structure.
  6. The winners will be those who correctly identify the internal structure of their assigned fruits with the fewest knitting needles.
  1. 5 points will be awarded for each fruit correctly identified, plus one extra point will be added to the score for every needle that was not used in the identification.
  2. The team with the most points will win.
Source Youth Science Foundation Science Olympics Manual.

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