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Suggestions for use


Bags, feely
  • Make your own
  • Sensory perception
  • Mystery games
Feely bags can also be made from brown paper, wine bags, or old socks.

Balances, spring

0–20 N (Newtons)

  • Scientific suppliers
  • Measurement of force (including weight)
Spring balances can be made from rubber bands and a ruler.
Ball and chain
  • Scientific suppliers
  • Demonstrating expansion of metals by heat



  • Bargain bins
  • Sports shops
  • Supermarkets
  • Budget retail stores
  • Motion
  • Making models (astronomy)
  • Fair tests
  • Forces
  • Friction






9 V

  • Electrical suppliers
  • Supermarkets
  • Budget retail stores
  • Electricity
  • Electronics

Consider purchasing chargeable cells and a charger.

Discharged dry cells are a useful source of zinc metal (casing) and carbon rod (central rod).

Beakers, glass

(various sizes)

Scientific suppliers
  • Necessary if heating with a naked flame

Jam jars often make good substitutes and can be heated in a microwave oven.

Clear film canisters can be used as small beakers.

Glass beakers are easily broken.

Beakers, plastic

(various sizes)

Scientific suppliers
  • Making sense of the material world (chemistry)

Consider plastic tumblers from supermarkets.

Heat only by hot water.

Bicycle pumps
  • Sports shops
  • Budget retail stores
  • Water rockets
     Expansion and
     compression of gases
  • Forces
An inflatable- mattress pump or an electric tyre pump can also be used.

Bimetallic strips (Compound bars)


  • Scientific suppliers
  • The switch inside a pop-up toaster
  • Expansion of metals
Bimetallic strips could be borrowed from a secondary school.


(8 x 30 magnification)

  • Budget retail stores
  • Sports shops
  • Stargazing, especially at the Moon and planets
  • Birdwatching

Binoculars can be hired in some areas. They are better than a telescope.

Do not allow students to use them to look at the sun. (Can damage eyes.)

Bones and skeletons
  • Butchers
  • Museums
  • Farms
  • Looking at adaptive
     features and structures
X-ray negatives can also be used.


(clear, with screw top)

  • Scientific suppliers
  • Pharmaceutical suppliers
  • Storing solutions
  • Observing small animals
Substances must not be stored in beverage bottles.
BSM items  
  • Modelling, grouping, and classifying activities
  • Plastic-goods retailers
  • Supermarkets
  • See "Aquarium" above
  • Field trips
  • Washing-up
Alternatives are two-litre ice cream containers or four-litre margarine pails.

Bulb holders

MES (socket on plastic base)

  • Scientific suppliers
  • Car wreckers
  • Electrical suppliers
  Make sure light bulbs are compatible with the holder.


  • MES 2.5 V
  • MES 3.5 V
  • Electrical suppliers
  • Scientific suppliers
  • Electric circuits

Ensure that the voltage of the bulb(s) is equal to the total voltage of the cells in the circuit.

Consider using
 bi-directional LEDs as an alternative.

Burners, spirit



  • Scientific suppliers
  • Heat source

It is advisable to embed the burner in a container of sand (such as an ice cream container) when in use.

A hot plate, electric frypan, or water bath is usually a safer alternative.