Lasers: The Ultimate STEAM Machine
Getting students excited about Science has proven to be a battle for primary, secondary, and even post-secondary education teachers and administrators. Because of this, STEAM education is rising in popularity; some even say the concept is vital to our future, and the future of our children. But how do we recruit the children of today into the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics?
The complexity of this challenge is immense. It is hard enough to get kids’ attention for even 5 seconds let alone get their attention for enough time to discuss academically complex subjects in the areas of STEAM.
One way to get kids’ attention is to say the word “laser.” Yes, that is right! Just say the word “laser” and you will not only get kids’ attention but keep it. This article series will cover each STEAM subject and relate how the laser cutting and engraving machine can help educators excite students when teaching complex subjects. Naturally, we’re starting with Science.
What science exists in the laser machine?
The laser beam is light physics generated in a controlled tube, a key component of the laser machine. Students can learn the laser beam is generated by exciting a gas (CO2) that is contained in the tube with a power supply. The beam is then bounced back and forth at light speed to concentrate the beam and then allows a portion of the beam to escape the end of the tube.
Another important part of the laser machine is electricity. The power supply can be presented in a learning diagram of how the energy from regional power plants transmits power via power lines to your house with transformers that step down the voltage to 110 volts. The AP Lazer machine converts this energy to a precise amount to excite the laser tube.
What is used to bounce the laser beam from the back of the machine angularly to the front nozzle and down to the work product? Mirrors. This is an interesting discussion of how a simple mirror can reflect a powerful laser beam. (Just like the shield of Captain America!)
Refraction and Light Science
A focusing lens is situated in the nozzle just above the material to focus the intensity of the laser beam to a concentrated point. The lens in a laser cutting machine is a convex mirror. A diagram easily shows how individual light photon beams that are parallel can be concentrated to a point based on the curvature of the lens.
What happens to a piece of wood, glass, plastic, or even granite when a laser beam hits it? Because each material reacts differently to the laser beam, engraving, and cutting different materials is an exciting educational exercise in material science. Why does wood vaporize? That’s a fun question to answer when you are testing with a laser machine!
There are much more advanced subjects that can be discussed in the realm of Science when considering a laser cutting and engraving machine for your classroom. If you are a secondary or post-secondary teacher interested in integrating a laser machine for STEAM education, we’d love to assist in creating a comprehensive science curriculum in partnership with you.
The STEAM initiative is at the heart of AP Lazer’s commitment and involvement in the education industry; we want the children of today to be excited about what the future of tomorrow holds.
Want to get your students excited about Science?
Give us a call at 800-585-8617 or shoot us an email.