Science Outreach Catalyst Kits (SOCKs)

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Science Outreach Catalyst Kits, or SOCKs, are free to SPS chapters (while supplies last) and contain an exploratory physics and science activity that is specifically designed for SPS chapters to use in outreach presentations to elementary, middle and high school students. Each SOCK comes with the essential materials to conduct a set of demonstrations, a comprehensive manual, and instructions on how to expand the demonstration to become a tried-and-true outreach activity. It's designed for chapters just starting out or those who are demo pros. SOCKs are designed and implemented annually by the SPS National interns and SPS National office staff.

 Craters in Cake (Cakeraters)Jello Ligo Conrad

The 2019-20 SOCK explores the physics of... awesome things we can learn from space! The demos focus on celestial collisions that result in craters and how to explain LIGO to a broad audience. SOCK users will be able to work with students from elementary school age (5-10) up through high school. In this two part sock:

Craters in Cake (Cakeraters): Falling space rocks collide with the surface of planets and moons to create impact craters which can be found all over our solar system:

Jello Ligo: Movement of massive objects in space create gravitational waves that travel outward in spacetime and bend light along the way. We detect these waves by using lasers and watching changes in how light moves through space. This demo uses clear jello and a laser to show how collisions create ripples that radiate outward from the source, which are able to bend light.

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Explore other inexpensive outreach demonstrations. 

Explore previous SOCKs here

Request an SPS SOCK for Your Chapter

SPS SOCK requests are accepted through an online application form. Please note that you will need to provide:

  • Contact information and the SPS membership number for the student project leader.
  • Your school and SPS chapter information.
  • Responses to the following three prompts:
  1. Please describe why your group is interested in using the SPS SOCK for outreach.
  2. Please describe the experience your SPS chapter has with outreach activities.
  3. Approximately how many national SPS members will be involved in the SOCK outreach event?
  • The intended audience, type of event, and anticipated date for which you are considering using the SPS SOCK (if there is more than one, just choose one).
  • Your SPS advisor’s name and email address. Your advisor will be asked to confirm his/her support of your proposed SOCK activity.

SPS SOCKs are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis among the eligible requests. Approximately 100 are available each year.

Explore SOCK kits from previous years here.