It’s a kinda magic! 

This week I proved there is no better magic than science. We did three science tricks just for the fun of it – no questions, a few keywords, a couple of predictions and lots of wow’s.

Trick one – The disappearing herb:

What you need:
Bowl (half filled with water)
Pepper/dried mint/mixed herbs
Washing up liquid

To do:
Fill the bowl with water (halfway will do) and sprinkle on top the pepper/dried herbs so that a layer is formed.  That’s it!

Now with a finger, give the surface a tap/poke. Observe. Then place a dot of washing up liquid on your finger and repeat. Watch the magic!

The science bit:
When you add the soap to the water, the surface tension is reduced which allows the water to “spread out”. Whatever is floating is carried with the water whilst it spreads.

Trick two – The spinning can:

What you need:
Fizzy drinks can (empty)
Water

To do:
You need to fill the can with around a third full of water. Fill and try to balance it on a tilt/on its side. It will look like it is about to fall! If it does, adjust the amount of water as necessary. Once it balances on a tilt, gently poke and it should spin. Watch the magic!

 

The science bit: 
It all has to do with the centre of gravity. A tilted object will not fall over as long as the line through its centre of gravity does not fall past the base of the object. When spinning, the point that’s touching the table has an equal amount of twisting it over and pulling it back. It only looks as though it’ll fall as it overhangs more on the one side but that is all due to the weight distribution of the can.

Trick three – The flying teabag (involves fire!):

What you need: 
A piece of foil
A teabag (the ones with a staple and string – but not the ones which are also pressed in the middle).
Lighter/Match

To do:
Make sure your little ones are a safe distance away – they should be able to see it but not too close as there is fire involved. Also, ensure that you do this away from anything flammable.

Remove the staple and string from the teabag and empty out the contents. Open it out into a cylinder shape. Stand it upon the piece of foil – it is important you have a a non flammable base . It is best to set this up on the floor, unless you have high ceilings. With a lighter/match light the top of the teabag to set on fire and sit back and watch. This is definitely a wow magic moment!

 

The science bit: 
Think hot air balloon. The flame is heating the air inside and as it gets warmer, the air expands, becoming less dense and push up through the cylinder to the colder air (which is more dense. This convection current that is created sits inside the cylinder until the teabag burns down enough so that it becomes light enough for the convection current to launch it.

 

Hope you give these a go. Quick, easy and you most probably, if not definitely, have all the resources needed in the kitchen. Your little pip squeaks will be wowed and will ask a lot of questions – much better than the repeated: ‘Why is it bedtime if its still light outside?” Forehead smack.

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