Wonderful World of Wizard Science

During teacher workdays, the Museum offers exciting and educational one-day camps that are sure to appeal to the scientist in everyone. Last Friday, a group of lucky kids entered Miami Science Museum’s World of Wizards to discover the science behind the magic.

Campers learned how to make eggs shrink, made objects vanish into thin air and even made paper bleed! “We’re doing magic!” said Justin, 5 years old. Then, the lucky campers got to sit in a live science show performed by Robert Dawson called Aha! Science, a show about science that looks like magic.

Science Wizard

Science Wizard

A visit to the Museum’s Wildlife Center, supported by the Batchelor Foundation, included a very close encounter with two giant land tortoises, and then a splash with the stingrays in the new Sea Lab exhibit.

Six-year-old Remy said, “I like that we do fun things. And we get to play!”

World of Wizards campers learned a neat science trick called “Magic Pepper” that families can try together at home:

Magic Pepper

Materials you will need:

  • Bowl or plate
  • Water
  • Black ground pepper
  • Dish soap

 Preparation:

  • Fill the bowl/plate with water (until it’s about ¾ full)
  • Sprinkle black pepper onto the surface of the water in the bowl/plate
  • Place a small amount of dish soap on the tip of your index finger (secretly so that nobody else sees)

 Activity:

  •  Ask participant to put their finger in the bowl and describe what happens (nothing should happen)
  • Now, tell your participant that you are going to make the pepper run away. Say the magic word “Absens!” and place your finger with the soap in the bowl – the pepper should “run away” from your finger!

Explanation:

Water has high surface tension, which is why the pepper sits on top of the water when you sprinkle it into the bowl. High surface tension means that all of the little pieces of water, called water molecules, are holding on and pulling against each other really strongly. This makes the surface of the water strong enough to hold up the pepper.

When you drop the detergent on the surface of the water, the surface tension on that part of the surface of the water is reduced, but not over the entire surface of the water. Some of the water further away from the detergent still has high surface tension meaning the water molecules further away from the detergent are still pulling against each other strongly; this leads to a force that pulls the pepper away from the detergent.

For additional information about MiaSci Camp Programs, please visit http://www.miamisci.org/www/education_camps.php or call Karlisa Callwood at (305) 646-4233.

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One Response to Wonderful World of Wizard Science

  1. Ted says:

    We did the pepper experiment at home and amazed our kids and neighbors.

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