Science Theatre

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science

When phenomena are not understood, they often seem like magic. However, once the underlying concept is explained, students realize that it isn’t magic after all. It’s science! In this presentation, children will look at simple tricks and figure out how these illusions use science to trick the audience. The show begins with disappearing water and paper tricks, sleight of hand and optical illusions, and moves into science experiments using real laboratory equipment. Throughout this highly interactive 45 minute program, students will use all five senses as a part of the following curriculum alignments:

  • participate in and observe laboratory experiments develop
  • hypotheses to predict the outcome of experiments
  • suggest ways to test ideas
  • learn about safe handling of very hot, very cold and dangerous materials
  • understand the expansion and contraction of materials when heated or cooled
  • explore principles of the forces of motion and gravity
  • observe changes in states of matter and chemical changes
  • discuss jobs using science
  • discover that everyone can be a scientist

Note: Curriculum alignments based on requirements for Hamilton County, Tennessee and include K.2.2, K.11.1, K.12.1, 1.2.2, 1.11.2

Pre Visit Activity - Understand Optical Illusions and Eyesight

An ink pen with a cap

What to do:
1. Close one eye. Hold an ink pen in one hand and the pen’s cap in the other hand. With your arms slightly bent try to put the cap on the pen. Can you tell if the cap is in front of or behind the pen?
2. Now try using both eyes.
What is the difference? Why is there a difference?

The Outcome: The brain needs the view from both eyes to judge the distance from one object to another.

Post Visit Activity - Explore Forces

A small bucket with a handle

What to do
1. Take the bucket outside and fill it half full of water.
2. Hold the bucket handle in one hand with your arm extended at your side. Continue to hold the bucket handle while rotating your arm in a large circle at your side going as quickly as possible.
3. Gradually slow down the rotation until the water spills out. How much slower was the rotation when the water spilled?
4. For variation, hold the bucket handle in your hand with your arm extended at a 90 degree angle to your body and spin the entire body round and round in a circle. Is there any difference?

The Outcome: The water stays in the bucket because there are centripetal forces created by the movement that are greater than the gravitational force pulling the water down.