The magic star experiment, what is this?! Well you are about to find out why this simple science experiment appears so magical.
Not only do children experience the magic and excitement of science with this experiment , children are able to learn about scientific elements. Hopefully, alongside the desire to explore more.
What you need?
- Wooden toothpicks
- A plate
How to make the magic happen!
This experiment is really so simple, which is what makes it so magical. But the shock factor can only happen after doing the first and most important stage!
First stage: Snapping each toothpick in half, so it bends, instead of completely breaking in half. This can be more difficult than it sounds, as it needs to be snapped almost exactly in the middle. This might take a few tries, but it is completely worth it.
Second stage: What better way to teach determination and patience! After all that snapping, it is time to pour just enough water into the centre of the wood! It only needs to touch the snapped parts of the wood.
Third stage: Watch the star magically appear!
At this stage you may be mind blown into how this was possible, never mind how excited your child will feel.
Well this is the science behind it. Whether you realised it or not, this is an experiment that explores the properties of different materials.
Wood absorbs water, as opposed to other materials that may resist water (such as the plate).
It also explores the strength of water. Water, once absorbed into the wood, could move the wood! What else can water move?
Materials that resist and absorb water: You could test different materials and see which materials absorb water and which materials resist water. Some materials you could try could be fabric, plastic or metal. You could create a mini toy car wash and watch how the sponge absorbs the soapy water. Why is this beneficial for cleaning?
The strength of water: water made these toothpicks move, does that make water strong? You could explore moving light toys with a shower or with a bucket of water outside. You could also look at waves and how they can move people or boats.
Geometry: It takes clever mathematical thinking and problem solving skills, to work out how to place these toothpicks to make different shapes. Why not experiment and see if you can make other shapes?
Placement and distance between each toothpick: For this experiment the toothpicks have to be as evenly places as possible. You could explore how the final result would change if the toothpicks were places closer together, further away or with different gaps in between them.
Alongside scientific thinking, comes scientific language. Speech and language development is something always worth considering when doing any activity. The key words to practice and learn with this experiment are absorb, resist, materials and movement.