21st Century Education

Simple Science Experiment for Kids to Do at Home

Jan 26,2023

This easy DIY project will turn your child into a real-life magician

If your kids like Harry Potter, then they are going to love this simple experiment. It’s called the “glass disappearing trick.” As the name suggests, your kids will learn to make a glass bottle or tube vanish in plain sight. No wands or wizardry required.

Ingredients:

1 large beaker or transparent drinking glass

1 small glass tube or bottle

1 pencil

Water

Glycerin

Stage 1

The first part of the experiment is simple observation. Fill about 1/3rd of the larger glass with water and place the tube inside. As you’d expect, the smaller tube is clearly visible inside the water.

Stage 2

Now remove the tube and pour the glycerin into the larger glass. When you place the tube back into the water, you’ll notice something magical – the tube is gone!

The Science Behind the Experiment

So why does the tube disappear when we add the glycerin? It’s based on the properties of light, specifically refraction and reflection. Light typically bends when it transfers through one substance and into another. For example, if you put a pencil into a glass of water, it will appear to veer off at a crooked angle. This effect, known as refraction, happens because light moves slower through water than it does through air.

When we place the glass tube into the water without glycerin, we can see the tube because the light slows down when it enters the water and then slows even more in the tube. However, when we add glycerin, the light travels at essentially the same speed through the water and tube, and, thus, the tube “disappears.”

Refraction is the phenomenon behind natural occurrences like rainbows as well as used in everyday objects such as microscopes, cameras, and eyeglasses.

By understanding the power of refraction, your child can become a real-life wizard!

Ready for another fun science activity to do at home with your kids? Check out the homemade lava lamp experiment www.kenan-asia.org/one-awesome-science-experiment-you-can-do-at-home/

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