STEM@Home: Potter-ology

Week 4: We Are Teachers – Harry Potter Science

Calling all Potterheads! Taking a break from syllabi and curricula doesn’t mean no more mischief to manage. Nurture your wizard-in-training with this great roundup of real-life science activities at We Are Teachers inspired by the magical world of Harry Potter.

Hagrid’s pounding down the door and your acceptance letter awaits! Swoosh your wand and try your hand at Hogwarts subjects like Potions, Charms and Astronomy. Wands at the ready!

Potions – Disappearing Ink

Make your own Marauder’s Map – or any other sneakily secret message your heart desires – with this demo from Teach Beside Me (part of the We Are Teachers link roundup). All you need is laundry detergent, paper, and a black or UV light.

Phosphorescence is the secret to this magical mayhem! Chemicals called “optical brighteners” in the laundry detergent absorb low-energy yellow light and emit it as higher-energy blue light. With ordinary use, clothes seem whiter – but under a black light, the detergent burns with an unearthly fire! Become a Potions master today!

  • Acceptable: Send a secret message to a family member.
  • Exceeds Expectations: Combine regular and invisible ink for a sneakily misleading note.
  • Outstanding: Map out the best Easter Egg hiding locations in your yard.

NOW YOU SEE ME…: Click here for info, tips, and more!

Charms – Levitation

Wield awesome cosmic power and control the movement of objects from a distance using only the power of…. static electricity! Ever feel a spark when you touch a door handle, or watch a toddler’s hair stand on end after coming down a slide?

Static electricity is what we call the buildup of negatively charged, subatomic particles called electrons on the surface of objects. All objects have a modest positive or negative electric charge on their surface – and when there’s a big difference between two objects, watch out! ZAP!

Of course, as a wizard-in-training, you can use this knowledge for more than avoiding a really bad hair day. Move sticks, levitate plates, control bubbles and more!

  • W.O.M.B.A.T.: Rub a balloon on your head and giggle as it sticks to you.
  • O.W.L.: Make a pop can roll around at your command.
  • N.E.W.T.: Levitate that plate!

WINGARDIUM LEVIO-SAHHHH, RON: Click here for info, tips, and more!

Astronomy – Constellations

Did you know that Astronomy is a Muggle subject, too? You can totally get a head start on your Hogwarts courses by learning about star constellations now!

Ancient people were just like you – they wanted to understand the world they lived in. They studied the night sky and noticed that many of the bright lights moved in predictable patterns, while others seemed to stay put. We now know that the “moving lights” are actually planets, and tracking them helped to develop the first calendars. “Behind” the planets is the infinite universe, filled with far-off stars and galaxies. The unchanging position of these stars led storytellers to develop myths and names for certain groups of stars – including some groups very important to Harry Potter fans!

Best suited for younger Potterphiles, Royal Baloo gives a simple introduction to some of the constellations pertinent to the Harry Potter storylines.

  • First Year: Look for Polaris, the North Star, in the night sky.
  • Second Year: Try to find Sirius, Draco, and Lupus – the constellations, not the characters!
  • Third Year: Read up on other constellations visible from Holland in the spring – then go outside and try to find them!

THE STARS MY DESTINATION: Click here for info, tips, and more!

Know a Wizard-in-Training entering grades 3, 4, or 5 next year? Be sure to enroll them in Hope Summer Science Camps! “The Science of Harry Potter” is offered twice, in June 15-19 and July 20-24. Come check it out!

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