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This fun and easy experiment is a STEM/STEAM activity.
The Rabbit’s Magician contains themes of science and magic, so here we have a science demonstration that looks like magic!
In the story, flowers remind Ziggy of his beloved magician, The Amazing Albertino, who would make beautiful bouquets magically appear, surprising and delighting the audience.
We are also in for some surprise and delight with this amazing activity. We are going to make flowers bloom right before our eyes – no magic words or wands necessary!
What we need:
Coloured pencils or crayons
A tray or container
Step 1. Print out the free flower templates provided.
Step 2. Colour in the flowers to your preference.
Step 3. Optional: Draw pictures, write messages or add little stickers in the centre of the flowers for extra fun.
Step 4. Carefully cut out the flowers.
Step 5. One at a time, fold each petal in towards the centre of the flower.
Step 6. Pour some water into your tray or container.
Step 7. Gently place your folded flower onto the surface of the water, petals side up. Behold – the petals will unfold as if by magic!
The science behind the magical effect
This scientific phenomenon looks absolutely magical, but we don’t need any magic terminology, like hocus pocus or abracadabra, to make it work. Instead, the effect takes place due to this scientific terminology: Capillary action.
Paper is made of tiny wood fibres, and these fibres have tiny gaps between them, making paper a porous material. When the paper flower is placed on the water, capillary action happens – water is drawn into the paper. As the paper absorbs the water, it swells, and as a result, the creases flatten out and the petals unfold.
Capillary action: When liquid spontaneously flows into a narrow tube or porous material due to the forces of cohesion, adhesion and surface tension. The liquid can travel upwards, defying gravity!
You might like to experiment by testing out different types and thicknesses of paper to see if the flowers open faster or slower.
Article and activity by Shae Millward.
Visit Shae Millward at her website: shaemillward.com
Andy Fackrell can be found at Andy Fackrell.
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