Friday, March 6, 2015

Magical Linking Chain (the Science of Force)

It doesn't take much persuasion to get kids interested in an after school activity when you preface it by asking, "Wanna learn a magic trick?"

The truth is, this isn't really magic at all. It's science ... but I'll get to that more later.

What You Need
A paper bill
2 thin rubberbands
2 metal paperclips

Put a rubberband around each end of the bill. Now fold the bill in even thirds, making a z-fold but don't crease the folds. One rubberband should be positioned where the bill doubles-back on itself (i.e. the uncreased folds). Now add paperclips (use the photo as a guide for where to position them).

What to Do
Have your child pull each end of the bill apart, as if to flatten it. Then gently remove the rubberbands to see that they have formed a chain with the two paperclips linked between them. 

Nope. The force of pulling the bill and the position of the rubberbands and paper clips causes them to intertwine. Do it slowly and you see it happening!

Like our ball that seemed to defy gravity, this activity also came from Martin Gardner's phenomenal book Smart Science Tricks. It's a gold mine of simple, inexpensive experiments for kids. We've had a blast with it! 


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