- Gloria Hoffner
Making Paper Dolls Dance
Lots of people love magic and are charmed by the mystery of, “How did she do that?” Here are some fun ways to use science to create a magical experience!
1) Paper doll dance. Many residents may remember playing with paper dolls punched out of books complete with punch out clothing while others may have made their own paper dolls. Here is a fun experiment to do while reminiscing about childhood toys.
Materials: Scrapbook paper, poster cardboard, scissors, tape, two metal paper clips, a magnet, a table and a pencil.
Process: Fold the scrapbook paper from top to bottom two times. Draw the right half of a doll on the exposed top fold and draw the doll’s arm and leg to the bottom of the exposed fold. Cut out the doll without opening the paper. Repeat and have two sections of two dolls each. Attach these two sections with tape into a circle of four paper dolls. Use the paper clips, one on either side of the circle, to form a stand for the circle of paper dolls.
Place the poster board on a table with a few inches hanging over the side of the table. Place the doll circle on top of the cardboard with one paper clip over the overhanging section of the cardboard.
Place the magnet under the overhanging cardboard and move the magnet from left to right.
Result: The paper dolls will dance. The magnet is attracted to the metal paper clips and when you move the magnet you thus move the attached paper dolls.
2) Become a snake charmer (using a paper non-living snake).
Materials: Scrapbook weight paper, pencil, scissors, string and a lamp.
Process: Draw a curled snake on the paper about one inch wide. Cut out the snake so it is curled and tie a 10-inch string to the end of the snake further from the start of the curl. Suspend the paper snake over an exposed 100 watt light bulb.
Result: The heat emanating from the light bulb creates warm air less dense than the remaining surrounding cooler air. The rising warm air makes the snake appear to dance.
3) Re-create a paper mystery unsolved since the 19th century.
Materials: A sheet of computer paper, pencil, tape and scissors.
Process: Cut a strip of paper one inch by ten inches. Do a half twist at one end of the strip. Tape the strip ends together to form a paper circle. Draw a line down the center of the paper circle. Now cut a new paper circle along the line.
Result: You have a loop twice as long as your original circle. No one has been able to explain how this happen, and yet it is used every day in fan and conveyor belts. A fan and conveyor belt with a single straight loop will wear out faster than the belt with a half twist loop. Perhaps you will solve the mystery of why this happens!
4) A Stretchy Solution
Materials: Sheet of computer paper and scissors.
Process: Fold the paper in half down the middle from top to bottom. Cut out a four by two-inch shape from the fold. Next, make seven cuts, three from the fold and four from the open end all one inch from the sides of the paper. Put you hand through the open box cut in the paper.
Result: You can easily place your hand through the paper without tearing the paper. This happens because the cuts in the paper allow it to stretch from one side while the other side of the paper stays firm.
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