By Jennifer Sheffield
Students in Behind the Scenes Movie Science: Harry Potter and Star Wars went home with a variety of treasures from their first day exploring the world of Harry Potter! To begin the journey, students searched the room for magical wands and then customized them with paint. We investigated the potions table and marveled at Newt’s Eyes, Witch’s Brew, Wolfsbane and other mysterious concoctions. One of particular interest was “Dried Snow,” which seemed impossible! The students made predictions about what would happen when we added water to it – the results of which came home as bagged snow.
Next we wondered at the amazing qualities of our rheoscopic fluid potion, which allows the viewer to visualize the dynamic flow of liquid. Your child should have a test-tube containing a sample of the color of their choice. Then we headed to a bowl that looked like it was filled only with water. Each of us was able to retrieve a crystal ball to gaze into to try to see the future. While we may not have seen a clear vision of days ahead, we did see images from around the room that looked upside down due to light refraction. Take-home crystal balls will retain their shape and size if kept hydrated, but will shrink again if they dry out. Not to worry, they can be rehydrated and reused, until they crumble from handling.
Next students were tasked with verifying measurements and carefully mixing solutions to create Dragon’s Blood slime. This is a very interesting and unique slime, as it appears solid green from the outside, but looks red inside when you look through it into the light. It also fluoresces under a black light. The snow, crystal balls and Dragon’s Blood slime are all types of polymers.
Our teaching assistant, Ms. Lillie, had to mix a complex potion to pass her final Potions Exam. The students had to verify that she could do this without using any outside magic. Ms. Lillie succeeded brilliantly by generating an oscillating reaction potion that began colorless and then cycled through gold, peach and slate blue phases over and over again all on its own! She then added another solution and turned the entire solution clear again. Amazing skill!
As students turned in their journals they were rewarded with a big scoop of glowing Troll’s Brains, grisly leftovers of Mrs. Sheffield and Ms. Lillie’s misadventure with an aggressive troll on their way to class this morning.