BrainStorms: Science with Scottlin – Science or Magic?

Science With Scottlin

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Here’s a super cool and easy experiment that may have you question if this science or magic. 

GRAB YOUR INGREDIENTS: a clear glass/cup of water, copy paper, scissors, a pencil, and some markers 

STEP 1: Cut the copy paper into squares.

STEP 2: Draw arrows pointing the same direction on one square, arrows pointing in opposite directions on another square, and 2 straight lines that are different colors on a third square  

STEP 3: Choose one square and pay attention to which one you choose 

STEP 4: Watch closely as you lower the paper behind the glass/cup and what do you see?

Rebecca chose a square with two arrows pointing towards me, but looking through the cup, the arrows are pointing the opposite way. I chose a square with a pink line on the right and a yellow line on the left, but looking through the cup, the lines are opposite. 

Science behind this experiment: This is all due to refraction. Light traveled from the air through the cup, through the water, through the back of the cup, and then back through the air before hitting the arrow. 

Anytime light passes from one material into another, it bends or refracts. 

Remember, anytime you look at something, you’re not actually seeing that thing. You’re seeing light reflected off that thing that travels to your eyes and on the way there, refraction can change what that looks like and it has to do with density. 

Light travels slower when it travels through something more dense. Water it more dense than air so light goes slower. 

This even works with a pencil. Just looking at it through air it looks like a normal, straight pencil. Looking at the pencil through water, makes it look broken. Which confirms anytime light passes from one material into another, it bends or refracts.

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