A magic trick is an excellent way to introduce a lesson or to use as a discrepant event for an anticipatory set. It can be used to illustrate a science concept, act as a starting point for a science investigation, or to stimulate creative thinking. Allow students to brainstorm in an attempt to figure out an explanation for the magic trick. Charlie Kline is an accomplished magician and was the magician for Science Explosion. He performed as himself, but also as “Professor Von Science Stuuufff,” as seen below.

Professor Von Science Stuuuff

Charlie in the center, with Alice Cooper on the left.
Charlie as a young man pitching in the Chicago White Sox organization.

Please click on the links below to enjoy some of the magic tricks that were developed and used by Science Explosion.

Magic Trick


This effect uses string to demonstrate how you are “the super-strong teacher of Science” and can keep two students from pulling two separate pieces of string from your closed hand.  In fact, you can demonstrate it holding the two ends of two different pieces of string between your thumb and index finger.

This is a great demonstration that provides a chance for teachers to talk about science and the way that it works. All you need is three coffee cans with tops to keep students from looking inside.

Students are told that you invented a new kind of glue.  It works like regular glue except for the fact that it is totally invisible to the eye”.  Bring out a bottle that is labeled “invisible glue”.  The bottle is completely empty (because the glue is invisible).

A cell membrane is a very special kind of boundary between the inside and outside of a cell.  It is special because it will let some things easily pass through and not other things. So this trick can be based on the fact that some things disappear into a cell through the cell membrane. In this effect the teacher exhibits a crayon or pencil to represent a food molecule.  The teacher also shows a small portable “cell” ( in the form of a button).  The “cell”  is given to a student to hold in their left hand.  The teacher takes the pencil or crayon and thrusts it toward the button.  The pencil disappears into the button.  The “food” has gone into the cell.

Use a balloon to talk about cells and cell membranes. The cell membrane is a semi-permeable membrane. It allows some things to pass through and prevents others from doing so. Pass a needle through a balloon to illustrate this concept.

This is something you can use when you are talking about scientific skills.  Specifically, this deals with the importance of making careful observations.