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Super Magic Tube

In this activity, students use geometrical shapes to make a magic tube that can produce ribbons.

It’s not just a saying that it’s all “smoke and mirrors”!

Magicians use a lot of math to make their illusions work. If an illusion isn’t built properly, or if the audience is at an unwanted angle, the “magic” won’t work.

This trick relies on the use of math. See how the combination of two familiar geometrical objects (cylinders and cones) can come together to create something "mathemagical".

Objectives

  • Explain the importance of observation when doing science.

Materials

  • Per Student:
    paper
    scissors
    tape
    ribbon
    felts/stickers for decorating

What To Do

Preparation:
Make and demonstrate this Super Magic Tube before letting your students make it for themselves.

Instructions:

  1. Roll and tape one piece of paper into a cylinder. This is your “magic tube”.
  2. Roll and tape the second piece of paper into a cone that will fit inside of the cylinder, with the open end flush with the end of the cylinder.
  3. Put the cone inside the tube, and tape the open ends together. There is now a hidden compartment in the back of the cylinder.
  4. Tape long pieces of ribbon into the hidden compartment.
  5. Have your audience look through the large side of the cone. It looks like a simple tube!
  6. With a magical (or scientific!) word and a shake, produce ribbon out of the other end!