Over the past few weeks we have done quite a few Halloween crafts and games, therefore it is high time for a science based activity. I can assure you there is no quicker way to get EC involved in an activity than saying “hey, do you want to come and light some stuff on fire?” These flying tea bag ghosts are pretty awesome, but it does involve using matches so adult supervision is a must.
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You will need:
- Tea bags
- Jug of water
- Baking tray
We started this experiment outside, but the breeze was just too much of a problem so we did it inside. If you choose to do this inside please make sure that you do it away from anything flammable and have a jug of water at the ready.
Cut the top off the tea bag and dump out the tealeaves so that you are left with a cylindrical bag.
Draw a face on the bottom half of your tea bag and stand it up on your baking tray.
When you are ready, light the top of the tea bag with your match.
The tea bag will start to burn down quickly, and then hopefully will start to float away! When we tried it outside the tea bags simple fell over, and quickly burnt to ash. It might take you a few goes to find the perfect type of tea bag. You need one that is made of slightly thicker material. We found that the Pukka tea bags worked a treat. Once we bought the experiment inside (we did it in the fire place) our bags floated away beautifully.
EC was ecstatic when we finally got it to work. He is a pretty sensible kid who has been taught how to safely use matches so I was very happy to let him try lightening them. A couple of times he accidently knocked the tea bags over once he had lit them, but they burn out quickly and stayed on the tray. He would have done this until we had run out of tea bags if I had let him.
The Science Behind the Flying Tea Bag Ghosts
It basically comes down to the notion that hot air rises.
As the tea bag burns down the air inside the cylinder heats up and becomes less dense. This air is now less dense the air surrounding it and begins to rise.
If you like these flying tea bag ghosts then be sure to check out my firework film canister experiment.
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