“Harry Potter” Outreach Activities

“Harry Potter x Science” After School Program (Elementary School and Middle School)

Exploring the Science Behind the Harry Potter Book Series

Wit Beyond Measure is Man’s Greatest Treasure

“7 Years of Hogwarts in 7 Weeks”

Picture1

Week 1 / Book 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

 Sorcerer’s Stone – science behind gold and stained glass
 Every Flavor Beans – food science

Activities

 Use of gold and silver nanoparticles to make stained glass
 Identify different flavors in Every Flavor Beans (or Jelly Belly)

Week 2 / Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
 Tom Riddle’s Diary – science behind invisible inks
 Basilisk – Titanoboa, snakes, fossils, paleontology

Activities

 Use of different invisible inks (e.g., blue-to-clear thymolphthalein ink, glow-in-the-dark ink, grape juice concentrate, lemon juice, water as ink – water calligraphy etc.)
 Fluorescent minerals

Week 3 / Book 3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
 Hippogriff – real hybrid animals, chimeras
 Genetics – DNA structures and functions

Activities

 Build a paper DNA model
 Make gene keychains

Week 4 / Book 4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
 Goblet of fire – science behind fireworks, glow sticks, LEDs, lasers, plasma ball
 Solar energy – solar cells, photosynthesis

Activities

 Make a glow stick or ChemLight using various fluorescence dyes
 Creating a laser show with prisms and mirrors

Week 5 / Book 5: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix
 Invisibility cloak – optical effects, refractive index, invisible objects
 Quidditch – science of flight

Activities

 Optical illusion experiment (invisible glass objects in baby oil and syrup)
 Make a realistic (and functional) paper plane

Week 6 / Book 6: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
 Blood – science behind blood typing
 Genetics – dominant and recessive genes

Activities

 Use a blood typing kit (with synthetic blood only)
 Determine whether one is a supertaster

Week 7 / Book 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
 Water-repelling materials – science behind self-cleaning materials
 Herbology – plant science

Activities

 Demonstrate the lotus effect using a nanotextured shirt and water-repelling paint (Lotusan)
 Understand the difference between hydrophobic and hydrophilic thiol-gold self-assembled monolayers

Please contact Dr. Lai if you are interested in the Powerpoint lectures and hands on activities used in this After School Program.