Boo! Do ghosts rise by magic or science?

The latest science hack with Samantha Jacques explores the concept of density.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — This STEM activity will have everyone ready for Halloween. Why does the tea bag ghost fly when lit on fire?

  1. Tea Bags
  2. Scissors
  3. Glass plate
  4. Marker
  5. BBQ Starter or Matches
  1. Use scissors to cut off the top of the teabag. This will allow you to remove the string, staple, and tea contents from the bag.
  2. Unfold the bag so that it is a cylinder. You can trim off one end to make the teabag stand flat. You can also round out the other end to make it look like a ghost. 
  3. Use a marker to give your ghost a face. 
  4. Place your tea bag cylinder onto the glass plate.
  5. Have an adult light the top of the teabag.
  6. Watch the ghost fly.

 As the teabag burns it creates heat  The heated air will rise above the cooler dense air above it. The density of the teabag is less than that of the cool air, allowing the heated bag to rise — or, as a ghost might do, fly!

STEM is for everyone. For more fun and educational experiments, check out the following links:

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Last week’s hack with Samantha Jacques:

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