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The Magic of Science

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The acrid smell of smoke sneaked its way across the room. Heads previously bent down whispering to friends looked up one by one as the smoky air started to reach them. We all looked to the front of the class for explanation and saw a silver tube with a flame that we could barely make out on the teacher’s desk. We had been learning about elements that week, and our teacher told us she had found a fun way to show us the amazing ideas shown through science. We didn’t really expect anything big, but since we barely ever used the Bunsen burner in our lab classes, we all stared, hooked. The teacher turned off all the lights and suddenly the flame came to life as we could now see the vivid blue color.


As we watched, fascinated, the teacher took out a pair of metal tongs that she used to pick up a shiny metallic object in a little container. She paused to put on her safety goggles and used that time to explain to us that the piece of metal was magnesium. She told us to be careful not to stare to intensely and too long at the flame because it could damage our eyes. As we watched, glad for an excuse to stop taking notes, she slowly moved the magnesium to the middle of the flame. Suddenly there was a huge burst of pure white light originating from the tiny piece of metal.

Our teacher shielded the light with her hands so it wouldn’t hurt our eyes as much while we all shifted to look over each other’s heads at the little light in the front of the room. She then efficiently put the light out and showed us what was remaining of the magnesium; the previously bendable metallic element had turned into a white powdery substance. I recall thinking how amazing it was that, through science, you could take one thing and turn it into something entirely else as easily as setting it on fire. I also realized all the endless possibilities that science continues to have and how you could study it for your whole life and never learn everything there is to know because of its constant change and advancement, which is the truly amazing part.





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