Convective Heating
Energy and Thermal Physics

Psychic Paper

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • A small, rectangular piece of thin paper
  • A sharp pencil


  1. Fold the paper in half along the long side and then fold it in half along the short side so that you can find the middle
  2. Carefully balance the paper on the point of the pencil
  3. Bring one hand close to the paper and command the paper to move!

Results and Explanation

The paper starts to spin because the heat of your hand heats up the air. This sets up a convection current in the air which moves the paper.

Convective Heating
is a special case of Heating

Have a Physics Teaching Question?

Want to ask it in a safe, friendly, knowledgeable environment? TalkPhysics is an online community for anyone involved in the teaching of pre-19 physics.

Visit TalkPhysics