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.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

Convective Heating
is a special case of Heating
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