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|Here is a list of wizarding activities you may not find elsewhere. Use them as part of a classroom novel study, a wizard themed party, or just for fun. Kids--remember to check with the adult in charge before starting any new activity. Some of these activities require the use of potentially dangerous chemicals or tools. Direct adult supervision is recommended.
Hogwarts Classes for Muggles and Other Wizarding Wannabees
The study of potions is perhaps one of the more intriguing of wizarding endeavours. Indeed, alchemy, chemistry, medicine and even the soup you ate for lunch are all based on potions of one kind or another.
The study of herbology dates from the time that people learned what was good to eat, and not so good to eat. Wise people also took note of the various effects different plants had on them, and from this, the study of herbal medicine began.
Here are some links to some interesting plants:
Transfiguration is the art of changing one thing into another. When you boil an egg, you will find the inside is quite different than the inside of an uncooked egg. But can you uncook it?
The transfigurations here can be divided into
Perhaps the best charm magic around begins with the simple use of the magic words "please" and "thank you", and moves on to the use of other kind words and incantations. Words of encouragement and kindness have power beyond measurement. Try telling a few of the people you see every day something you like about them, something you might not normally tell them and watch their reactions. Take this a step further by doing random acts of kindness or pay it forward (see the movie of that name that is based on a true story). Or try the following activity.
Another place a discussion of charms can lead is into "lucky charms" and superstitions. Do you have a lucky piece of clothing or jewelry you wear, a routine you follow, or anything else you feel gives you luck? In The Half-Blood Prince, Ron plays an outstanding game of quidditch because he believes he's consumed a potion called "felix felicis" aka liquid luck. As it turns out, he did not actually drink it, but Harry made him think he had. So why do you think he was so successful?
Did you know that dragons really do exist? Komodo dragons may not fly like many mythical dragons, but they are fierce nonetheless.
Many animals have some fascinating characteristics which might help explain the origin of mythical creatures.
Try finding out more about some truly amazing creatures such as:
At the Arkive blog, you can read about the ways various creatures use natural "magic" in unusual ways in order to survive.Many creatures are disappearing due to natural and, more often, people-caused changes to the environment. Each day more species are lost. Find out what you can do in your area to help the local wildlife. You might be amazed at how much you can help! Learn more about life on our planet by visiting the Encyclopedia of Life in which scientists from around the world are cataloguing every known species on the planet!
Dissecting Owl PelletsOwls are important creatures in the wizarding world. Did you know that they swallow their food whole? After a while they regurgitate the undigestible parts (fur and bones) in the form of a pellet. If you dissect the pellet, you can find out exactly what the owl has been eating. If you can find an owl's nest, you can collect your own pellets by searching the area beneath, or purchase pellets online (do a search for owl pellets and choose a supplier close to your area). For a free downloadable bone chart, follow this link.
For those worried about mess and cleanliness, you should know that most commercial owl pellet suppliers sterilize the pellets before sending them to you, and that the pellets themselves are dry and only contain fur, bones,and teeth, beaks--the truly undigestible bits. Owls are very good at using all of the digestible parts! The pellets are odourless and easy to clean up. If you collect your own pellets, you can wear gloves and wash up well afterward.
Dinosaur Egg HatchingPrepare paper mache eggs as described on the concoctions page. Insert small toy dragons (or other mystical creatures) inside the eggs before sealing. Paint with tempra or acrylic paints in bold and colourful designs. Hand out an egg to each participant with the instructions to care for it until it is ready to hatch. Alternative: insert fossils (or replicas of fossils) and have the participants identify the animal (or plant) from which it came.
Try joining up the stars with your own lines and making up new constellations for yourself.
You may notice that the stars you see in winter are different than those you see in the summer. Do you know why that is?
The sky that we see now looks nearly the same as the sky that the early Egyptians gazed upon. What things would have changed? How is the view of the night sky different when viewed in the southern hemisphere?
Whether you can or cannot predict the future through numerology, there is no denying that numbers have a magic all their own.
The concept of prediction lends itself well to a look at probability. If you roll two dice 100 times and graph the results, what can you predict about the next roll? How about the next 10 rolls? Try it and see if your predictions came true. This can be extended by introducing factorials and teaching students how to calculate various probabilities.
In the field of quantum mechanics, predictions about sub atomic particles seem to follow different rules. Check out this link to view clips from The Quantum Tamers and learn more about the truly strange science of quantum mechanics. More teacher's resources on quantum mechanics from the Perimeter Institute can be found here.
Have you ever experimented with magic numbers?
In a magic square, you try and figure out what number is needed to add in the blank squares such that the sum of each row, column and diagonal adds up to the same number. Try and solve this one:
6 1 __
7 5 3
__ 9 4
Other interesting numbers to explore:
For more mathematical resources, see the Lemonade math page here.
The best defenses children can have against the "dark arts" are confidence and good judgment. Adults can help with these by actively listening to the concerns of children, watching for signs that might indicate bullying or abuse, and street proofing. Simply knowing what they can do in a scary or difficult situation can bring a sense of empowerment and confidence to people of any age.
Younger children may benefit from role playing games, and older ones can learn some self defense moves, as well as some general safety pointers. Consider having a martial arts or self-defense instructor come in and give a lesson or two to your group.
Sometimes people want to believe that if they'd been in a bad situation, they would have been able to prevent it from happening to them. They inadvertently blame the victim for making poor choices. This can cause victims to feel too ashamed to seek the help they need. Remember to emphasize that while a victim may have not made a good choice (or may not have had the opportunity to do so), that does not mean that they are to blame for something bad that has happened. Let's keep the blame with the perpetrators!
Remember that help is always available: Kids Help Phone http://kidshelp.sympatico.ca/en/help.asp 1-800-668-6868
Shrunken House Elf Heads
If you would like to lighten it up and play Slytherin, you can have your own shrunken House Elf head just like the ones the Black family kept at 12 Grimmauld Place. Make your own by carving an apple into the shape of a face and drying it out so it shrivels into a wizened face that closely resembles a shrunken elf head. Detailed general instructions can be found here (leave out the body sections): (apple doll head).
Next, cut the outline of your nose as indicated by the red line in the second diagram. Make these lines about 2-3 mm deep. Using the green circle as a rough guide, cut from the edges of that circle toward the nose lines you just made and remove those wedges. You should now have a nose as well as a flatttened area around it on which to form the rest of the face. Continue by adding a thin slit for the mouth, and two rounded pits for the eyes. Add a few thin wrinkle lines at the corners of the eyes and around the sides of the mouth.
When you are happy with the general look of your doll's face, soak it in a bowl of water with ~ 3 Tablespoons each of salt and lemon juice per litre of water, for about 5 minutes. Remove and pat dry.
You can either let it air dry if your weather is not very humid, or speed up the process (and avoid mould) by putting it in a convection oven at the lowest temperature setting for 2-3 hours, then let it continue to dry for several days. You can also use a dehydrator, or even just place it on a car dashboard in the sun. The entire drying time may take up to 2-3 weeks.
Another "dark magic" idea that is popular with the teen crowd is making your own waxen hand of glory.
You will need:
paraffin wax (old candles work well)
an old pot
a large bowl of ice water
Place the wax into an old pot that is about half full of water. Heat the wax and water until the wax begins to melt. Dip your hand into the ice water and keep it there for about 10 seconds. Put some hand cream on your hand, then quickly dip your hand into the wax and water, wait a few seconds to let it cool a bit, then dip it into the bowl of ice water. Repeat 2-3 times to build the wax up to your desired thickness. Carefully remove the wax (it will come off easily).
Add an inexpensive LED light inside to make it light like in The Order of the Phoenix. Alternatively, you can fill the hand with tacky (not completely melted) wax if you wish to make it stronger. You can also use coloured wax to make your hand more interesting, or melt crayons and paint it like you would do in the painted candles activity.
Tips for removing the wax from your hand:
Harry Potter Novel Study
Harry Potter and HistoryThere are some historical events that are mentioned within the series that have relevance not only to the idea of wizardry, but also to politics, religion and science. Some events that relate to the Harry Potter world: the invention of gunpowder and fireworks, the discovery of dinosaur bones in Asia, the role of dragon mythology in Asian celebrations, the medieval study of alchemy, the Spanish inquisition and the witch trials in Salem Massachusetts.
Another link to history comes through the mythology that is woven into the novels. This can be further explored by studying Greek and Roman mythology and mythological creatures and comparing it with accounts found throughout the series. Where did the idea for Fluffy the 3-headed dog come from? Where did Centaurs come from? From what country does a Boggart originate? What is the role of prophesy in the series? What is the story behind the legend of the phoenix? How does J. K. Rowling use these to enrich the storyline and bring the wizarding world to life? How does she incorporate legends, such as the quest for the philosopher's stone, leprechaun gold, the giant squid (Kraken), and the rebirth of the phoenix into the story?