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Watch: Author Cristy Burne explains the Mobius mystery, how to make pot plant music, and how to defy gravity

With lockdowns in place across the country, households are having to negotiate not only the challenges of working from home, but for many students, it means learning from home.

In honour of Science Week, which kicked off at the weekend, children's author Cristy Burne gave Australian Community Media some tips for some at-home experiments.

Ms Burne is currently in Western Australia, where the lockdown has not hit, but, she said there are plenty of things students can do outside their classrooms to entertain themselves regardless of their isolation status.

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Here's a few of her favourite experiments:

Mystery of the Mobius strip

Loop a long, narrow piece of paper around on itself, in the same way you would make a paper chain.

Twist the paper slightly, and sticky tape the ends together so that the paper has a gentle wave formed through it.

With a pencil, trace out the length of the paper. Make sure the end of the pencil does not disconnect from the paper for the entire length.

The line will appear as if it runs across both sides of the loop, even though you have only drawn on one side.

Take a pair of scissors and cut the strip in half length ways. Instead of creating two halves, as Ms Burne explained "you'll instead create one whole. Very peculiar."

Why does this happen? The Mobius strip is the mathematical foundation of the topology study.

Basically, that's the study of things that require only movement to completely change their form. Like a pair of headphones tangling upon inside a pocket.

The topology of the headphones remains the same, it has required only movement to radically change its form.

It was discovered in the mid-19th century, and it's fascinated mathematicians, artists, and scientists ever since.

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AT-HOME SCIENCE: Author Cristy Burne defies gravity with this simple experiment.

AT-HOME SCIENCE: Author Cristy Burne defies gravity with this simple experiment.

Defying gravity

Tape string to the bottom of a plate so that the plate is nestled in a four-way harness.

Place a cup (preferably plastic) on top of the plate, and fill the cup with water.

"Add a little bit of water, you don't want to add too much water, but you don't want to add the wrong amount of water either," Ms Burne said.

Holding the top of the strings, swing the plate upside down as fast as you can, and not a drop of water will be spilled.

How does it work? The force used to project the plate and cup needs to be stronger than the gravitation pull that will cause the water to drop.

"Gravity can be beaten if you have enough speed," Ms Burne said.

This is definitely one to try outside.

Pot plant music

Tie a knot at the end of a thick string and thread it through the end of a plastic pot plant container.

Wet your finger tips and the string, and then slide your fingers up and down the length of the string.

This, Ms Burne said, is the way to play one of her favourite songs: The Sick Chicken.

Why does it make that sound? That's because of the friction you're causing with your fingers rubbing the wet string, which resonates and vibrates inside the plastic container.

It's not quite chamber music, but it's close.

In other news:

This story Science Week experiments you can do at home first appeared on Newcastle Herald.