If you ever wondered where Steve Spangler got his inspiration to become a science teacher, you have to look no further than where he grew up. In this special Mad About Science segment, Steve introduces us to his parents, Bruce and Kitty Spangler, who share their secrets for getting people of all ages excited about science using their own special brand of magic.
Spangler Science Magic Museum
Peek inside a museum of rare magic tricks and collectibles
From the outside of the home, everything appears to be normal. But what you find inside is very cool… especially if you’re a science teacher who loves magic. Steve introduced his mother, Kitty Spangler, who shared a classic of magic – the Chinese Linking Rings – where one solid ring passes through another. Of course, no secret revealed here! A quick tour of the museum (okay, a five second glance) revealed shelves upon shelves of old magic apparatus, science equipment and gadgets to perform special effects.
The ringmaster of this one of a kind place is Steve’s father, Bruce Spangler, who received his first magic kit when he was five years old. Little did he realize that a hobby would one day help students and teachers get excited about science. “Science and magic share many similarities,” says Bruce, only moments after removing Steve’s head from the guillotine. “The job of a magician is to amaze and entertain, and the goal of any great teacher is to capture a student’s attention and pique their natural curiosity. Getting students to ask questions like ‘How did you do that?’ automatically involves them in the learning process.”
Bruce shared his perspective on building the connection between science and magic by making water magically change red and back to a colorless liquid. “At first glance it looks like a magic trick where the liquid changes color. But it’s actually a great way to introduce students to the concept of acids and bases using an indicator solution.”
Bruce and Kitty travel to elementary schools throughout Colorado sharing their enthusiasm for learning science with thousands of students and teachers. From large group presentations to small, hands-on learning experiences, children who experience the programs learn how science plays an important role in their everyday lives.
The grand finale was a demonstration that Bruce and Kitty regularly present during their school assemblies. Using a specially designed motor, the Spanglers spin a paper disc to a speed of over 740 miles per hour! The enormous centripetal force causes the piece of paper to literally explode!