Magic Beans

We are going to be talking about magic today. To start with, can you think of the most amazing magic trick you’ve seen? (what was amazing about it?)

‘Break the circle’ on magic


We’re now going to look at a story which may or may not have some magic in it.


One frosty weekend a scientist was making a pot of tea when a door suddenly appeared in the middle of her kitchen and out stepped a coffee-bean shaped creature with bulbous eyes.

‘Oh, hello,’ the scientist said, somewhat startled. ‘You’re funny looking – where have you been all my life?’

The bean stared at her.

‘Okay, bad joke,’ the scientist conceded. ‘Fancy a cuppa?’

The bean waddled closer and watched. ‘Is water?’ it asked curiously.

‘Yes it is, quite right. Good for you.’

‘Is sugar?’ the bean enquired.

‘Yes, but don’t tell anyone. I’m supposed to be on a diet,’ said the scientist and winked.

‘Is elephant?’

‘This?! No, no, dopey bean. This is a tea pot: that’s not a trunk – it’s a spout. I’m making tea, you see. But I have my own special method.'

She looked around and leaned in. ‘The secret is to put the sugar and water in first, and the teabag in after,’ she whispered.  

The bean looked at her blankly.

‘Let me show you.’

She took a spoonful of sugar, dropped it in the warm water and started to stir. Gradually the sugar dissolved.

‘Is magic!’ the bean cried, bouncing up and down.

‘Magic? What’s magic?’ 

‘Is gone’ said the bean, still bouncing.

‘Oh, the sugar? Yes, it’s dissolved. But that’s not magic. Sugar is soluble.’

The bean shook its bean. ‘Is magic,’ it repeated.

‘Right,’ frowned the scientist. She took a pen out of her top pocket and started drawing on the fridge. ‘Let me explain…’ (explain diagram of molecular change - see downloadable resource at bottom of this page).

She returned the pen to her pocket. ‘So you see, it’s not magic.’

The bean studied the drawings on the fridge. It turned to the teapot of water. It looked back at the fridge. And again at the water.

Then looking up at the scientist, it blinked twice and squeaked, ‘Is magic.’

Task Questions

  • Why do you think the scientist said that sugar dissolving isn’t magic?
  • Do you agree with the bean? Is it magic when sugar dissolves in water?
  • Does sugar disappear in water?
  • Can science explain everything?
  • Can something you can explain be magic?
  • Can science be magic?
  • What is science?
  • What is an explanation?
  • Can science explain everything?

Download Resource

Download Magic Beans