Our love of all things Harry Potter rolls on! This time we are tackling the infamous spell Wingardium Leviosa, the levitation spell that makes things fly. In the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, there is a great scene where the young wizards are learning this spell in first year charms class using feathers. So we decided to recreate this charms lesson and turn it into magical assignments for our students in the classroom.
Wingardium Leviosa Charms (Science) Lesson
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Now as much as I have tried, my magic seems to be lacking a bit. Hopefully soon I will get my letter to Hogwarts! For now I had to turn to science to help us make this levitation charm happen. We actually tackled this project 3 different ways, but today I am sharing one method of having your very own Charms class learning the spell Wingardium Leviosa.
Wingardium Leviosa is essentially a hover charm, floating charm and a way to make something fly. We see it used by many of the witches and wizards throughout the Harry Potter stories including in some great combat moments.
But first, the young wizards needed to learn the spell. There is the great scene in the Philosopher’s Stone where we learn it is Leviosar not Leviosar during Harry’s first Charms class. Then in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows they use this charm on the Whomping Willow so they can get to the Shrieking Shack. There is also a really funny scene in Chamber of Secrets when Harry uses the charm to levitate two cupcakes for Crabbe and Goyle that contain a sleeping draught. It is a very handy magical charm and a great basic spell for our witches and wizards!
Wingardium Leviosa Experiment Video
Watch us casting a spell, wingardium leviosa in this video! You can also find it on the STEAM Powered Family YouTube Channel.
For this charms lesson you will need the following supplies.
Jumbo Craft Sticks (2)
Electrical tape or other tape that is nicely coloured
You will also need a way of anchoring. We used a Lego plate and Lego pieces (you could even add your own Lego Harry Potter!), but you could also just tape down the ends of your fishing line.
How to Cast the Spell! (Experiment Directions)
The first thing we need to do is make our special levitation wands. For this you will need magnets. The ones from our Troll Bogeys slime are great. Remember stronger is better but keep safety in mind at all times and ensure you don’t use strong magnets with young children who don’t understand safety yet.
Take your magnets, if you are using the coin magnets you will need to stack a handful to ensure you are getting enough magnetic pull to levitate. Practice by testing your magnets with your paperclip to see how strong the draw is. You want the paperclip to jump to the magnet.
Place your magnets between two jumbo craft sticks and tape into place.
Your wand is ready!
Now to prepare your feather. Take a paper clip and tie fishing line to it. You want about 4 to 6 inches of fishing line.
Now anchor the end of fishing line that doesn’t have the paperclip. We placed our fishing line on a Lego plate and then placed some 2x Lego pieces across the line to secure it.
Finally slide your feather into the paperclip.
You are now ready for Charms class!
Tips for Performing the Wingardium Leviosa Spell
Wands at the ready caster? Now remember the proper wand movement, swish and flick, swish and flick.
Ensure you are also saying the incantation correctly. As Hermione Granger taught us, “It’s Wing-GAR-dium Levi-O-sa, make the “gar” nice and long.”
Hold your wand near the feather. It should jump up and stick to the wand at first but slowly lift up and the feather will levitate below your wand!
Wizards with great mastery of the levitation spell, Wingardium Leviosa, will be able to move the feather around a bit and can play with how far they can move their wand away from the feather before it falls.
The Science Lesson
In this experiment we are exploring magnetism. By keeping the feather and paperclip anchored it will try to lift to the magnet but the string will hold it in place allowing you to keep your magnets a short distance away and cause the feather to float.
For more scientific investigations with your newfound skills try this experiment with different types of magnets and see how it affects the distance you can move your wand from the paperclip.
You can also try levitating feathers using air. Place a feather between two fans aimed towards each other and see if you can use the air currents to keep your feather afloat. If you have a central heating system with floor vents you can also place feathers over the floor vents with the system fans on (this has been a favourite activity for my kids since they were little).
Another technique you can try is using static electricity on a balloon to see if you can get the feathers to rise.
Give all of these a try and see which one is your favourite!
Enjoy Charms class and have fun performing the levitation spell, Wingardium Leviosa!
More Harry Potter School Lessons and Activities
Want more magical learning from the wizarding world? Check out more lessons and activities fit for a wizard!
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