A Lesson in Physics: The Magic of Marbles

Do you remember the fun you could have with a handful of marbles? Children are so creative in making up games to play with the small round balls. The following game is one they will be able to show others. It must have been a hungry physicist who first noticed the Brazil Nut Effect. When you shake a jar of mixed nuts, the big, dense Brazil nut, always moves to the top. You would think it would fall to the bottom, but see the effect for yourself using a favorite marble.

  1. Put the marble in a clean plastic jar. Fill it halfway with cornmeal, salt, or sand.
  2. Seal the jar, and then shake it up and down. It may take a little time, but eventually the marble will rise to the top. You might even hear it pop against the lid before you spot it.

How does this happen? When you shake the jar, both the cornmeal and the marble move up and down, and a bit of the cornmeal fills the space below the marble before it can fall back to its original position. It may seem like magic, but it’s actually physics in action! Our God created the heavens and the earth and He still cares about every detail of your life. Thank you Creator God!