The Science of Scams was a set of hoax videos produced by Channel 4 in association with the amazing Derren Brown. In total there were 7 hoax videos which appear to demonstrate paranormal phenomena. In fact they’re all based upon real scientific principles.
This hoax footage was been posted all over the internet in an attempt to find out if people would either accept it as genuine or question it in an attempt to discover the real truth. These include evidence of ghosts, telekinesis and much more.
On the Science of Scams website they show the original hoax videos, then go through the process of explaining and debunking the scams behind them.
These videos could all be used to generate discussion around Critical Thinking skills for KS3 and Ks4 and promoting healthy skepticism of what they see on the internet. Would provide interesting discussion matter if handled correctly.
In addition, 5 of the videos could link themselves to Scientific Investigation in the classroom. Students could develop experiments to test and replicate these videos.
Here’s how you might link some of the videos to the Science curriculum
Ghost on Film
This is a great way to introduce the famous Peppers Ghost experiment – Recreate with model room and a toy plus a sheet a glass. Linked to Ks3/Ks4 Mirrors and Reflection. Investigate properties of glass / mirrors. ICT Opportunity – use video camera inside the model to recreate what an observer might see.
Linked to KS4 – Convection currents & Energy transfer abd also link to particle theory – expansion of gases and density. Students could try and build their own wheel – try with different heat sources.
Linked to forces and pressure Ks3/Ks4. The experiment could be mocked up safely using a melon instead of someone’s head. Also linked to materials (using “fake” bricks that look same as normal brick)
Linked to KS4 Chemical Reactions as an example of Exothermic reaction. Investigate experiments which generate heat – test out – measure heat of reaction. Datalogging opportunities in measuring temperature changes.
Linked to Magnetism and Static Electricity. Look at how static can make objects repel / attract. Interestingly “psychic” Uri Gellar does a similar thing with a magnet in a false thumb tip (videos showing this keep getting removed) Coulc look at how different materials can hold different charges – insulators such as plastics
There are two other videos which cover Psychic Readings and the Ouija Board – would leave out as not linked to “Science” as such – but could still have criticial thinking component perhaps. It may be best to leave that Ouija boards alone in a school setting just to be safe from parental complaints.