Walking water

T1 has been asking to do a science experiment and so after a little Pinterest browsing, I settled on this one.

These are the materials you will need:
some clear bowls
paper towel strips folded in half
water color or food color
water
some patience

We asked the kids if they thought water could walk or jump. T1 said “No! Water doesn’t have legs!” Big T agreed, “Water does not have legs but the water can move using the paper towels as bridge. This is due to the cohesive-adhesive property of water, also known as capillary action.”

We lined up 5 empty bowls, poured water into bowls 1, 3 and 5. Then, added drops of red food coloring to bowl 1, yellow food coloring to bowl 3 and blue food coloring to bowl 5.

Next we asked the kids to anticipate what would happen when the red and yellow waters met in bowl 2, and yellow and blue waters met in bowl 4.  Then we also took the opportunity to ask them to hypothesize where the water levels would be and why it would be that way. Then we dropped in the paper towels to connect the bowls to each other (like a bridge).

We were hoping for the water to move quickly from one bowl to another but we ended up with a lot of creeping action. The kids were still pretty excited to watch the colored water move up and down the paper towel bridge.

We got alot of oooh cool and wow’s along the way. This experiment can be done without the food coloring but its nice to have a clear visual indication of the water front on the paper towel for the kids to watch. Also, it can take awhile for the water to “walk” so some patience is needed to see the final colors and water levels  or just leave it alone and come back to it later! I like that this experiment is an easy setup and the materials are readily available at home so I didn’t have to go buy a gallon of something to illustrate a simple point. I think T1 and T2 mostly understood what was happening so I would say this experiment was fairly successful. That concluded our science lesson for the day.

 

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