Walking Water: Science Experiment

Big Hero 6Over a year ago, our family watched the movie, Big Hero 6. It quickly became our favourite movie. Last Halloween, my daughter dressed up as Honey Lemon. This year, my son has decided he wants to be Fred. I frequently find the kids playing Big Hero 6 with their mini figurine set from Costco. And, when they pet out cats, they call them “furry babies!” But, most importantly, they have a new found love of all things science, so much so that my daughter wants to be a chemist, like Honey Lemon, when she grows up.

It’s been raining in Calgary for the last few days, and our whole family is suffering from a cold. So, for these reasons, we’ve been a little cooped up. We spent this morning doing a simple science experiment to pass the time, and continue to develop their love of all things scientific.

We found a YouTube channel called WizKid Science with a series of simple age appropriate science experiments the kids could do. They chose to do Walking Water.

walking water materials

 

Here’s What you Need:

  • Water
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Clear Cups
  • Paper towel

 

 

Steps:

  1. Place your cups in a row. You will need an odd number of cups. We used five. Wizkid Science used seven. You could use as few as three.
  2. Pour water into the first, third, and fifth cup. Pour more water in the third cup than the first and fifth.
  3. Add different colours of food colouring to each cup. We used the primary colours (blue, red, and yellow), so the end result would create as few of the secondary colours (purple and orange).
  4. Fold a piece of paper towel twice the long way, so there are many layers.
  5. Place one piece of paper towel into the first and second cup. Then, the next piece into the second and third cup, and so on. You may need to cut the paper towel shorter, so it rests on the edge of your cup when you place it inside the cup.
  6. Now, wait.

While waiting, we discussed how the water is being absorbed into the paper towel, and as it becomes saturated it transfers the water into the other cup. My husband went so far as to try and explain capilliary action to the kids.


Within the first few minutes, the paper towel in the red cup had absorbed enough liquid to transfer some of it into the other cup.

rainbow water

Within an hour, all the pieces of paper towel had become fully saturated and each cup had a portion of liquid in them. The blue and red water mixed to make purple; the red and yellow water mixed to make orange.

simple science experiment

The kids are curious what will happen if we leave it over night, so we’re leaving the cups out to see. We should expect that, with enough time… hours or days?, all the cups would have the same colour water (likely muddy brown) in them. But, I leave that for them to discover on their own.

 

Do you do any simple science experiments at home? Please share them in the link below as we’ll be looking for a few more ideas for over the summer months.