Walking Water

We have been working on making predictions in science.  Last week my students had a great opportunity to make a prediction, make observations, and practice measurement skills. The students watched water walk.  Here's how it works.  

You will need the following materials:
2 clear cups
food coloring
paper towel
something to prop one cup up higher than the other (we used dictionaries)

Put a few drops of food coloring in the bottom of one cup.  Add water until it is close to the top.  Place the water filled cup on the higher surface.  Put the empty cup on the lower surface.  Fold a paper towel into a long strip (you could probably cut it, too).  Dip one end of the paper towel into the water cup (the water will move, so make sure it is in there well).  Place the other end of the paper towel over the edge and just inside of the empty cup.  

We were completely focused on this for 20 minutes before moving on to our literacy block.  However, I made measurement marks at 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, and 90 minutes.  I just ran my reading groups as scheduled and ran around making marks on the cups between groups.
This student is pointing out that the water is close to dripping on the backside of the paper towel.

This group is waiting patiently for their first water drop.

The water is almost there!

At last - the first drops arrive.  We all started at 12:30.  All six groups had water droplets within 8 minutes of starting.

Here the students are talking about whether or not the water would leak onto their desks (FYI - only one group had a few drops leak and it was because their paper towel was too close to the edge of the cup and not resting inside).

Here the water is really starting to drop.  This group was the first to point out that they could see where the water level had started.

This was after 40 minutes.

The best thing about this experiment is that students have most of the supplies at home.  If we had more time in class we could have experimented with some changes (water temperature, food coloring, elevations, water amount, etc.).  I encouraged the students to try these changes at home.  

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