Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Paper Bugs Walking on Water (Surface Tension Experiment)

Surface tension experiments are the coolest. This one lives up to the others we've done. We made paper bugs walk on water! Here's how we did it.

What You Need
Card stock
Downloadable pattern - optional (free on Google Drive here)
Basin or pan of water (we used the bathtub)

What to Do
Either fold card stock and draw a bug so it's back is at the top of the fold and it has large wide feet or print the downloadable pattern on card stock and fold. Do not crease the fold on the paper tightly; if possible leave it lightly creased only. Cut out your bug. 

Bend the feet back so your bug stands up. 

Gently (this may take some practice for rambunctious kids) place the bug in the water so its feet stand on the surface of the water.

Make several because it may take a few tries; once your bug is submerged, it has to be thrown out!

Why it Works
The surface of the water is like a thin film, formed by surface tension. Lightweight objects can actually balance atop this surface. Once your bug's legs penetrate the surface of the water and it absorbs enough water, it will no longer float. Each bug is for one-time use in this experiment. 

This great activity came from 365 Science Activities, which also served as the inspiration for my bug designs. Check it out!!

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