The walking water experiment is an easy way to amaze kids and demonstrate different areas of science at the same time.
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This colorful experiment uses things that you probably already have laying around your house. It takes a few hours before you can see results, but it’s well worth the wait. Kids and even grownups will be surprised to see water “walk” from one cup to another, as if by magic.
What you need:
- Clear plastic cups
- Food coloring
- Paper towels
What to do:
- Set up seven plastic cups in a row.
- Starting with the first cup, fill every other cup with water.
- Add different food coloring to the cups with water.
- Take one paper towel and fold it into a long strip. Then fold it in half, forming a “V” shape.
- Place it between the first and second cup, so one end is in the colored water, and the other end is in the empty cup.
- Repeat with five more paper towels, making sure there is one “V” napkin bridging each space between cups.
- Let sit for at least two hours, or up to 48 hours.
After a few hours, you’ll notice the empty cups filling with water. The color of the water in each formerly empty cup will be a mixture of the two colors feeding into it. The water has “walked” from one cup to another!
How it works:
The paper towel allows the water to travel from one cup to another. Water moves up the paper towel thanks to the fibers in the paper towel. Paper towels are made of cellulose, the same fiber found in plants, which helps disperse water throughout it. The water molecules attach to each other through a process called cohesion. As the water moves up the paper towel, more water molecules are pulled up, too. The cohesive force is so strong, it’s able to overcome gravity.
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