Walking Water – 4th Class
Materials and change
The child should be enabled to:
- Investigate how materials may be changed by mixing
- Investigating and experimenting
- Estimating and measuring
- Recording and communicating
Integration with maths
The children had to measure the correct amount of liquid to be used in each cup. They also had to measure and cut the tissue paper to the correct size for best results.
Plastic cups, kitchen roll, measuring jug for water,
food coloring, ruler.
We predicted that when the tissue paper is placed in the plastic cups, it will soak up the water and “walk” into the other cups.
1. Place 7 cups in a row. Measure and pour water in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th cup. There should be less water in cup 1 and 7 than in cup 3 and 5. We poured 200ml into cup 1 and 7, and 400ml into cups 3 and 5.
2. Add 5 drops of red food coloring to the 1st cup and the 7th cup.
3. Add 5 drops of yellow food coloring to the 3rd cup.
4. Add 5 drops of blue food coloring to the 5th cup.
5. Take a half sheet of paper towel and fold it until it measures 1 inch in width. Check with a ruler.
6. . Trim off some of the length so that there isn’t too much excess paper towel. This will make the water walk more quickly.
7. Place one half of a rolled paper towel in the 1st cup and place the other half in the cup next to it. Then another paper towel from
2nd cup and into the 3rd cup. This continues until you have placed the last paper towel that drapes over from the 6th cup to the 7th cup.
8. Observe the cups and watch what starts happening. You should quickly be able to see the colored water begin to crawl up the paper towel.
At this point of the experiment, we predicted once again what we felt would happen as the water began to “walk” from one cup to another.
The children correctly predicted that the colours from each cups should mix together and form a new colour.
At this point we also discussed
1. What do you think will happen to the water?
2. What is happening now?
3. Why do you think the colors are changing?
4. Why might the water be able to move up against gravity like that?
The water “crawled” all the way up the paper towel and “walked” back down into the empty cup next to it. The colours mixed in the empty cup and formed a new colour.
What we learned
We learned that the paper towel is made from fibers. The water is able to travel through the gaps in the fibers. The gaps in the paper towel act like tubes and pull the water upward against gravity. We discussed how this is also what helps water climb from a plant’s roots to the leaves at the top of the plant or tree.Back