Monday, 24 October 2011

Surface Tension Videos For Kids

When I was a kid I think I asked, 'Why?' a million times.  'Why do stars shine?', 'Why are the birds flying like that?', 'Why does the water do that?' until my parents gave me Owl Magazine but still asked enough questions to take me to do a PhD.  Still I am asking the question, 'Why?'   Many times children ask great questions that adults either do not know the answer or just do not know enough about the subject to give a good question.  Also teachers sometimes underestimate the aptitude of children thinking they may not be able to grasp a subject.  Children are usually smarter.

To communicate surface tension better to children and stop them from asking  '#%&%& why?' all the time here are some sites:

I posted this before. 

However, no kid wants to sit through a lecture (most adults cannot). 

So here is a simple experiment that would be easy to reproduce in any classroom anywhere in the world. 

You need:

1. a paper clip
2. a paper towel
3. a glass of water
4. soap

Watch the video to see how to do this experiment.

There are probably a lot more experiments that you can do.  The concept is more important than the experiments.  I think a lot of teachers in elementary school focus too much on the experiments being cool and fun but not enough actual explaining properly the concept in a fun way.
To further explain this you will have to understand what a hydrogen bond is. The hydrogen bond  in water is necessary for life to exist.  A simple way to show this if you get 12 kids to stand up and grab hands.  If one is oxygen and the other two are hydrogen they make one water molecule.  So you have a total of four water molecules.  Each water molecule can bond with four two other water molecules.  This is hydrogen bonding of pure water.  The hydrogen bonds are strong and able to stop a force coming at them.   Next you add a soap to this mixture.  Get a couple of other kids to move between the four water molecules spacing them out.  So you have water - soap- water- soap.-water- soap- water.  If you have a force e.g. like a paper clip moving towards this unbonded surface water then on the surface will not support the force.