Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What's Going on in the Lab? It's Surface Tension!

So, STEM and Science Friends, do you ever have one of those days where you need an activity and you reach out to this magic place called Teachers Pay Teachers and hope the search system works and you can find something quickly and use it, like right then?
Happens to me all the time!!!
STEM Challenge: Can you use different liquids as a surfactant and make those little critters move in a pan of water? Yes, you can!
Not long ago I had two majorly large projects ongoing with my fourth and fifth graders and just could not handle a new project with my thirdies, too.
I turned to my favorite science sellers at TpT and found the cutest little packet from Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy! It was exactly what I needed to grab and go!
It was a STEM Lab Water Surface Tension package!

Did you know that water has the unique property of "Sticking" to itself. Yep, that's why water forms droplets. The science word for this is cohesion and it simply means that water molecules are attracted to one another and they stick together. Can you separate them? Yep! If you have the right item to create this breaking up it can happen. The science word here is surfactant.

Here's the activity!
STEM Challenge: Cutting out our little critters for a surface tension challenge!
First, you copy the provided "Little Critters". Punch a hole in the critter and cut the little channel. (These are marked on the templates.) Then give them out to the kids and they will cut them out. I showed mine how to cut around the critter and not cut out every minute detail.

STEM Challenge: Place those droplets carefully on your little critter and watch him zip through the water!
Next, you place your critter in a pan of water. And you use an eye dropper or pipette to drip into the channel and hole of the critter. If the liquid you drip is a surfactant then the critter will take off across the water. The surface tension is broken and the critter can move.
Take a look below!
STEM Challenge: Place those droplets carefully on your little critter and watch him zip through the water!
The little pink turtle did not move. Sadly, the liquid dripped on him was not the right one!
But, check out the blue frog below!
STEM Challenge: Place those droplets carefully on your little critter and watch him zip through the water!
This little guy zipped across that pan of water amid squeals of delight from my third graders!
They loved this challenge and you can grab it from Mel And Gerdy.
Just click on the link below!


So, what are you doing in your science class?
Check back next week for another edition!

Coming soon:
Math Task Cards in STEM Class

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