Summer Fun 2017 - Week 5

Walking water science experiment


Summer Holidays have arrived and for children it is one of the best times of the year. National Parents Council Primary would like to help you and your family make the most of the holidays

Walking water science experiment

This easy colourful science experiment can be done with simple items you have in your kitchen right now!

What you need

  • Two sheets of kitchen roll
  • Three glasses or jars
  • Blue food colouring
  • Red food colouring

What you do

  • Place the three glasses side by side.  Starting on the left hand side, fill first glass with water. Add some of blue food colouring into the water.
  • Leave the middle glass empty.
  • Now fill the glass on the right hand side with water and add some of the red food colouring.
  • Fold a paper towel in half lengthways and again so that it will fit into the neck of your glass.  Place one end of the paper towel into the blue water and bend the paper towel over the edge of the glass so that the other end sits in the empty glass in the middle.
  • Do the same on the other side, place one end of a paper towel into the red water, and bend it over so that the other end rests in the empty glass in the middle.
  • Watch and wait.
  • In about 30 minutes or so, the water will start ‘walking’ up the paper towels and over into the middle glass.
  • After about two hours you will have a mix of the two colours in the centre glass, in this case purple.

Hints and tips:

  • Choose two primary colours that will mix to make a secondary colour.  E.g. red and yellow to make orange or blue and yellow to make green.

Why is it so?

  • The process of water moving along a conduit (the paper towel in this case) is called: capillary action.  This is how flowers and plants move water from the ground beneath them, up through their stems and into their petals and leaves.
  • The paper towel is very ‘absorbent’: which means there are enough gaps in its fibre for the water to move through easily and quickly. The adhesive force between the water and the paper towel is stronger than the cohesive forces inside the water itself.

If you would be happy to send us some photographs of your child's work for our website please do!