Thursday, September 6, 2018

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Sparkly Earth Science Experiment

I created this science experiment to teach about the planet Earth in a space theme, but it also works great for exploring water, chemistry, and much more!

More than 2/3 of the planet Earth is covered in water, so it made sense to learn a little bit about water as we "landed" on Earth during our most recent Solar System / Space Unit Study.

One of water's really critical characteristics is its strong surface tension, created by charges on water molecules.

Here's how we introduced the topic to our preschoolers:

Preschool Science Experiment

Water on Planet Earth

Supplies: * bowl or cup half full of water
* glitter
* dish soap

1- Tell your preschoolers that water is all over the Earth, and talk about places to find it, like the ocean, lakes, frozen ice, and...your cup!

2- Tell your preschoolers that water tends to stick to itself and create a strong bond (as I say this I interlock my fingers to show my hands sticking to themselves and creating a strong bond). This strong, sticky layer across the top of water (point to the top of your bowl) is called surface tension. It is strong enough that some insects and lizards can even crawl across it! It is also strong enough to hold glitter!

3- Let one of your kiddos sprinkle a pinch of glitter across the top of the water. Watch it move and talk about how it sits on the water.

4- Squirt a tiny bit of dish soap onto the table. Let one of your preschoolers dip his finger in it and stick his finger into the middle of the glitter! Watch the glitter cruise away!

Wow!!! Your kids will all want to try this!! Rinse the bowl out and let them all do it a few times!

What's going on?!!

The science behind what's going on is fantastic, and can be used to teach a lot of lessons, from preschool up through high school chemistry! (Click here to see how I taught this same lesson to a group of homeschoolers with kids from preK - 6th grade!)

For my preschoolers, I simply explain that the dish soap breaks the surface tension, and the water rushes away from the soap (with the glitter on top). For a more detailed explanation of why, click on over to my lesson for older kids.  ;)  

After my preschoolers finished, I went on with my more detailed lesson with the older kids (link above). 

Your preschoolers may want to experiment can let them try other liquids or soaps to see what will "break" the surface tension the best, or even other small objects instead of glitter (we used to use pepper when I taught high school, but I don't like putting pepper around really little kids!).

I'd love to know if you try it! Feel free to shoot me an email, leave a comment, tag me on Instagram (Preschool_Powol_Packets) or stop over at Preschool Powol Packets on Facebook to say Hi!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

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