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Further Investigations: Water Properties

  1. In Activity 2 you were able to float a paper clip on water even though a paper clip is more dense than water because of the surface tension of water. Do you think you can float a needle? What about a square piece of foil? What about a penny? Experiment with floating different objects on water and devise a general rule for what enables you to float an object. Pay attention to size and shape.
  2. Have you ever seen strange colored carnation flowers for sale? Sometimes these strange colors are made using food coloring. Try dying flowers or a celery stick using capillarity and colored water.
  3. Devise a way to use capillarity to water plants without overwatering them.
  4. The “Cheerios effect” can explain why cheerios in a bowl of milk will move towards each other.  Investigate how this effect works and what other aspects of science it relates to.

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.