Walking Water in 1st Class

Did you know that water can ‘walk’? Well in first class we discovered that this is what happens during capillary action. This is the name of the process when liquids, like water, move up through a solid, like a hollow tube or spongy material.

FIrst we watched a video about capillary action in plants. We learned that plants use capillary action to move the water and nutrients they need from their roots, up into their stalks or trunks. Next we set about testing it! 💡💡

The boys decided on the materials needed for the experiment and outlined the procedure. This month first class is learning a new writing genre, called Procedure. They had the opportunity to explore the language features and layout of this genre when writing up their investigation.

These inquisitive six and seven year olds were then ready to be scientists. We set up our test – 3 glass jars of water, connected by kitchen paper. How would we see if the water walked from jar to jar? Here’s where their mathematical skills came to the fore. After extensive problem-solving, it was suggested that food colouring would make the process more visible.

Next the solid carrier, kitchen paper, was added. To ensure a fair test, the boys made certain that the length of tissue dipping into each jar was equal. Lucky we’re studying the topic of length in maths class this week!

Once the test was set up, our mathematicians showed off their skills of prediction. They forecast movement of water along the tissue paper, from the outside jars into the centre jar. The artistically inclined went on to suggest that the water in the centre jar would turn green, given that mixing the primary colours of blue and yellow makes green.

It was time to record the steps in our procedure and then observe capillary action at work.

After approximately three hours, we had a result! As correctly predicted, the water (in the boys’ own words) in jar 1 and jar 3 soaked into the tissue, walked along it and down along the tissue into jar 2. The sciencey bit for any interested grown-ups 😉 is this happens because of the forces of cohesion, adhesion and surface tension. There was fierce excitement that blue and yellow had indeed combined to turn the water in jar 2 green.

We hope you try this at home. Enjoy reading our booklet, documenting the entire procedure. See a copy below, thanks to Olivier Kitlinsky. 👍

Well done first class. I am so proud to be your teacher. I learn from you every day! Ms Curran. 😊