Simply Science: Experiment Time
By Shani Asokan
Ceylon Today Features
Science doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be simple, fun and a great stay at home activity! Here are some simple experiments you can do with a few materials you have lying around the house.
While these experiments are safe to do at home, we recommend getting an adult to help you. Besides, this is fun for the whole family. Get ready to see science in action!
Have you ever wished your drawings would come alive? It’s not as impossible as it sounds!
Here’s a simple activity that can make your dreams come true.
What you will need
- A ceramic plate with a smooth surface
- Dry-erase markers (whiteboard markers)
- Permanent marker
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Paper towels or rags
Create your floating stick figure
Do this activity in a place where your parents are okay with water spills. Make sure your water is room temperature.
1. Set up your station with the plate and a cup of water standing by. Using one of the dry-erase markers, draw a stick figure on the plate. You can be creative here, if you don’t feel like drawing a stick figure you could draw a heart or star or anything else, as long as the drawing is simple.
2. Let it dry for a minute. Once the drawing looks dry, pour the water on to your plate, just enough to cover the drawing. Observe.
3. If nothing happens, you can shake the plate gently. Watch your little drawing come to life and float across the plate!
You can compare this to a drawing made with a permanent marker. Does it work the same? What happens if you touch the floating drawing? Can you lift it out of the water?
How it works
It is likely that only the drawings made with the dry-erase marker float in the water. This is because when you make a drawing on the plate, the solvent or alcohol in the dry-erase ink evaporates, leaving only the colour pigment or polymer on the surface of the plate.
The polymer in the dry erase marker is oily silicone, and so it doesn’t fully stick to the plate. If you wiped a finger over the drawing before you pour the water, it would have been easily wiped away with your finger.
When you pour water into the plate, the water lifts the polymer off the plate and allows it to float on the surface. This does not work with a drawing made with a permanent marker because the polymer in this type of marker is acrylic, which sticks more firmly to the plate. You can remove these drawings with a paper towel soaked in the rubbing alcohol because it is the same solvent present in the markers.