After learning about how water molecules help each other up the roots of a tree (just imagine cute water droplets holding hands!) Travis and I tried this fun way to break those same water molecules apart. All you need is a bowl and toothpicks! My kindergartner found it slightly naughty to break the bonds, meaning he thought this experiment was hilarious!
First, fill a shallow bowl with water. Wait for the water to be still, then very carefully arrange four toothpicks in a square. It helps to overlap them slightly, but not so much that they will stick together.
Dip a toothpick into the center of the square. Nothing happens! There is nothing to break up the water bonds.
Now dip a second toothpick into dish soap. Dip into the center of the square and… the toothpicks run away from each other!
As stated above, Travis thought this was pretty hilarious, and he wanted to repeat with our toothpicks in different configurations. We tried a zig zag, although the results weren’t as pronounced.
So then we needed to repeat the square a few times (if you repeat, start with fresh water; once the water is soapy, the effect isn’t as pronounced).
In sum, a very kid-friendly way to illustrate some big (or should I say, microscopic) scientific concepts!