Soap is useful for more than just cleaning things. It can be used in this science experiment! You and your child might enjoy using soap to “power” a boat. Plus the natural curiosity of a child make this, and other “experiments,” a great way to bring out the little scientist.
To do this experiment you will need 1 index card, scissors, and a baking dish or sink full of water, and liquid dish detergent.
Here’s what you need to do: cut out a “boat” shape from the index card, making it about 2 ½ inches long and about 1 ½ inches wide. Leave a little notch at one end of the boat. Put the boat gently on the water in the dish or sink. Then pour a little detergent into the notch at the end of the boat. Your boat should scoot across the water.
The science is this: water molecules are highly attracted to each and stick very close together, especially on the surface. This makes a sort of moveable web on the surface of the water, known as surface tension. When you add the soap, the composition of the water molecules is disturbed; breaking the web and making the boat go forward.
Check out your local Library for more science experiments. In Manistee County the Library is located ay 95 Maple Street. Have fun doing some cool science with your little scientist.
(some of the information for this comes from the pamphlet “Helping Your Child Learn Science” from the US Department of Education)