activities

Floating Paperclip

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Floating paper clip surface tension activity from All for the Boys blog

Can you get a paperclip to float? I love activities that are cheap and simple to replicate. This one is just that!

You’ll just need a bowl of water, a paperclip (or several) and tissue paper or other light paper. I used a piece of crepe paper.

I always start these experiments by asking the boys to try and get the paperclip to float without any further instruction. If you try to get a paperclip to float without doing anything other than putting the paperclip on the water it will sink right down.

Once that doesn’t work try changing the surface tension of the water. Place the small piece of tissue or crepe paper on the water.

Place a paperclip on top of that.

Using a pencil or stick slowly push down  and remove the paper.

Now the paperclip can float! Even with the not so graceful way we took the paper out it still stayed on the surface of the water while moving around. This surface tension is the same way bugs can stay on top of the water of your pool, a puddle or lake!

What else can you get to float using surface tension?

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Allison Waken is a wife, mom of boys and Phoenix, AZ native. She has been creating inspiring content for All for the Boys since 2011. Allison loves travel, movies and spending as much time as possible with her family while she can!

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