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Surface TensionOne of the great things about a swimming pool is the opportunity for backyard learning.  Science lessons are all around you!  Indulge your children’s curiosity and inspire new creativity and learning.  For today’s science lesson, teach the kids about surface tension–they’ll have fun floating all sorts of things in the pool.

Now, if you don’t remember surface tension from high school science class, that’s ok.  ToySplash has a quick primer on the principle.  All material is made up of molecules, including water.  Water beneath the surface is surrounded by other water molecules.  But the water on the surface is not connected to anything else on one side.  So, when other materials touch the surface of the water, those molecules bond to it.  That’s why it’s harder to move something through the surface of the water than it is to move it once it is immersed in the water.  Test this principle with the following activities:

-Have the children place their hands on the surface of the water (gently) and feel how the water seems to push back as they try to push it under water.

-Float a needle or a toothpick on the surface of the water

-Point out floating leaves

-Blow soap bubbles and watch as some rest on the surface of the water

Let the kids’ imaginations run wild!

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