This experiment is simple to set up and only requires items that you probably already have in your kitchen.
A big THANK YOU to my son’s second-grade teacher who gave him a science kit to do over the summer. This was one of the experiments in the kit.
You can also try the Color Changing Walking Water Experiment with two filled with different colored water with paper towel feeding into the empty third glass.
Watch the Walking Water Science Experiment
Supplies Needed for the Walking Water Science Experiment
- 2 glasses of equal height
- Food Coloring (optional)
- Paper Towel
Walking Water Science Experiment Instruction
Step 1 – Position your two empty glasses about 2 inches apart. Pour water into one of the glasses until it is halfway full.
Step 2 – Add a few drops of food coloring into the water.
Tip: Using food coloring is optional, but it will help you see the water “walking” more clearly
Step 3 – Stir the food coloring until the water is all one color.
Step 4 – Grab a strip of paper towel that is about 1-2 inches wide.
Tip: I used one section of paper towel and folded it in half until it was the correct width.
Step 5 – Place one end of the paper towel into the glass with the water. Then place the other end into the glass that is empty. Then leave the glasses to sit and come back to check on them in about an hour.
Step 6 – Return to the glasses and observe what has happened.
Tip: The longer you wait to check on the glasses will result in more of the water moving over to the other glass. The water will stop moving over until the cups are both filled with the same amount of water.
How Does the Walking Water Science Experiment Work
The water appears to defy gravity, but in reality, it moves because of a process called capillary action. Water is able to move against the force of gravity because water molecules stick to each other AND they stick to the fibers of the paper towel. As water molecules are attracted to the fibers of the paper towel, they pull other water molecules with them. The adhesive forces between the water and the fibers of the paper towel are stronger than the cohesive forces between the water molecules. As a result, the water travels up and across the paper towel out of one glass and into another.
Capillary action is the combined force of attraction among water molecules and with the molecules of surrounding materials.
I hope you enjoyed the experiment. Here are some printable instructions: