100 Days of Science #93-- Floating Marker Art

I was browsing through Pinterest looking for some fun, easy, and "new" science project ideas to finish off our 100 Days challenge when I stumbled upon a few pins for floating dry erase marker art.  I was so intrigued and knew we had to try it ourselves! 



We gathered together our dry erase markers, some plain plastic plates and at the last minute we decided to try our chalk art pens too and see if they'd work. 


We drew some simple designs on our plates using dry erase markers; making sure the shapes were well filled in.


Then we took a small container of water and poured the water right on the side of our art... nothing happened!  I realized later that our plastic plates weren't smooth enough.  They had a bit of texture to them that gripped our images.


Not to be daunted I went searching through our cabinets to see what else I could find... I knew kitchen plates were supposed to work but our plates are a deep blue color and the marker wouldn't have shown up on them.  I found we had some plain white, ceramic custard cups that we decided to try.

Again we drew our images..


This time when we poured the water on we saw our shapes begin to lift up and soon they were floating around our dishes!




Evan wanted to try drawing on the side of his cup to see what would happen and we could tell where the water hit and where it did not!





We were fascinated and had fun trying it over and over and over again.






After we tired of that experiment we tried it with our chalk markers...


They disappeared!



Not one to just let us have fun with the experiment I wanted to find out WHY it worked.

  • Chalk markers are soluble in water so when water was added they dissolved but dry erase markers are not water soluble so they don't dissolve.  
  • Dry erase markers are made to come off of most surfaces fairly easily so they don't have a lot of adhesive in them like permanent markers.   
  • The ink in dry erase markers is less dense than water.

So with all these factors combined-- when you pour water near the dry erase marker art the image is affected by the buoyancy of the water.  They retain their shapes since they don't dissolve but the water releases the glue from the surface of the plate and the buoyancy of the water combined with the density of the ink makes the shape float to the top.  

Others in this series:
58.  Exploding Snow and Water Baggies 
59.  Exploring Properties of Minerals
60.  Visiting the Hartford Science Museum
61- 63.  3 Difference Bridge Challenges
64.  Making Models of the Earth's Layers 
65.  Graham Cracker Plate Tectonics 
66.  Homemade Lava Lamps
67.  Movies We're Watching for Science
68.  Index Card Tower Challenge 
69.  Learning Botany at the Botanical Gardens
70.  Board Games for Science
71.  Homemade Frozen Yogurt Pops
72.  Starburst Rock Cycle 
73.  & 74.  Making Marshmallows Sink and Grow
75. Jumping Conversation Hearts
76-78.  Making Paper Airplanes 3 Different Ways 
79.  Learning About Hummingbirds
80.  Planting an Herb Garden
81.  Mushroom Spores
82.-84.  Penny Saturation Experiment
85.  Sink or Float?
86.  Disappearing and Re-Appearing Ink
87.  Sediment Layer Jars 
88.  Tie Dye Science 
89-91 DNA Experiments
92.  Making Homemade Butter

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