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:
53. Iodine and Starch Experiment
54. Flouride and Calcium Experiment
55. Botanical Gardens in Winter
56.  Making Cell Models
57. Which Has More Water; Ice or Snow?
58. Exploding Snow and Water Baggies
59.  Exploring Minerals
60. Visiting the Hartford Science Museum
61-63. 3 STEM Bridge Challenges
64. Making Models of the Earth
65. Plate Techtonics with Graham Crackers
66.  Homemade Lava Lamp
67.  Science Movies We're Watching
Index Card Towers

69.  Botany at the Botanical Gardens
70. Best Board Games for Science 
71. Homemade Frozen Yogurt Pops
72.  Starburst Rock Cycle 
73. & 74. Sinking a Marshmallow
75. Jumping Conversation Hearts 
76-78. Building a Paper Airplane 3 Ways 
79. Learning About Hummingbirds 
80.  Planting an Herb Garden 
81. Mushroom Spores 
82. - 84.  Penny Saturation Experiments 
85. Sink or Float?
86. Disappearing Ink 
87. Sedment Layer Jars
88. Tie Dye Science 
89-91. DNA Experiments 
92.  Homemade Butter 


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