gator science

active adventures in lower school science

Jumping Washers Demonstrate a Phase Change

on March 14, 2013



Today in class, my fourth grade class completed their water phase change graphs.  We compared the difference between the boiling point of regular water and salt water.  I heated some washers on a burner and then dropped them on a thin film of water on a dining hall tray.  The students watched the steam form underneath the washer and the rapid movement of molecules caused the washer to jump and splatter like a jumping bean.   We discussed how when warmed, the water molecules speed up and spread apart.  The washer demonstration allowed the students to see a model that was memorable.

photo-3 photo-2 plain water solid-liqu-gas

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