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Fun science experiment at HCHS

Fun science experiments are not only for grade schoolers and middle schoolers, as Jennifer Hilton’s dual credit biology students at Harlan County High School found out during a surprise experiment. Students learned that water molecules develop a small layer of “skin” which can help water droplets hold their place, while keeping the water within the droplet.

During the experiment, students were given a penny, a dropper, a cup of water, a cup of water/washing detergent solution, and a cup of alcohol, and were told to see how many drops of each liquid they could fit on the penny without it leaking onto the desk. As they dropped the liquids onto the pennies, they observed that it formed one big droplet, all of the water being held in by that small, thin layer of “skin.” This build up of liquid on top of the penny is called “surface tension.”

But how could such a small, simple project have such a huge learning impact on teenagers?

This experiment caught their attention 100 percent and had them looking to learn more from their experiment, taking out their phones to capture pictures of the big water drops on the pennies and recording how many drops they could fit onto the small object.

“I learned so much from this experiment, I never knew that I could fit over 60 drops of water on a penny. This lab has really helped me understand water’s surface tension and how we see its effects in everyday life,” said Malia Williams.

“I always enjoy doing this lab with my students. It is simple, but it grabs their attention and gets the point across. Keeping kids interested and hungry to learn is what I aim to do,” said Hilton.

Hilton’s students are looking forward to more experiments in the near future as they continue their education in science.

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