Explore the concept of diffusion while experimenting with the power of the sun in this STEAM activity for kids.
Diffusion is the movement of something (molecules) that move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration.
To see diffusion in action, try this simple science experiment for kids. Drop a little bit of liquid watercolor or food coloring in a glass of water. At first, the drop of paint is concentrated in one area but as it moves throughout the water it eventually is spread evenly throughout the glass turning the water the color of the paint. This is diffusion.
Inspired by this youtube video, we set out to see if you can use diffusion and the sun to create a print on watercolor paper rather than canvas.
Investigative Question: Can we use diffusion and the sun to create a patterned work of art?
Materials: watercolor paper, liquid watercolors, pipette, water, brush, scissors, Black construction paper
Step 1: Prep your paper by taping it down to a plastic tray or cookie sheet tray.
Step 2: Cut out different size shapes from a sheet of black construction paper.
Step 3: Use a brush to cover your paper with water.
Step 4: Using a pipette or eye dropping drip dots of paint onto the wet paper. Observe how the paint moves once it touches the wet paper. Repeat with other colors as desired.
Step 5: Dip your black construction paper shapes completely in water. Lay the black shapes on top of your painting.
Step 6: Set your painting out in the sun to dry. Drying time will vary but ours took an hour. Once the paper is completely dry carefully peel off your black paper.
How did your print turn out?
Art Extension: Add more design and color with markers or colored pencils.
The Science Behind It: The black construction paper blocks the sunlight causing the surrounding exposed painted paper to dry quicker. The watercolor paint moves from underneath the black paper (an area of high concentration) to the surrounding dried area which is a low concentration. This process is called diffusion.
This post is part of the Outdoor STEM series hosted by Little Bins for Little Hands