Teaching about insects with a Floating Paperclip.
Ellen Kahue, a teacher in South Carolina cleverly used our Floating Paperclip experiment (link below) to teach how water strider insects are able to move across the surface of water without sinking. Understanding surface tension can be a bit tricky, but once you see a paperclip “float” on water, the concept begins to make sense. Students were challenged to get the paperclip to float on their own. If you’ve ever tried this, you know it can be very difficult…unless you know the secret.
Ellen used the lesson to show how water striders take advantage of surface tension. These insects spread their weight out on their legs which allows them to stay supported, and easily move across on the surface of the water.