Friday, June 18, 2010

Project Wet

Today's Project WET was advertised as training for teachers, educators and the odd Master Naturalist.  What they didn't say was that it was also entertainment for older kids, in one case really older.  The session was taught by Jay Barber (the guy with the rose in the previous posting) and Erica Cox, our adult leader and the Director of Missouri Project WET.

Project WET is a nonprofit organization with a global reach, dedicated to the mission of reaching children, parents, teachers and community members of the world with water education.  It gives professional and volunteer educators a wide variety of tools to connect with children K to 12 as well as adults.
We experienced some of the many tools and games.  Being adults, of course, we were more reserved and lacked the element of competition which kids typically exhibit.  (Betting was limited to chocolate bars.) 
Our activities included H2Olympics where we demonstrated the cohesion and adhesion properties of water. An example was guessing how many drops of water could be stacked on a penny before the water would run off and then competing to see which team could pile on the most.  Modesty prevents me from announcing which team won, but the answer is well over 50 drops and less than the age of the oldest member.  (Click on pictures to enlarge)

Another exercise starts with a brim full glass of water.  We then guessed the number of pennies we could add before it overflowed.  Because of the cohesion of water, a high dome of water (called a meniscus- see the penny above) formed long before the first drop ran down the side.  (Notice also in the photo lower right, the cohesive dent in the surface as the penny is held on the surface.)
We ended by creating teaching projects which we used on each other.  This gives a real life feel to how these educators can use the many tools we covered in Project WET.
By the way, did you know that you can power a small model boat in races across the water with small slivers of soap?  You can, but I'm not allowed to tell you how.  You would have to train in Project WET to learn this as well as our secret handshake.  Sorry Barb, I've been sworn to secrecy with a WET oath.

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