Does Water Ever Flow Up?
Our kids are naturals at generating life experiences with gravity.
One good fall on the playground or a dropped Popsicle is often all it takes for our little ones to get the concept.
We just need to supply the vocabulary.
Gravity is also the force that keeps water flowing downhill. Water found in ponds and streams almost always flows downhill towards the oceans.
Researching Water Flow
“Follow the Water From Brook to Ocean” by Arthur Dorros is a Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out-Science book that tells the story of how water flows. The story also touches on how water is powerful.
- Water shapes the earth through erosion.
- The force of water can be harnessed to make electricity.
- Reservoirs of water can supply water for drinking, swimming, and sailing.
- Keeping our water clean is so very important!
Upon reading this story and engaging in a little free water play, the kids wondered, “does water ever flow up?”
Here’s what we discovered!
Does water ever flow up in nature?
The kids and I brainstormed instances when water might go up instead of down in nature. We also did a little digging in the library and came up with the following 5 possible scenarios.
1. Natural Disasters
After a large storm with excess water a river might change direction and flow uphill at least for a short time or distance. Historically, the Mississippi River has been known to change directions following natural disasters such as a massive earthquake or hurricane. There are also some researchers that believe the Mississippi runs up hill under ordinary circumstances for a small portion of its journey into the Atlantic Ocean secondary to the centripetal acceleration of the Earth moving water towards the equator.
At the bottom of a waterfall, water sprays back up into the air. This also occurs anytime a large amount of matter falls into the water, otherwise known as a splash.
3. Ice Sheets Forcing Water (a river in Antarctica) Uphill
In Antarctica far below the ice there is one river that may just flow upstream. Science News and International Business Times both have articles discussing this rare find.
In space, astronauts have to brush their teeth using a small bit of water pushed through a straw from a bag and cannot spit without the water flying away. Space is sometimes described by scientists as an imperfect vacuum. In a vacuum, gravity causes all objects, regardless of mass, to fall at the same rate. So water can float or go upward.
Water travels up through the roots of trees and other plants into the stems and leaves.
What examples come to your mind?
If you have some more ideas, let us know! We love adding to our list 🙂
STEAM Challenge: Can we make water flow up?
Making water go up secondary to splashes is fun!
Mud puddles from a recent storm are perfect for this experiment!
Straw or Siphon
A cold beverage rising in a straw is a great way to make water go up on these hot days!
Hold your finger over the end of the straw to keep water captured in the straw until you release the liquid.
Capillary Action Via Paper Towel
The easiest way to show capillary action is to use a paper towel.
My young ones also enjoy using the newly colored paper towel in art projects 🙂
Capillary Action via Flower Experiment
A favorite, easily repeatable experiment showing capillary action is to have dyed water travel up fresh, cut flowers.
White flowers show the water travels best, although celery will also work.
Historically, we have used fresh, big white flowers from the store. We have tons of Queen Anne’s Lace, daisies, and white clover in our fields. Fortunately, they also work well.
For us, the white clover and blue dye work the fastest and are the most obvious.
The Queen Anne’s Lace takes longer, but also works well.
In a Vacuum
Create a vacuum using a candle to burn up the oxygen inside an overturned glass and watch the water rise!
Fire always adds an element of excitement for kids this age! Plus, this experiment is so cool.
This is one of our favorites and we repeat it often!
Join the Fun!
We love sharing science activities at The Playful Scholar!
Join the conversation by commenting on this post or on Facebook and Instagram!
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The Nature Book Club
Tons of experience can be gained in early childhood from being out in nature and reading about our world. No tests required! My kids love having the chance to experiment and play. Simple activities like this keep them excited and interested in learning more about the world around them. This STEAM Challenge was completed as part of The Nature Book Club. Be sure to check out all the other nature based book and activities submitted by my co-hosts!
Seasonal Pond Study and Printables from Barbara at Handbook of Nature Study
Sensory Bin and Observation Notebooking Page from Jenny at Faith & Good Works
Pond Life Printable Pack from Emily at Table Life Blog
Aquatic Science Studies: 10 Activities for Teens from Eva at Eva Varga
Above and Below a Pond Unit Study and Lapbook from Tina at Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
Online Book Study about water cycle from Dachelle at Hide the Chocolate
STEAM Challenge – Does Water Ever Flow Up? from Erika at The Playful Scholar
Who Was?® What Was?® Where Is?® Book Series: Where is the Mississippi River? from Sharla at Minnesota Country Girl
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