Simple science experiments are always fun to do at home with the kids. Recently we had fun making an egg float and we also made a rubber egg. (Spring is the perfect time for egg activities!) I had been planning to do this rising water experiment with the kids, when I came across Another Day in the Ministry’s use of it to explain how Jesus removes sin. What an awesome experiment to do before Easter!
Whether you plan on doing the rising water experiment just to wow the kids, because you want to explain how a vacuum works, or as an object lesson about Jesus removing our sins, I guarantee it will be an experiment the kids remember.
To do the rising water experiment you will need:
- Smooth glass plate
- Drinking glass or glass jar (Make sure when it sits upside down on your plate that there are no gaps.)
- Small candle
- Matches or lighter (This experiment should only be done with adult supervision!)
- Food coloring (Optional, but it makes it easier to see the experiment in progress.)
- Penny (To be used for the lesson about Jesus, not needed for the actual experiment)
Set your candle in the center of your plate. Light the candle and explains that the candle represents Jesus. “Jesus is the light and we are called to be children of the light.”
Place the penny on the plate an inch or so from the candle. Explain that the penny represents us.
Now pour a small amount of colored water around the candle. The water represents sin. We are human and we all make mistakes and sin. The water should surround the penny as well as the candle. (In order for the experiment to work, make sure the water goes completely around the candle and out far enough that it will surround your glass in a bit.)
Now that your candle has been lit for a while and has heated up the air around it (this is necessary for the experiment to work), turn your glass upside down over the candle.
You will immediately see bubbles and the water will slowly move away from the penny and get pulled into the glass. Jesus takes away our sins. The candle flame will go out. You can use this opportunity to explain to the children that by dying on the cross (just as the candle flame died) Jesus took away our sins.
This experiment gives a powerful visual to help children better understand how Jesus removes sin. It also is a super fun experiment to explain how a vacuum works.
Once we had done the experiment a few times my son asked why the water went into the glass.
How the rising water experiment works:
The candle flame heats up the air inside the glass. (Remember those bubbles? They come from the air trying to escape the glass as it heats up.) Once the flame goes out (because the oxygen has been burned off) the air inside cools down again. The cooler air contracts and creates a vacuum.
- You will need to experiment with the amount of water used in order to have it all disappear from around the penny. Because different candles and different sized glasses will work differently, I can’t give you an exact amount to use. I tried the experiment ahead of time, figured out how much water would get drawn up into the glass I was using, wiped up the excess and poured the water from under the glass into my container to use with the kids so it would work out right.
- Give the candle a minute to burn before placing the glass over it to help heat the air around it.
- As tempting as it is to use a penny for each child, stick to just one. I tried it with 2 at first, one for each child, and when the “sin” disappeared from one penny and not the other….let’s just say that wasn’t a good idea.
Be sure to pin it for later!
If your children are anything like mine, they will ask to do the rising water experiment again and again.