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  • Ezra Creighton

Soap Boats

Updated: May 29, 2019

Materials: Dish soap, a large dish, water, a foam plate or thick paper, and a cotton swab.


1. Cut a foam plate or thick paper into a 2” boat shape with a notch in the back end.


2. Fill a large dish with water and place the boat in the water.


3. Soak a cotton swab in dish soap.


4. Using the cotton swab, put a little drop of soap into the notch on the boat. Watch it go!


5. To do it again you will need to replace the water and make sure there is no soap in the dish.


Why this Happens

Water has what is called surface tension. This is like a skin on the top of the water. Surface tension is caused by all the water molecules on the top of the water linking together. But the soap breaks the surface tension of the water. But how does this make the boat move?


The surface tension is like a balloon covering the water. When you pop the balloon, rubber pulls away from the point where you popped it. Because surface tension is caused by the water molecules linking together, when that link is broken at one point, the rest of the molecules will still pull back like the balloon skin. The boat is then carried away with the breaking surface tension. This is why you can only do it once. Once the surface tension is broken it won’t work again.


Character Teachings

Self-control is choosing to do what is right even if you don’t feel like it. In order for the boat to go anywhere, the soap (the cause of movement) must be controlled and directed. If the soap was pushing the boat in every direction it wouldn’t go anywhere at all. By having control over the direction of the soap, the boat can move in a direction. When you do not have self-control over yourself, it’s just like if the soap were put everywhere on the boat, no movement gets done. When you have self-control you are able to get things done and control where you are going in life. Where do you have little self-control? How can you work on having more self-control in that area?