Understanding Surface Tension, Surfactants, and Polarity – SCOPES-DF

Lesson Details

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Nawal Abdul Kareem
Nawal Abdul Kareem


The session aims to understand the work of Agnes Pockels, whose research contributed to our understanding of surface science. It will involve experiments designed to elucidate surface tension, polarity, and the action of surfactants.

What You'll Need

We will need:

1. Water

2. Coin (Make sure it’s round)

3. Glass

4. Liquid Dish Soap

5. Dropper

6. Oil (cooking oil or coconut oil will do)

7. Spoon

8. Bottle

9. Slides for presentation

The Instructions

Introduction to Surface Tension

We are going to give a brief introduction to the concept of surface tension

Explain to students that surface tension acts like a skin on the surface of water, holding the water molecules together tightly.

Showing examples of Surface Tension in Nature

We are aiming to help the students recognize examples of surface tension

Discuss how surface tension allows insects to walk on water without sinking and causes water droplets to form round shapes on leaves.

Introducing students to Agnes Pockels, a women in STEM

We are going to introduce students to Agnes Pockels, who is one of the first women in STEM.

She is considered to be the pioneer of surface science.

Introduction to surfactants

Explain that surfactants are substances that can reduce surface tension, making it easier for different substances to mix. 

Understanding the mechanism of surfactants

Show them the working of surfactants using this video:


















Introduction to the first experiment of our lesson

The students are going to explore surface tension using common household items