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Water Striders: Insect Science

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Have you ever heard of a water strider?  It is an insect that actually walks on the water! We explored a little to see if we could create our own little water striders. This is a great insect science activity a fun STEM project or perfect for learning about surface tension with water!

Water Striders Insect Science Explorations



What is a Water Strider?

Water striders, officially called Gerridae are built to be able to run across the top of the water. (They are sometimes called Jesus bugs!)  So how do water striders do it?  How do they walk on water?  It is a combination of the way they are made and the surface tension on the water.

water strider

Water molecules are attracted to each other and most especially on the surface next to the air. This tension creates a bit of a membrane that allows the water striders to walk on it. These insects have tiny little hairs on their legs. The hairs repeal water and attract air preventing the water from weighing down the body.  Amazing, right?!

How to Make Your Own Water Striders

So, obviously this is not an easy thing to replicate, but the little insects we made did work for a bit!

To make our own little water striders, we just used colored index cards. You could do it with any thick card stock paper, though. We folded the index cards in half and cut legs and antennae. We tried a couple of different models to see which would work better.

Once we made the insects, we carefully placed them on top of the water to see what would happen.

surface tension- water strider insect lesson

We tried making different shaped legs and were surprised to see that the triangular shaped legs worked much better than the ones shaped more like a right angle. The yellow one sank quite quickly, actually!

water strider insect lesson- surface tension

My son loved these and kept wanting to make more once they sunk!


See More of Our Insect Science Ideas:

Paper Insect Display
Insect Hotel
Pitfall Insect Trap





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