Stem Floating Whiteboard Marker Ink Activity

We had a lot of fun drawing different shapes with this stem whiteboard marker (dry erase marker) floating ink activity and seeing which shape worked the best and whether different coloured whiteboard markers worked better than others. This is a great stem activity to do at home for all ages.

What you will need:

  • Whiteboard markers also known as dry erase markers
  • Ceramic plate
  • Small container of water
  • Cotton buds
equipment needed for the Floating ink activity

How to make whiteboard markers (dry erase marker) float in water?

  1. Choose a colour and draw an image onto the plate, it could be a shape, some letters, a stick man or anything you choose.
  2. Leave it to dry for a minute
  3. Pour water slowly onto the plate
  4. The image should start to float
  5. Use the cotton bud to move the water and see the picture move

The Science – Why does whiteboard marker (dry erase marker) float in water?

Permanent markers have a strong adhesive in them that sticks to almost any surface you write on which means that the ink will not rub off, but whiteboard markers have minimal adhesive in them which means that they can easily be wiped away.

The ink in the whiteboard markers is insoluble.  This means it cannot be dissolved in a liquid.  It is also less dense than the water.  This means that the ink will float on top of the denser water.  When you pour water onto the plate a strong buoyancy force overcomes the ink and pulls it off the plate surface causing it to float in the water.

Draw on your plate
Draw your shape with a whiteboard marker
Pour water onto the plate
Pour on water

Move your shape in the water
Move your floating shape
Floating Ink Activity - How to make whiteboard marker (dry erase marker) ink float in water

If you enjoyed this STEM activity try making Oobleck and find out how it works.

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8 Comments

  1. Oh this is so cool!! To be very honest, I have tried this before. I might just try this myself because it seems really fun to do xx Thank you for sharing!

  2. I love this activity. I did this when I taught Kindergarten and my students loved it! I forgot about this experiment until just seeing it now. I think my preschooler would love to try this at home. Thanks for sharing!