I am a Dawn Wildlife Ambassador; this is a partnered post.
I’ve written several articles about the role that Dawn dish soap has come to play in supporting wildlife conservation. When researchers were determining the best way to respond to disasters such as oil spills, their studies found that Dawn was more effective than other substances in removing oil from feathers. This finding eventually led to the Dawn Saves Wildlife initiative, which supports organizations such as International Bird Rescue and The Marine Mammal Center in their mission to rescue wildlife impacted by oil pollution.
Brainstorming solutions to a crisis takes time, dedication, and a lot of research. As an example of how this kind of problem-solving plays out, here is a fun and simple experiment you can do with your kids, which was demonstrated earlier this month during an event celebrating Dawn’s new initiative with Shedd Aquarium, launching a national in-classroom and web accessible STEM curriculum called NextGen Animal Responders.
Open Sesame Experiment
2 Melamine plates
2 small bowls or petri dishes
Dawn dish soap
Ajax dish soap
Pour 18ml each of Dawn and Ajax into separate bowls. Then, pour 6oz of milk onto each plate.
Using your syringe, dispense 25ml in the center of each plate.
Let the oil spread out across the top of the milk; you can use the tip of the syringe to spread it out if necessary. Milk’s combination of fat and water allows the oil to spread quickly over the surface.
If you don’t have dual-prong pins available, you can break 2 tines off a plastic fork and use that instead!
Dip each set of pins into the dishes of soap at the same time. Remove the pins, and allow the excess product (1 or 2 drops) to run off.
Simultaneously dip the pins into the center of both plates and watch the oil repel!
You’ll notice that the Dawn side works more quickly and makes a larger circle in the oil, while the Ajax still leaves small particles of oil inside its circle.
- How do experiments help scientists solve problems?
- Why would it be necessary to remove oil from bird feathers?
- Do you think it’s important to be able to test something yourself to verify that it works?