Materials needed for the experiment were a plain sheet of paper; three colors of washable paint (she used yellow, blue, and green); a straw; an eye dropper; plastic stirring sticks; three plastic cups; some water; and measuring spoons.
Using her eye dropper, she put a drop of the yellow paint onto her paper. She then took the straw and, holding it about one inch from the drop of paint, she blew gently for about three seconds. The gentle breeze she created didn’t move the paint very far at all.
Finally, she put a drop of the green on the paper and said, “This time we’re going to put it (the straw) up closer, and then we’re going to do, like, three strong puffs,” so using the same strength of breath as with the blue paint, but in bursts rather than continuous. This time the paint went even farther both forward and outward.
Heilman next asked viewers to make a prediction: What do you think will happen to the paint if we blew harder? She put a drop of blue paint onto the paper, then held the straw very close to the paint drop and blew as hard as she could for three seconds. This time, the paint moved much farther.
“We’re going to be looking at the wind and how it affects how things move,” she explained at the program’s opening.
Heilman began by putting one teaspoon of water into each of the cups. She then added one tablespoon of the different colors of paint into the cups and stirred each one well with the stirring sticks.
When comparing the three strengths of wind, she explained that in weather terms, the blue paint was the result of a sustained wind, and the green, gusts of wind. She observed, “It changes how things move and how far things went [sic].”
“Science is all around you all the time, just like the air and the wind,” she said in conclusion.