Summer of Science: What is Dew?

Okay, this week I’m working through some existential issues and refocusing (i.e. distracting myself) on planning our homeschooling curriculums for the 2012-2013 school year…I will be sharing later.  In the meantime, the kids and I had a day of science and, gasp, it was fun! 

For this Summer of Science Experiment we’re answering that age old question, what is dew?

what is dew?


  • timer
  • metal or glass cup or jar
  • large bowl filled with water and ice


Wrap your hands around the cup and warm it for at least a couple of minutes.  This really killed my children, they have no patience.

Can we make dew with a warm cup?  I don't think so!

Now breath on it…notice anything?  FYI: You shouldn’t.

Summer of Science

Now just to drive them even crazier make them hold the cup in the ice cold water for another two minutes.

What is Dew?

Remove the cup and quickly dry it off as best you can and then breath on it.  This time you’ll notice a fog appears on the surface, not that you can tell from this picture.  In my defense it was my fifth take and the only one where his hand wasn’t completely blocking the shot of the cup.  (P.S. It’s his rosy lips, lovely hair, and clear complexion, in this photo, that explains why people either think he’s a girl or comment on his ‘prettiness.’)

what's dew

Explanation:  Remember a couple of days ago when we learned about raindrops and how clouds form when water vapor hits cold air…kind of the same thing happening here.  Dew is basically condensation of water vapor on items, cold items in particular. 

The energy from the heat of the warmed cup allowed the water vapor from our breathes to quickly evaporate.  On the cold cup the water vapor not only appeared in the form of condensation but given enough time (and vapor) would have formed into drops of water, or dew.

Next Week we’re looking at the science behind Thunder, Lightening, and Tornados during this Summer of Science series!  In the meantime check out my Linky Party Page

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